HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Kilauea Elementary School, right alongside reading, writing and arithmetic, second-grade teacher Heather Cornell teaches her students the meaning of aloha.
She uses workbooks called “Aloha ― What it Means to My Ohana.”
“I love the ‘Aloha’ book because it keeps Hawaiian cultural values alive,” Cornell said.
“They are universal values,” co-author Ann Hettinger said.
Hettinger and her friend Lahela Chandler Correa wrote the “Aloha” books based on values Lahela learned from her family.
The Kauai women want to get it into the hands of every elementary school student in the state.
“When they go into the book there is culture, how they should be acting. There are 14 values inside there. And we’ve got more than that,” Correa said.
The books express meanings of aloha through short “Aloha Is” lessons that sprinkle in Hawaiian language, positive principles, and examples on how to put aloha into practice.
The activities help youngsters discover aloha more than just a greeting. It’s love, kindness and respect.
“Whether you call it kuleana or responsibility, It’s a universal value,” Hettinger said. “It’s done in such a way that the kids are having fun learning it.”
There is a guide for teachers, and there’s a section on character building through aloha that school counselors can use.
Thousands of keiki have received the “Aloha” books since they were first published five years ago.
They are now used in elementary schools on Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island. The authors hope more schools add the “Aloha” book to their curriculum. Even a school in Denver is using it.
“It’s one thing special about our Hawaiian culture. It’s universal and it can touch everyone,” Correa said.
Hettinger said the best part is students are encouraged to put the lessons to work.
“There’s a special little segment that we put in there to go home and create this special thing with your ohana,” she said.
To find out more about the “Aloha” book, including how to get it for your school, your homeschooling group or for your family, go to AlohaPublishingHawaii.com.
There is also a place where you can make a tax-deductible donation to help supply more “Aloha” books to students.