The Pre-Kindergarten class uses an integrated curriculum encompassing all subject areas. Process, rather than product, is the primary focus. A wide-range of content areas are presented through the use of daily routines and procedures, themes and topics (such as holidays or conservation).
Independent learning centers are an integral part of the classroom environment. Centers are made available through which children may explore a variety of materials and develop, practice, and master different skills on their own. At various times, these areas include: a writing center, a science center, a math center, a block area, a library center, a dress-up/dramatic play area, an art center, and a sand/water table. Teacher-directed centers, including small and large group lessons, are also important.
Renee Shitanishi has been part of the HNS family since 2006, when she first started as an Assistant Teacher for the Summer School program. After graduating from Kaiser High School, she tested the waters at San Diego State University, only to find out she loved Hawai’i too much to stay away. She returned home after three semesters, and enrolled at the University of Hawai’i. Renee went on to graduate with her B.Ed in Elementary Education, and belongs to the Hawai’i Careers with Young Children registry.
In the fall of 2011, she started substitute teaching at HNS and was hired as the Early Education After-School Care teacher. In 2012, she began as an Assistant Teacher in the Keiki 3’s program, and then moved to the First Grade in 2013. The 2014-2015 school year marks her first year as a Lead Teacher in the beloved Pre-Kindergarten class. Renee believes that every child deserves a nurturing environment where they can grow and strive to do their “personal best!”
An adventure enthusiast, Renee spends the majority of her free time outdoors. She thrives on adrenaline and loves to hike, camp, and backpack. The ocean is her sanctuary, and you can catch her surfing or diving, following dolphins or searching for shells. She loves to travel and explore new places, taking thousands of pictures along the way. Despite her daring personality, she thoroughly enjoys reading and isn’t ashamed to say that Young Adult fiction and children’s books are her favorite genres. Renee is looking forward to sharing her zest for life and her love of literature with our young keiki.
Pre-Kindergarten Assistant Teacher
Lehua Alo Williams has been at Holy Nativity School since 1999, when she did a year of undergraduate student teaching in Pre-Kindergarten. The following year she was the assistant teacher in 3rd grade which then lead her to serve as our Lead third grade teacher for 10 years. After the birth of her second child and in order to devote more time with her family, Lehua decided to return in 2011 as an assistant teacher. Born and raised in the islands, Lehua graduated from Punahou School. She holds a B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Chaminade University.
In any type of successful learning environment one should feel safe to explore, question and ponder, as a member of the American Montessori Society and a certified Montessori elementary educator for students ages 3-6 and 6-9 year olds, Lehua feels Holy Nativity School fosters such an environment where children are encouraged to investigate the world around them while also feeling a sense of belonging and responsibility to their little school in the valley. Lehua has also received training in Orton-Gillingham, a language-based approach used to assist children and adults to read, spell and write.
When she is not at school, Lehua is busy with her two children. She still finds time occasionally to relax, enjoy the beach, and spend time with family and friends.