(HawaiiNewsNow) - In Hawai'i, the use of older family members to care for children ages birth to five is a very familiar practice. Grandparents, or tûtû, are often the primary caregivers of their young grandchildren because of socio-economic conditions, as well as the value of 'ohana. Tûtû and Me aims to identify, recruit, and service this underserved segment of the Native Hawaiian population through an innovative traveling preschool program done in cooperation with churches and community organizations serving the Hawaiian and part-Hawaiian community. Tûtû and Me aims to meet the developmental needs of these young children and to support the grandparents - as well as parents and other primary caregivers - who are raising them.
Teaching teams, comprised of early childhood educators, travel to pre-selected communities where they set up, conduct, and facilitate the program. The curriculum is organized around learning themes, and cultural aspects as well as values that continue to influence the lives of native Hawaiian children are incorporated into the curriculum. Today, this traveling preschool program reaches hundreds of children and their caregivers through a hands-on curriculum provided at six communities on the island of O'ahu, eight communities on the Big Island, four on Kaua'i, two communities on Molokai, two communities in Maui and soon to be two more in Maui.
This project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education in cooperation with the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches of the United Church of Christ (AHEC), Kamehameha Schools and Hawaii State Department of Human Services.
For more information about Tutu and Me visit their website HERE!