Early Learning/Pre-K

Please use the resources below to learn more about high quality Pre-K.

Investing in Hawaii's Keiki

Pilot Kindergarten Assessment Data for SY 2016 -17

Select Charter Schools on Four Islands Now Accepting Applications for Free High-Quality Pre-K for School Year 2020-21

Posted January 30, 2020

Applications are now being accepted for high-quality preschool classes at select charter schools on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island, Kauaʻi, and Molokaʻi for the 2020-2021 school year. Evidence shows that high-quality preschool helps prepare children for later success in school and in life. A child’s family is their first teacher and play a vital role in his or her education. The goal of this pre-kindergarten program is to build a child’s existing skills and strengthen a family’s ability to support their child’s learning. 


This free pre-k program is for four-year-old children who are born between August 1, 2015 and July 31, 2016. As defined by ACT 276 of the 2019 Hawaiʻi State Legislative Session, children who meet the following priority categories have selection preference:

  • Children whose family income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty level for Hawaiʻi, so a family of three earning  $74,940 or less and a family of 4 earning $90,390 or less will qualify. (Please see attached FPG chart)

  • Children who have an IEP (receiving special education services);

  • Children who are homeless;

  • Children who are in foster care; and/or

  • Children who are English Learners


Thereafter, all four-year-old children will be considered, based upon space availability. Each classroom will provide a safe, nurturing and holistic learning environment with a 10:1 student to teaching staff ratio. 


Participating schools by island:


Hawaiʻi Island

  • Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Immersion PCS, Keaukaha (808)982-4260

  • Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Iki Lab PCS, Keaʻau & Waimea (808)965-2193

  • Kua o ka Lā New Century PCS, Pāhoa (808)965-2193

  • Laupāhoehoe Community PCS  (808)962-2200

  • Nā Wai Ola PCS, Mountain View (808) 968-2318

  • Volcano School of Arts & Sciences (808)985-9800


  • Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha Learning Center  (808)567-6900


  • Kualapuʻu School: Public Conversion Charter School (808)567-6900


  • Kamaile Academy, Waiʻanae (808)697-7110

  • Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Iki Lab PCS, Nānākuli (808)620-9052

  • Ku Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory PCS, Kāneʻohe (808)235-9175

  • Waiʻalae Elementary Public Charter School, Honolulu (808)733-4880



Apply now as seats are limited! First selection will take place on Friday, March 27, 2020, at 3:30 p.m. All complete applications received by participating charter schools on this date and time and meet the priority categories are eligible for first selection. 


If there are any vacancies thereafter, a second round of selections will take place on Friday, April 24, 2020, at 3:30 p.m. for all four-year-old applicants.  Note: A lottery system will be used if the number of complete applications exceeds the number of slots available. After April 24, 2020, selections will be made on a first come first serve basis. 


For more information please contact the charter school, or Deanne Goya at the Commission office at (808) 586-3775. 

Seats Available in Charter School Pre-K Classrooms

School Year 2019-2020

The State Legislature has provided appropriations to sustain 360 prekindergarten slots in charter schools through the Executive Office on Early Learning prekindergarten program. Applications for high-quality, free prekindergarten programs are now being accepted at the following eleven charter schools statewide for School Year 2019-2020.

Hawaiʻi Island

-Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo Public Charter School in Hilo

-Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School in Kea‘au and Waimea

-Kua o ka Lā in Nānāwale

-Na Wai Ola Public Charter School in Mountain View

-Volcano School of Arts & Sciences in Volcano

-Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School in Laupāhoehoe



- Kualapu‘u Charter School on Molokaʻi



-Kamaile Academy Public Charter School in Waiʻanae

- Ke Kula Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School in Kāneʻohe

-Waiʻalae School in Waiʻalae

- Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School in Nānākuli



- Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha


To be eligible children must be four-years-old on or by July 31, 2015. Priority will be given to children who are English language learners and/or children with individual education plans, who are homeless, who are in foster care, and/or families with incomes at or below 300% of the 2019 federal poverty guidelines for Hawaiʻi. If slots are available, other four-year-old children will be considered. All families are encouraged to apply. These eleven charter schools previously participated in the rigorous federal Preschool Development Grant which sunset at the close of last school year. Participation in this grant allowed Hawaii to continue to build on statewide efforts to support Hawaii’s early childhood system. By replicating the high-quality prekindergarten classrooms already operating on Hawaiʻi DOE campuses and implementing them in charter schools, we are ensuring a comprehensive approach to a high-quality prekindergarten that will benefit more keiki in Hawaiʻi.

Applications Continue To Be Accepted for High Quality Pre-K at Charter Schools

School Year 2018-2019

In school year 2018-2019, selected public charter schools in Hawai‘i will be offering public prekindergarten programs to eligible four-year-old children.

In 2014, the Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission applied for the U.S. Department of Education Preschool Development Grant. Hawai‘i was one of 18 states awarded this opportunity. This grant allows Hawai‘i to continue to build on statewide efforts to support Hawaii’s early childhood system. Each participating school can serve 20 eligible pre-kindergarten students in each class.

Through this Preschool Development Grant, children may have the opportunity to have the best start in his or her education, because children who are well-prepared for school can focus on learning and experience greater achievement in school and throughout life.

Through a strong family engagement component, families will build on their skills to be their child’s first teacher and play a vital supporting role in their child's education. The goal of this charter school prekindergarten program is to build on a childʻs existing skills and to strengthen their familyʻs ability to support their learning.   

Apply now! 

The enrollment selection is based on:
1.      Completion of the student’s application packet in full (school will provide);
2.      Age eligibility – for school year 2018-2019, the child must have been born on or between August 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014; and
3.      Income eligibility – the family’s income must fall at or below 200% of Hawai‘i's current Federal Poverty Guidelines based on family size.
  The list below shows the calculated income for families interested in applying.


Family of two can earn up to $37,860

Family of three can earn up to $47,800 

Family of four can earn up to $57,740

Family of five can earn up to $67,680

Family of six can earn up to $77,620

Family of seven can earn up to $87,560

Family of eight can earn up to $97,500


Eleven public charter schools are offering high-quality free pre-kindergarten educational services to eligible children. The following schools participate in the $14.8 million, four-year Preschool Development Grant awarded to the State Public Charter School Commission:



Kamaile Academy Public Charter School

Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Iki Laboratory Public Charter School (Nānākuli campus)

Ke Kula O Samuel M. Kamakau Laboratory Public Charter School

Waiʻalae Elementary Public Charter School


Nā Wai Ola Public Charter School

Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School

Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School (Hilo & Waimea Campuses)

Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo Public Charter School

Kua O Ka Lā New Century Public Charter School

Volcano School of Arts and Sciences


Kualapu‛u School: A Public Conversion Charter


Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha  

Click on the school’s name to be taken to its website and learn more about the school and to find information on the pre-K program and obtain contact information. For additional information, please contact the Commission’s Pre-K Grant Manager, Deanne Goya, at Deanne.Goya@spcsc.hawaii.gov or (808) 586-5227.

Preschool Development Grant

Memorandum of Agreement Contracts

  • Nā Wai Ola Public Charter School

  • Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School

  • Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School 

  • Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo Public Charter School

  • Kualapu‛u School: A Public Conversion Charter

  • Kamaile Academy Public Charter School



Frequently Asked Questions:


I notice that there are Pre-K Tasks in Epicenter.  Does participation in the Preschool Development Grant (“PDG”) Pre-K program impact the charter contract? 




  • The PDG MOA contract is not part of the Charter Contract

  • Participation is in the PDG does not affect the schools’ overall rating regarding organizational performance

  • Performance on the PDG grant requirements does not impact the Charter Contract.

  • Participation in the Preschool Development Grant will not impact the Charter Contract renewal process.

  • The pre-K Epicenter tasks will not contribute towards the on-time-rate of the charter school contract renewal process.

  • Pre-K grant compliance tasks are included in Epicenter, as the Commission’s management tool to facilitate federal grant compliance.

  • Each charter school’s compliance specific to the PDG pre-K Epicenter tasks demonstrate the school’s ability to continue to participate in the PDG grant opportunity. 

  • Pre-K grant task compliance ensures that Hawaii continues to remain eligible to meet federal requirements allowing Hawaii’s keiki to benefit from this high-quality pre-K opportunity.


Does the Enrollment Projection Budget Count, due in May, include pre-K? 




Pre-K student enrollment is not included in the projected student count due in May and does not qualify for per pupil funding.


As part of the grant requirements, do schools need to assess pre-K students? 



Schools are using a researched-based formative assessment tool which may include Teaching Strategies Gold.

Grant Overview

  • What is the total funded grant amount?  $14,881,368 to fund 18 potential preschool classrooms in charter schools statewide


  • How many potential students may be served over four years?  920


  • Who is eligible under this grant?  Four-year-old children, whose family income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guideline, in areas with limited access to high quality preschool services


  • What is the potential classroom size?:  No more than 20 age- and income-eligible students


  • What about special needs children who do not meet the age- or income requirements?  Each class can also potentially provide inclusion opportunities for preschool-age students to the extent possible. IDEA students, who’s IEP identifies the least restrictive environment in one of the charter school classes, not meeting the age and income requirements, shall be funded by IDEA funds


  • Will there be federal oversight of this grant?  Yes, a federal monitoring team has been assigned to SPCSC to oversee grant compliance.  This team shall also visit schools and review records to ensure that all grant requirements are being followed


  • What are the school requirements?  All schools participating in the federal Preschool Development Grant shall sign an MOU contract identifying specific requirements in addition to those indicated in the charter school contract


  • What schools will be selected for Year One?  Schools selected for Year One shall demonstrate solid administrative oversight, meeting or exceeding standards in financial, academic and overall organizational performance due to the quick roll-out of this grant since it is likely that anticipated challenges may occur during the first year of implementation


  • What if schools are not selected for Year One?  If schools are not selected for Year One, the remaining tentatively selected schools has the potential to participate in subsequent years contingent upon continued satisfactory standing in financial, academic and overall organizational performance areas and agreement with MOU contract requirements


  • What are participating charter school preschool classrooms going to receive?

    • The potential to hire highly qualified teaching staff to support the student-teacher ratio of 10 to 1 and to have class sizes that do not exceed 20 four-year-old students

    • An initially identified budget to purchase developmentally and culturally appropriate materials and learning environments that are aligned with Hawaii Early Learning Development Standards (HELDS)

    • Initial plans to implement and support family engagement activities

    • Inclusive settings for children with disabilities whose IEP identifies that this pre k class as the least restrictive environment

    • A system of professional development support provided by UH Hawaii P-20 to build on teaching staff, school and community leadership skills to use assessment data analysis to more effectively develop plans to address the needs of the students and community

    • All 18 schools shall participate in an annual leadership Learning Lab Conference starting Fall 2015

    • All of these activities shall help to ensure that more children are ready to enter kindergarten


The Preschool Development Grant Hawaii Grantee Abstract can be found here.

A copy of the grant application can be accessed here.

Please reload

​State Public Charter School Commission


1111 Bishop Street, Suite 516

Honolulu, HI 96813

Tel: 808-586-3775

Fax: 808-586-3776

  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon


* The Commission gratefully acknowledges  former Commissioner, Dr. Peter Hanohano, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for the translation of the Commission’s name.

© 2013 by SPCSC. All rights reserved.