【From Hawaii】Education and Popular Children’s Games Around the World


Hawaii has a more multi-ethnic population than other states in the U.S. At public schools, students learn a second language and there are many English education programs for non-native English speakers.
Children are encouraged to respect each other even if they have a different way of thinking and there are many opportunities to present and discuss issues in groups at school. In this article, we will introduce the educational environment in Hawaii as well as how children spend their free time.


The Educational Environment in Hawaii

Compulsory education in Hawaii lasts 12 years (Grades 1-12) and is from age 7 to age 17. Most children attend public schools in their neighborhood and the curriculum is based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards enable all students to attain a certain level of academic achievement.
In Hawaii, it is forbidden by law to leave children under the age of 13 at home alone. Therefore, some schools offer childcare services from 7:30am until 5:00pm in addition to transportation to and from school to accommodate parents’ working hours.
Children younger than elementary school age can attend a kindergarten attached to their public elementary school for one year free before joining the elementary school. However, most working families in Hawaii, use preschools and nursery schools from age three.

How children in Hawaii spend their free time

There are many shallow beaches in Hawaii that are popular among families with young children. If you visit one of these beaches on holidays and weekends, you will often see families with young children playing in the water, playing ball on the sand, and enjoying picnics and barbecues.
Also, Hawaii offers a year-round sports environment so many children enjoy more than one sport, including soccer, baseball, basketball, water sports and even ice skating. Many children also learn the hula dance called “Keiki Hula” and ukulele from a young age. Hula dance performances are often held at schools and learning the dance has become an important part of the local culture.

Popular Children’s Games in Hawaii

Hawaiian culture is strongly influenced by Asian culture so we can see many similarities between children’s games is Hawaii and Japan. “Tag” is the most popular game and there are many varieties with different rules, like “Ice Tag” and “Color Tag”. Hand games are also popular including “10,000 Shaku of the Alps” and a game using sumo wrestlers made from origami.
In Hawaii, where legends and lore abound, it is common knowledge that a hole in the ground refers to a grave. Therefore, it is considered bad luck to leave a hole open when playing in the sand. Taking stones or pieces of coral from the island is also believed to bring bad luck.

In this article, we introduced the educational environment in Hawaii and the popular games played by children. Due to the large number of working parents in Hawaii, most children can interact with children of different ethnicities in preschools and nursery schools. Also, families spend time together on holidays and weekends.
This increased interaction with others helps children develop language and communication skills. Parents in Japan who would like their children to experience interacting with people of different ethnicities, like children in Hawaii, can have their children attend English preschool and mommy and me classes.