Choose Love Choose Aloha
Having a Lot of Fun
E Komo Mai!
Welcome to the Choose Love Choose Aloha Hawaii Newsletter, our inaugural issue! Our goal is to produce something every other month that supports your efforts as you work in the classroom to choose love every day: to build courage, to express gratitude, to show forgiveness and to spread compassion in action. As Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement Founder, Scarlett Lewis, says: "Although we can't always choose what happens to us, we can always choose how to respond. Children can learn to choose a loving thought over an angry one. When a child realizes that they have the power to positively impact themselves as well as those around them, it is empowering and perpetuates their positive actions and interactions."
Every month, we will be highlighting a Choose Love school so that we can learn from each other and share the aloha. We hope you enjoy this edition's glimpse into our first amazing campus, Palolo Elementary.
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Choose Love Choose Aloha Palolo Elementary School
Choose Love Choose Aloha Palolo Elementary School
(Very important to remember that for later.)
According to Harada, this spirit encompasses the idea of Ohana (family) for a lot of people of Hawaii and Choosing Love can be interchangeable with Choosing Aloha in many ways. It means living in a way that is respectful, kind, generous and that values its many different cultures, traditions and ethnic backgrounds. Showing care and consideration to one another, whether it is holding the door for someone, paying for their shave ice, or letting someone borrow your crayons, Aloha is shown in many different ways and it is all around. While this "profound" concept is practiced all over the state of Hawaii, it may not always be at the top of people's minds or at the forefront of everyone's brain. While Palolo teaches Math, Science, English, the Arts as well as other subjects the teachers are ingraining the idea that Social Emotional Learning must be taught in schools as well.
The Whole Child
Grow The Size of a Monkeypod Tree
The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Enrichment Program is a basis for students to know how to make good choices, be a good son or daughter and all of these fundamentals that make it possible for them to be able to learn, get good grades, stay out of trouble and grow. Without establishing these core ideas of love, patience, empathy etc. it makes it extremely hard to even begin teaching a curriculum of Math, Science, English and all of the other basic subjects. This program addresses the root or the a'a of our keiki. If they are going to "climb trees" they first need the seeds to be planted so they can have a branch to stand on. This program provides the seeds to help them grow as big as they want to grow and it provides them with the nurturing they need to be healthy and strong.
There are about 280 students K-5th grade currently attending Palolo Elementary School and while Principal Harada has only been with the school for three months he has seen many changes in attitudes in his tenure. One of the things that he pointed out is the "brave breath." This is an exercise that the kids do when an obstacle is in their way or they are feeling frustrated or irritated and need to be courageous. What they do is put their hands on their bellies and feel the breath enter into their bodies as if it were inflating a balloon. The balloon rises up over the trees and into the sky just as a balloon does and just as a courageous boy or girl does when they need to rise up and above any troublesome situation they might have. They then exhale and feel the air deflating from the balloon and they have landed safely back on the ground. This meditative technique really helps not just the students, but the teachers. One of the teachers for example, pointed out that simply taking a breath is needed as the day to day stresses of just being a human being and a teacher can be hard and taxing. Who can't relate to that!
If You Can See It, You Can Feel It!
In the Library:
Oh the Artwork!
The artwork, Principal Harada points out, is all coordinated by the teachers. While Choose Love Choose Aloha is a part of the curriculum at Palolo, the teachers are the ones that rolled out all the ideas and they weren't necessarily told or asked to do it, they chose to. Harada says it just fits in with their values and how they want to run their classrooms. It is part of the school's culture. Walking around you can see the words "Courage," "Forgiveness," "Gratitude," "Compassion." They are literally everywhere and it is only fitting that the words translate into action by the students and teachers. As Principal Harada puts it, "Choose Love Choose Aloha is a huge pillar to what this school is about. It is not just a program, it is a way of thinking and being. It allows children to voice how they feel and creates unity and togetherness."
Strike a Pose!
Another favorite part of Choose Love is the "brave pose." This is an exercise that the kids do when they are showing that they are visibly courageous, and while some of the poses may be silly and kids might giggle doing it, it has proven to be effective. Some classes take pictures of their brave poses, while one art teacher had them sculpt figurines with aluminum foil to show their heroism and bravery. This helps the students be confident and encourages them to be bold and get over some of their fears.
From the teacher's perspective, one of the things that has been very impactful is how bad behavior seems to be better controlled. It is believed that this Social Emotional Learning program really has touched the hearts and souls of many. Some notice that problematic behavior has really been de-escalating due to the "front of mind" thoughts and understanding of caring for one another and showing compassion on a daily basis. "There is a calmness to it," Principal Harada says. When troubling and frustrating issues come up they are dealt with more effectively and the behavior is less intense. One of the great parts about Choose Love Choose Aloha is that the program really covers so much that the impact can be felt in school and even at home.
Thank you Principal Harada and Palolo Elementary School for sharing your experiences with all of us so that we can learn how to be greater stewards of the Choose Love Movement.
Choose Love Choose Aloha
The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Enrichment Program is happy to be a part of the lives of so many educators and students throughout the state, across the mainland and all over the world. In Hawaii, we currently serve over 12,000 students in over 40 schools and growing. With hope, encouragement and courage so many can be touched by this curriculum and we are delighted that Palolo has been so integral here in supporting a whole new world of learning by choosing love.
Also, for those of you who are attending the Chose Love Conference in February 2019 at Kanoelani Elementary School, you will soon be receiving a conference program with breakout sessions via email. Please look for it to complete and return ASAP.
So for this Halloween, if you haven't already got your costume picked out for your kids, might we suggest picking a creature that is creative, happy, loyal, intelligent, charming and playful. "Multum in parvo" in Latin means "a lot in a little" or "plenty of dog in a small package."
This Halloween be a Pug, or at least try to be more like a Pug. Or perhaps "Harry Pugger."