Imua Family Services recently announced the opening of its newest early childhood program, Imua Preschool. The forward thinking program will be housed in Imua’s new Early Childhood Center on Wakea Avenue in Kahului. Construction of the new center is scheduled to be completed early next year. The initial preschool enrollment will host 24 children for the school year beginning August 2015.
The forward thinking program was born into reality when Imua Family Services began planning its new Early Childhood Center. The concept was to create a state-of-the-art inclusion preschool that could accommodate both typically developing children and children with developmental concerns and special needs in the same classroom, a new paradigm called “inclusion.”
Inclusive programs honor similarities as well as children’s different abilities and cultures. In inclusive classrooms, children with special needs take part in the curriculum based on their ages and grades. They are not segregated into separate classrooms, but rather the curriculum and the room are adapted to meet the needs of all of the children.
“Our long term goal is to create something that is so profound, so transformative and inspirational that it becomes a model that we can replicate all across Maui,” said Dean Wong, Imua’s Executive Director. “Imua Preschool will become a training and development center for children, parents, and teachers island wide.”
The inception of Imua Preschool has been more than three years in the making. The plans for the preschool were built into the design of the new Early Childhood Center, where the preschool will have access to Imua’s large staff of early childhood professionals, including Speech Language Pathologists, Physical and Occupational Therapists, Special and General Education Teachers and Early Childhood Educators.
“A substantial body of research establishes that preschool education can improve the learning and development of young children,” said Dr. Bobbie-Jo Moniz Tadeo, Program Director and Early Childhood Specialist at Imua Family Services. “Many studies have investigated the immediate effects of preschool education for children during their first five years of life. Early experiences in the home and other settings such as preschool help to shape the development and quality of the brain’s architecture. Thus in later years, it suggests skills learned in early childhood help to build on future skills needed in adulthood. Therefore investment in early learning and development is more efficient in both the development and costs factors relative later in the life cycle.”
Because of the immediate need for preschool on Maui, Imua Family Services has entered into collaboration with the University of Hawaii Maui College to open a “Preschool Pilot Program” in January 2015 in Central Maui. The pilot program will admit 16 children with a percentage of spaces available to UH Maui College students with preschool aged children. It will also provide three internship opportunities to the university’s Early Childhood Education program to assist the teaching staff.
Limited spaces are available now for the January 2015 preschool pilot program. Enrollment packages for the August 2015 school year are also available. For additional information, visit the Imua website, imuafamilyservices.org/imua-preschool, call 808-244-7467 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image of Hawaiian Child With Poi Bowl by Theodore Wores: Honolulu Museum of Art/Wikimedia Commons