The Primary is, for most children, the first foray into independence beyond their home. The Primary is set up to make that transition smooth and joyful. Children in the first plane of development seek activities that will help them help themselves, and their classroom is prepared to foster that independence through individual lessons and practice with real-life objects. Every lesson is delivered with life skills in mind and is matched to a child’s interests and developmental readiness. The process of learning truly begins once the adult steps away, and the child is free to work with his lesson when he wants for as long as he’d like. Primary children who take daytime naps may do so in a quiet room after lunch while the elder primary children use the afternoon hours to continue their day’s work.

The Primary

The Elementary

As in the Primary, the Elementary child is free to work with her lessons for as long (and as far) as her interests extend, but she works collaboratively now, wanting to become a meaningful part of her community. Outfitted with mere keys to discovery, the classroom is purposely limited. This compels the child to seek outside resources while the adult supports the child’s safe passage into the broader community to continue her work. The elementary curriculum offers the disciplines of history, geography, biology, mathematics, geometry, language, music and art by means of storytelling, manipulatives, and ʻāina-based experiences. These are specially curated to prepare the children for their particular place and time, in our case Mānoa Valley, Hawaiʻi, as the piko (center) from which they may explore the entire universe. 

Mo‘O School Programs

The Primary

Ages 2½ to 6

The Elementary

Ages 6 to 12

Humans are inquisitive explorers by nature, teaching ourselves by interacting with our environments. Italy’s first female physician, Dr. Maria Montessori, recognized this nature and developed a meticulous, comprehensive method to support the natural growth and development of the child through adolescence. In this sense, Montessori environments are highly structured places, offering order, sequences of work, and precisely the lessons a child needs at a given point in time. Children themselves, however, are granted the liberty to move freely and to choose their own activities during the periods of uninterrupted work time each day.