A community of interwoven voices for Early Childhood Higher Education in Hawai‘i

Our Story & Mission

In May 2009, representatives from Chaminade University, University of Hawai’i – Manoa College of Education, University of Hawai’i – Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources – Family Resources, University of Hawai’i – West Oahu, University of Hawai’i – Hilo, Maui College, Hawai’i Community College, Honolulu Community College, and Kauai Community College came together with the mission to ensure that Hawai’i’s early childhood educators have access to professional development that will allow them to competently meet the needs of young children and their families in a culturally and individually responsive manner. The group was named Kaulanakilohana, a name given to the group by Noelani Iokepa-Guerrero, an educator in Hawaiian medium from UH Hilo and Aha Punana Leo.

Six Guiding Principles

Decisions are collaborative and collegial, guided by the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct, and arrived at by consensus.
Trusting and respectful relationships are built and maintained through open minded and responsible communication.
Our field’s tradition of promoting social justice honors inclusiveness and multiple perspectives and experiences.
Children develop in a holistic manner, which is nurtured by their family and community.
Easily accessible and clearly articulated higher education pathways are created and maintained to allow students to meet their academic goals.
Curriculum Principle – This principle is under construction. We point this out because it is an example of the first three principles about collaborative decision-making, open-minded and responsible communication, inclusiveness and multiple perspectives. It was important to us to identify a guiding principle around curriculum that we can all support – Montessorians, constructivists, de-constructivists, multl-cultural, and so on.

weaving lauhala

Layers of Meaning

Kaulanakilohana was the name chosen to represent the community of interwoven voices for Early Childhood Higher Education in Hawai’i. As with many terms in the Hawaiian language, the name Kaualanakilohana has many layers of meaning.

  • Kaulana means famous, celebrated, renowned.
  • Kilohana means the top most layer of a bed covering, best, superior, most prized.
  • Ulana means to weave.
  • Kilo means to watch closely, to examine, to observe, to forecast.

What We Do

Quality Assurance

The purpose of the quality assurance work area is to support attainment of highest levels of recognition for our early childhood higher education programs. The possible areas of work within quality assurance include aspects like common core competencies, program assessment, accreditation, and licensure or certification.

Career Pathways

The purpose of career pathways work area is to ensure that students can meet their education and career goals through seamless pathways in higher education. This is done through resources such as Career Pathways for the Career Access and Navigation of Early Childhood Systems (CANOES website), articulation agreements, and Bridges to community-based professional development.


The work area of data is in place to ensure that our programs have sufficient “good” data to support the need for resources and possible initiatives. This means the collection and analysis of workforce data as well as student data.


The last work area is sustainability. The purpose of this work area is to develop an implementable plan that will result in a stable and sustainable base for the organization. This can be accomplished through agreements among institutions, involvement of non-higher education organizations, and funding the organizations.

For more information about Kaulanakilohana, please contact Theresa Lock at locktf@hawaii.edu.