Childcare center opens for Windward CC students

Local News

Courtesy University of Hawaii

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A new childcare center opened up at Windward Community College in August.

The Hanaiaulu Childcare Center is for Windward Community College students.

Hanaiaulu means “to feed, or adopt and grow.”

There are three infants and eight toddlers using it but the center can take up to 12 infants and 20 toddlers.

For now, services are free during the life of a grant that ends next school year.

Priority is given to those who are full-time students, Hawaiian language speaking or taking classes in Hawaiian language, eligible for Pell Grants and in good academic standing.

“Our goal is to help our students persist in school and graduate, as well as provide quality care for our infants and toddlers ages six months through 36 months,” said Puanani Kama, childcare center director.

“If a mother earns her degree, her children are all more likely to earn their degrees, which in turn means that the next generation is more likely, and on and on. Maternal education is the largest predictor of higher education attainment for an individual,” said Eschenberg. “This project addresses a gap both in the Windward community, where infant and toddler care facilities are scarce, and at Windward Community College, where we were the only community college in Hawaii lacking a childcare center.”

Designed by KYA Design Group, the Hanaiaulu Childcare Center includes a childcare main area, welcome area, lanai area and an outdoor play area.

The center is equipped with Hawaiian language learning materials, books, music and comfortable furniture and fixtures sized for infant and toddler keiki, and is licensed with the Department of Human Services.

Eschenberg said, “The Hanaiaulu Childcare Center is the birth of dreams of generations of students, faculty, and staff at Windward CC. Our larger Koolau community has made this resource come to fruition, allowing parents and children to thrive at Windward. It not only provides a foundation of Hawaiian language for our youngest community members, but sets them on a college-going trajectory to build knowledge and waiwai (wealth) in our community. The largest determinant of a child’s likelihood to receive a college degree is the attainment of this degree by their parents. Thus, Hānaiaulu is a force for intergenerational and community-wide change.”

For more information about the new Hanaiaulu Childcare Center, please contact Puanani Kama, childcare center director at (808) 462-4799 or puananir@hawaii.edu

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