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The Children’s Center established an agreement with Noelani, Kūhiō and Ala Wai schools to share space with their special education preschool classes.

The University of Hawaiʻ at Mānoa Children’s Center opened expansion classrooms at Noelani, Kūhiō and Ala Wai elementary schools, which will accommodate an additional 45 more children of UH Mānoa faculty and staff members. The center will share space with the school’s special education preschool classes.

Each classroom has a combined enrollment of approximately 15 youngsters from the Children’s Center and 5 children from the Department of Education preschool program. Teachers from the Children’s Center and the Department of Education will work together on curriculum that will meet the needs of the combined students.

“The most important part of this “win-win” partnership between UH Mānoa and the DOE is that two high-quality programs create an enriching community-based program for all children, no matter what level of ability they are,” said Director Terry Lock of the Hawaiʻi Office of Early Learning. “I love the fact that typically developing peers will be learning alongside peers with developmental delays and disabilities. This is a model I’d like to see replicated throughout our state.“

At the dedication ceremony, former UH Mānoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw, who authorized funding for the Children’s Center expansion, was presented with an “endowed chair,” a wooden children’s chair with a commemorative plaque­­.

“Dr. Hinshaw’s forward-thinking decision will have a positive effect on the recruitment, retention and peace of mind of faculty, staff and student families with young children at UH Mānoa for many years to come,” said Children’s Center Director Wayne Watkins.

Adapted from a UH Mānoa news release.

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