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Kindergarten-First Grade Community

Innovative and eco-conscious classrooms inspire students with nature-embracing design

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.

The newly designed classrooms and play areas debuted prior to the 2019-20 school year, incorporating biophilic designs, which embrace nature and encourage students’ discovery, growth and expression.

“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 more than 2,100 students, including approximately 90 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).