Star-Advertiser: Learning center will serve children on Leeward Coast

By Nanea Kalani
Star-Advertiser, 11/2/13

Kamehameha Schools has broken ground on a new learning center in Maili that will accommodate 185 preschoolers along the Leeward Coast and offer other early learning services.

Twelve preschool classrooms — two of which Kamehameha Schools will operate — will be part of a $33 million complex that is the first phase of the planned Kamehameha Community Learning Center. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday.

The other 10 classrooms will be run by existing preschool providers in the area, including Aha Punana Leo, Head Start and Waianae Coast Early Childhood Services. Kamehameha Schools said the added programs will boost preschool capacity on the Leeward Coast by 25 percent.

The complex also will include a care center for infants and toddlers and office and meeting spaces for community organizations serving keiki and families.

The center, scheduled to open next fall, comes at a time when preschool slots are expected to be in high demand. The state is raising the entry age for kindergarten at public schools next school year while also eliminating its junior kindergarten classes. An estimated 5,000 4-year-olds statewide will be affected by the change and unable to enroll in kindergarten next year.  Continue reading