Place-Based Cultural Projects

PLACES provides relevant and highly engaging learning experiences for children in Wai'anae through a place-based cultural project (PBCP) curricular framework grounded in multiple bodies of research. This framework draws upon both the environment and the community as organizational starting points and contains the following critical elements.


  • Learning through projects — Extended projects allow children and teachers to pursue important questions and topics together.


  • Place-based — Projects within PLACES take up a topic, an issue, or a commitment grounded in the local community of Wai'anae or the larger community of Hawai'i. Projects might take an environmental focus, explore the history of the place, or highlight contemporary people or leaders within the community.


  • Active, hands-on learning experiences — Projects privilege doing as a means for learning. Children are involved in planting and harvesting kalo or other crops. They perform their learning through hip hop and hula, participate in slam poetry, and build aquaponics systems.


  • Standards-based — PBCPs are designed around the Common Core standards and Hawaii's Content and Performance Standards, integrating literacy teaching throughout and engaging these standards in highly motivating ways.


  • The arts — Learning through and learning about the arts are important to the place-based cultural project learning in PLACES. Children are exposed to a variety of ancient Hawaiian arts as well as contemporary visual, musical, and performing arts.



[On the Slam Poetry Night] Every child came down feeling they accomplished something. This is what we want for our children. I look forward to the children lighting up and saying, 'Hey, I can do it all by myself.'

- PLACES Teacher


University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Student Equity, Excellence & Diversity (SEED)

2600 Campus Rd., QLSSC 413

Honolulu, HI 96822

Place-based Learning And Community Engagement in School (PLACES)