By Cobey Doi
The Navigating Change curriculum has made a great impact on my life. Sounds dramatic, I suppose ... yet, when working with the curriculum with two sets of fourth graders so far, there is one word to describe the outcome ... Passion. The curriculum, targeted to fourth and fifth graders, can easily be adapted to any grade level or discipline. For example, through science, social studies, math or the language arts, some mystical sensitivity for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands develops into a deep passion. The facets of this magnificent jewel touch each person in a unique way.
The curriculum guide is the result of collaborative work by many who believe in a vision to change the attitudes and behaviors of how to better care for our `aina (land) and kai (ocean) resources. Through the initiatives of the Thompson `Ohana and the Polynesian Voyaging Society, other involved and influential partners have teamed to create and sponsor the curriculum. The Bishop Museum, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and NOAA are to name a few.
Educators know that children, especially at the elementary ages find passion in simple things. They ask, "Why can't the world be at peace? Why don’t people care about the earth? What can we do to save our endangered plants and animals?" It’s black and white to them until they begin to inquire, desire to know, and investigate ways to make changes.
Some students are pulled to the marine animals. They feel compelled to save the `ilioholoikauaua (Hawaiian Monk Seal), the honu (green sea turtle), and the many seabirds such as the Laysan Albatross. The students crave to learn about the numerous marine life around the Hawaiian chain such as the varieties of fish and coral. They understand how we must malama or care for these kupuna (elder) islands, like we would our own kupuna. The keiki want to spread the message that we have to take responsibility for stewardship and sustainability of our land and sea.
I am very honored to be among a team of highly skilled and knowledgeable teachers, scientists, researchers, and of course, the crew of the Hi`ialakai. It’s an unbelievable expedition of a lifetime that solidifies my passion delivered from the keiki themselves. A memorable moment? Swimming among huge `ulua in three feet of water, knowing they are safe in the NWHI reserve became a metaphor of hope for our future. Mahalo ame malama pono.
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