Welcome to the Program for After-School Literacy Support (PALS)! Travel through our website to learn about the exciting things that children along the Wai'anae Coast of Oahu are learning and doing as they explore this beautiful place.

Who We Are

PALS provides out-of-school learning opportunities for a predominantly Native Hawaiian population of children and youth on the Wai'anae coast of Oahu, Hawai'i. PALS is funded through the Department of Education, Native Hawaiian Education Program and administered through the Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED) at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa. The program began in 2007 and is currently in its third cycle of funding. During this time it has gone from serving 100 students annually to over 300 students annually.

What We Do

PALS uses a place-based cultural project (PBCP) curricular framework that embraces the multiple cultural locations in which children live and grow and utilizes community and place as the springboard for learning. Based on several bodies of educational research, PBCPs engage real-life ways of knowing and doing and provide integrated opportunities for literacy teaching and learning across the curriculum.

Students in PALS engage with teachers and other community members in projects that have relevance to their own lives and that produce a number of important outcomes, including nurturing children's identities as learners, community activists, and as stewards of the environment.

Who We Work With

PALS partners with multiple cultural and educational organizations including, among others, Ka'ala and Hoa 'Aina O Makaha farms, Mohala I Ka Wai, and local Native Hawaiian Artists.

What the kids are doing, what's happening is so exciting. They never have been able to do projects in the classroom. I've seen kids grow so much... a boy in robotics blossomed, and [students] see robotics as a team sport. I see kids grow that are not typically growing in the classroom. I see kids become self motivated.

– PALS Tutor

In the aquaponics group, everyone has a role, the kids are so independent. [The project] accommodates diverse learners and allows kids to learn."

– PALS Tutor

Students take their experiences and take it back to the classroom. Some students learned how to build and built an aquaponics system in PALS and built their own for a [class] science project.

– PALS Tutor

They [students] are motivated to be part of the community, leading and giving back.

– PALS Tutor

Their critical thinking is sharper. They tend to question things now, are less passive about the information they accept.

– PALS Tutor

[PALS] gives them [students] a chance to learn how to cooperate with one another, to work together, the kid's attitude might be the best evidence [the program is working]. They cheer each other on and don't ridicule or tease one another.

– PALS Tutor

You don't have to learn reading and math before you can do fun things, shared another educator, You can learn reading and math while doing fun things.

– PALS Tutor

Our students are visual, hands on learners. This program offers all the motivation to start there, but to go beyond.

– PALS Tutor

This [program] has given [students] them another avenue to know themselves, extend themselves, and find out more about who they are and what they are capable of. It opens their eyes to see themselves in new ways. It gives kids a chance to re-invent themselves.

– PALS Tutor

I've learned how to integrate collaboration and group work into my regular teaching now, I make more intentional use of student presentation and communication skills, and, I use more open-ended questions. I question differently to get to higher level thinking.

– PALS Tutor

[PALS] got me back on track where I remembered that I need to make learning fun. I saw kids could understand complex issues because they were having fun. I don't ever want to lecture again.

– PALS Tutor

[The program] brings pride to the community. it is positive for the kids to see good things coming from the work they are doing.

– PALS Tutor