Early childhood education plays an important role in the social and academic development of every student. Parents on Lanai are fortunate to have quality preschool options to begin their children’s learning journey, including Lanai Early Learning.
Lanai Early Learning provides a home-based preschool experience for children aged 3 to 5, and the occasional 2.5-year-old who is ready for school. There is a limit of just six students per year, which enables each child to receive personalized attention. The school’s director and head teacher, Michelle Sunke, believes this is a wonderful way to start a child’s education.
“I love teaching young children – they are such eager learners, and they are a real joy,” explained Sunke. “At Lanai Early Learning, we focus on the whole child. We want kids to be ready socially and emotionally for kindergarten when they leave our program. Limiting our class to six students allows us to tailor academic work for everyone. This includes tailoring reading and math activities, which is very helpful for the kids.”
Creativity and fun a part of curriculum
Of course, fun is a big part of each day at the preschool. Sunke wants her students to look forward to learning and have positive thoughts about school. Creativity is emphasized through painting, sensory play and arts and crafts. However, Sunke also focuses on social and emotional development.
“At the end of each year, I want all my students to have developed friendships, and I want them to leave here with high self-esteem and a sense of empathy for their classmates,” explains Sunke.
Longtime teacher and Lanai resident
A Lanai resident for more than 13 years, Sunke enjoys living and teaching on the island. She brings an extensive education background to the preschool. After graduating from college, she worked as a teacher in California and Hawaii. She also has 235 hours of Early Childhood Development training and was awarded the Child Development Associate Certificate by the Council for Professional Recognition.
“Lanai is so special,” explained Sunke. “I can’t think of a better place to be a teacher. It is so rewarding to see the boys and girls who come through our program grow up to be such wonderful and caring people. The moms and dads on this island are amazing, and I feel fortunate to play a small role in preparing their children for school.”
The school year at Lanai Early Learning runs from August through May. Classes are held three days per week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information, visit the Lanai Early Learning website or contact Sunke at 808-649-0991.
Sunke is happy to put parents in touch with organizations that offer financial aid for preschool, including tuition assistance through Maui County and other sources.