Kindergarten-First Grade Community

New classrooms are innovative, eco-conscious spaces inspiring students with nature-embracing design

‘Iolani School kicked off its 2019-20 school year with newly designed kindergarten and first-grade classrooms and play areas incorporating biophilic designs, which embrace nature and encourage students’ discovery, growth and expression.

Focused on the first years of primary education, ‘Iolani School’s K-1 Community incorporates a unique blend of natural and man-made features stimulating creativity, imagination and curiosity. The classrooms were inspired by the idea of hale (houses) to be places that nurture, grow and provide a life-giving environment for students. Each classroom is designed with movable furniture which can be rearranged to accommodate interactive and collaborative activities and dynamic groupings for different styles of student learning.

“Kindergarten and first grade are formative years in a child’s life,” Head of School Dr. Timothy Cottrell said. “The new K -1 Community provides world-leading spaces where teachers and students can continue to do everything they’ve always loved to do in great, new and interesting ways.”

The expansion of ‘Iolani’s K-1 Community increases the number of spaces for kindergarten from 72 students to 96, in doing so providing more local students the opportunity to attend ‘Iolani School. ‘Iolani’s total enrollment is approximately 2,020 students, including approximately 75 boarding students from around the world.

G70 was the lead architecture firm and Allied Builders the general contractor for the K-1 Community project. In addition, ‘Iolani faculty and recent graduates were members of a team that designed Hawaiian-themed decorative panels set to be part of the exterior of each building. These artistic installations, which were fabricated in the school’s Sullivan Center for Innovation and Leadership, depict natural elements as symbols of ‘Iolani’s commitment to cultivating sustainably-minded students with a responsibility to care for our natural world. Hawaiian names were thoughtfully selected for each K-1 Community Hale to reflect the physical world – Ao (clouds), Mauna (mountains), Wai (water), Honua (earth) and Kai (ocean).

The new K-1 Community is part of ‘Iolani School’s overall Campus Expansion plan, which is a component of the school’s Strategic Plan, “Together As One.” A vision representing the culmination of a multiyear strategic planning process, “Together As One” is a collaborative effort imbued with direction from the school’s Board of Governors, faculty and administration.

In addition to its K-1 Community, ‘Iolani is in the process of constructing a Lower School Science and Innovation Center and a new Dance & Music Studios Building connected by a courtyard which can also be used as an outdoor performance space. These buildings are expected to be completed by summer 2020.




On Sept. 11, 2020, our Bishop, chaplains, school leaders and some teachers gathered on our Lower School campus for the formal blessing of our new Kaneshiro Science and Innovation Center, and the Sidney and Minnie Kosasa Performance Studios and Courtyard.

Below you will find a videos of the blessing ceremony and a tour of the facilities by Dean of the Lower School Zachary Linnert.

During the 2018-19 academic year, ‘Iolani School opened a five-story dormitory Residence Hall for boarding students from the neighbor islands, mainland and around the world.

Click HERE for more information on Residential Life at 'Iolani School.