Why read?

Research has recently come out about reading with your children through middle school. This does a couple of things, it increases their vocabulary, maybe yours too. When you read together you are learning together and hearing words that are not always in normal conversation adds to your overall vocabulary. I personally can’t imagine my 12-year-old twins sitting on my lap the way my 2-year-old does but it creates a special time together. As a part of, “One family one mission forever” these times that build relationship are key to development. Something else the twins do is finish books in what seems like 5 seconds. Reading together slows them down and increases comprehension that simply can’t be accomplished skimming or speed reading. This helps when they are working on their book project that they had the whole quarter the night before it’s due. Their comprehension of what they read really pays off. One of my favorite reasons is that it brings up topics that aren’t easily brought into the conversation. Having the “talk,” can be awkward but if it happens in a book you are reading it is an open door for a conversation like that or other challenging subjects like poverty or struggle as seen in Of Mice and Men. I don’t know if your child has come home with homework you don’t understand but reading and learning together definitely help me to be better prepared to help them with their work.

Learning prep

A preschool parent asked me what they can do to help prepare their student for Kindergarten even though it is a couple years away. I was taken aback by this question but I found a great resource. This was written by Cari Suzuki the director of admissions at Montesorri Community School and I really could not have said it better. It is not enough to just send them to school anymore.

Here are some ways that you can help prepare your child and enhance his or her learning. preparation:

  • Encourage and support your child’s emerging independence by giving them real chores around the house. By giving them practical activities, children will learn to contribute to the household and family.  Chores can also help develop fine motor skills, focus and concentration.
  • Model honesty and respectful behavior. Your child will follow your example in how you treat others. Promote positive social interactions at home, including team work and compromise, so that your child can work cooperatively and collaboratively in school.
  • Be consistent. A regular routine helps kids to know what to expect and builds their confidence. Family trips are meaningful experiences but traveling too often during the school year can interrupt progress made in the classroom.
  • Limit screen time and encourage imaginative, creative and critical thinking. Through hands-on learning and exploration, your child can develop a deeper understanding of basic concepts and will have a broader foundation for abstract thoughts.
  • Read with your child. Not only does a daily story time strengthen bonds with your child, it also prepares them for reading on their own.
  • Provide options for challenging work. Reassure your child in their abilities and encourage them when they are ready to try something new!  Recognize effort more than mastery.  Don’t put too much pressure on them. Every child is different and progresses at his or her own pace. Every school has a different philosophy and learning expectations, along with different kindergarten requirements and application deadlines. Research the different programs and take a school tour to get a sense of the classroom and school community so you can decide on the best fit for your child.

One Family One Mission Forever

This year we are launching a newly unified vision called, “One Family One Mission Forever.” Everything coming out of WNA and WCN should be immediately recognizable as something that came from here. Everything from flyers to notices for parents falls under this.
One Family, Windward Nazarene Academy seeks to meet the educational and spiritual needs of the “Windward Ohana.” Our parents and students from Preschool 3’s to 8th grade and beyond are part of one WNA Family. Our teachers are passionate about building relationships with not just our students, but their parents and extended families through relationship-building events. Examples include Fourth grade Study Tour, Friday Night Bites, TEAM, and Trunk-or-Treat.
One Mission comes from Luke 10:27. Our mission is to Love with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
We love with all our heart – WNA seeks to show compassion to each other and the community around us.
We love with all our soul – The core of WNA is its commitment to the mission to partner with parents to nurture the whole child in a loving environment in accordance with God’s Word. Our educational platform goes beyond books and curriculum. Students are given opportunities to learn gardening, art, music, hula, and robotics to develop and pursue personal passions.
We love with all our mind – WNA is committed to a strong academic foundation. Our curriculum from Preschool to 8th grade is robust, comprehensive, and always changing and adapting to meet the needs of the next generation.
We love with all our strength – WNA is committed to the health and wellness of its students. PE and organized Physical Activity classes are part of the curriculum. Our FAB4 program is committed to educating students and families on the benefits of a holistic and healthy lifestyle.
Forever is because this is our command, a mission to lead our lives and serve in this way. To follow the example set by our Lord and Savior Jesus.

What we learned: Day One

Well, yesterday was quite eventful. The day seemed to fly by and I admittingly couldn’t always keep up. We started the day with a first day back photo booth and more traffic than I was ready for. We got backed up to the road with parents not so ready to drop off their new students to school. I saw crying, screaming, and tantrums from parents and students alike, mostly parents. When classes finally got underway, students got past the, “Hey, how was your summer?”, and syllabi full of expectations were passed out, it had to be close to lunch. The groans from middle school could be heard across campus affirmed that, or maybe it was because of that one teacher who started the year off with a quiz, claiming it was an assessment. Either way, there is no denying that we are back in school. After the dust settled, I say that loosely it still has not, we tried something new in aftercare. It was chaotic, to say the least, but that is how we learn. My favorite part of first days has to be parents coming to pick up their new students who were crying when they got dropped off, who are crying about not wanting to be picked up.

New year, New a lot of things

New school year with a lot of new things to announce. With the retirement of our beloved Pam Hasebe comes a new preschool teacher in 3a. Mrs. Donny is not new to teaching but she has been working all summer getting her new classroom ready for students. Fourth grade has also seen some change as we welcome back Mr. Nakamura to the classroom. We also welcome a new worship leader Mr. Kyle Furusho who has moved from aftercare director into that position. Ms. Jordyn Danner, who was second and third-grade assistant last year is now the K-8 physical education teacher. Ms. Betty is the new preschool assistant in Pastor Joy’s 4b class. Finally, pictured above we have Windward Nazarene’s new lead pastor Kevin McGinnis. With all the new and familiar faces, we are geared up for a great year.

Back to School…soon

Teachers and staff have head back to school to prepare for the school year to start. With just about a week left before the start of school, what is there left to do on your summer checklist? Well, it should say play, play, play. I am sure there are things to do but playtime should be a priority.  Ben Mardell a researcher for Project Zero writes,

“My take is that any activity can be play or not play. The secret sauce is playfulness.”

Playtime has benefits in intellectual development, social development, emotional development, and physical development. So let’s put playtime at the top of our checklist for this last week of summer.


Dear WNA

Dear WNA,

Thank you. These two words don’t seem like enough when I think about all the ways you have been there for me and my family over the past 33 years, but they’ll have to do. Thank you for being the safe place that allowed me to learn and grow as a student as well as the place that supported and loved me as a teacher. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus that ministered to me and my family when things were tough. It was never in my plans to leave to go somewhere else to teach/work, but it is actually because of the mentors and teachers I’ve had at WNA that I know what it looks like when God’s call on your life requires you to step out of your comfort zone and rely and trust FULLY in HIM. I’m going to miss SO many things about teaching here…the yummy (free) lunches, Spirit Week, Christmas and May Day programs, Teacher Appreciation Week (aka fabulously spoiled weekJ), the list goes on and on. But what I’m going to miss the MOST is the family that is WNA. The family that finds former students coming back to pop in to say, “Hi!” and to give their favorite 4th grade teacher a hugJ.  The family that is there for families who need love and support when things are tough. The family that shines Jesus’ light as best they can. These are the things that my heart will miss the most as I leave the comfort of this place that has, literally, been where I’ve spent the most formative years of my life.

Over the years, I have seen people leave as they follow God’s call to other places, and God has shown He has always been in control by bringing others to WNA who have been led here by Him.  Some have served for a short season, and others for longer (like me).  Because WNA is first and foremost GOD’S ministry, I leave knowing He will continue to further His ministry with the people He has called.  WNA will always have a special place in my heart and I will carry all of you wherever I go.

Faithfully Yours,

Joy Yoshida


Preschool Graduation

In a day and age where it seems that there is a graduation for everything it can begin to feel a little monotonous and not feel as special. I had the privilege of following around preschoolers before their graduation. Here is a video we used to make sure they felt special.