Most of our ʻohana send their keiki to ʻAha Pūnana Leo to learn Hawaiian because they cannot teach their children themselves. While families from other schools struggle with the educational aspects of staying home, families deal with that on top of not speaking or understanding the language in which their keiki are actually being educated in. Only 36% of Pūnana Leo families across the islands use Hawaiian as the primary language of the family. So while parents want to help and engage their keiki, many of them simply are not able to do so in Hawaiian language, therefore, they struggle to keep their keiki immersed in the language that they are trying to save.
While families cannot simply look up Hawaiian language sentence patterns and how to use them, families are able to do so with Hawaiian words. Even while speaking English, one way to keep your keiki engaged in Hawaiian is to use as much Hawaiian vocabulary as possible. These words can be looked up in the print dictionary or online at any time. For whatever sentence patters or parts of sentence patters one might know, using those as much as possible further help to engage your keiki in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and to normalize that engagement.
Here are some examples.
As so much, if not all, of our time is spent indoors, one example is to take a walk with your keiki around your house (inside/out) and to identify all the different things you and your keiki see. Ask your keiki questions like:
“He aha kēia/kēnā/kēlā?” What is this/that?
“He aha kona waihoʻoluʻu?” What color is it?
“He aha kona kinona?” What shape is it?
“Nui/liʻiliʻiia?” Is it big/small?
“He aha ka hana me kēia mea?” What can you do with this?
There are many resources that can be easily accessed online, such as:
Duolingo – Free Hawaiian Language Learning Mobile App
Hawaiian language books can be found here
Hawaiian language dictionary- https://hilo.hawaii.edu/wehe/
youtube.com – ʻŌiwi TV (ʻĀinaʻŌiwi/Hana Keaka/Puke) Mana Mele/Mele Ma Ka Lihiwai, Pipi Mā
Nā Līpine Mānaleo – http://ulukau.org/kaniaina/?l=haw
Moʻolelo, Mele, Analula, http://maui.hawaii.edu/e-hooulu-lahui/
For more information on ʻAhaPūnana Leo, visit www.ahapunanaleo.org