help design their future
as Le Jardin builds a
school in Kailua
Construction is to start today,By Crystal Kua
and the students are tracking it
When sixth-grader Laura Hui first looked at construction blueprints a few weeks ago, she had difficulty finding the windows on the buildings.
But recently Hui was asked to point to the windows on a set of drawings, and she called on weeks of learning how to figure out what's what on the plans. "They're here," she said, putting her finger on a line that's not as bold as the two adjacent lines denoting the walls.
But these blueprints are not just any old blueprints.
They diagram the future for Hui and her schoolmates at Le Jardin Academy in Kailua.
Construction is expected to begin today on the first of three phases of Le Jardin's new campus that would eventually include a high school.
Founded in 1961, the private school, which is known for its French language instruction, has 374 students in pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade and is currently leasing classrooms from three churches on Kailua Road.
The new school will be located on the 24-acre site of the old Kailua Drive-In. The $8 million first phase will include classrooms for elementary and middle school students, an administration building, swimming pool, basketball court and soccer field.
Le Jardin has found ways to integrate the plans for the new campus into its lessons:
Middle school students have been learning to read blueprints and making models of the different classroom buildings.
Lower school students are writing articles on the progress for the school's parent newsletter.
Kindergartners are growing avocado trees to plant at the new site.
Fifth-graders are publishing a student newspaper that features updates on the progress.
Hawaiian studies students are researching and identifying native Hawaiian plants that would be suitable for the new site.
Classes have cleared weeds and rocks in the area of the new playground.
As a treat, students are taken to the site for a pizza lunch hosted by the headmaster.
During an assembly, students were introduced to the people involved in the project -- civil engineers, surveyors, attorneys, architects, electricians, plumbers, contractors, steel workers and media specialists -- as part of a lesson on careers.
"It's so our kids understand what's going on there," said newly arrived headmaster Adrian Allan, who started in his position in October.
Hui and classmates Seth Matsumura and Stephen Goo were assembling a model of the science building.
"The models are meant to get them to see something real," Allan said. "It's quite an achievement to reproduce them."
The trio's project also taught them lessons in science and math -- scale measurements and creating angles.
"I thought it turned out pretty good, considering we went pretty fast," Matsumaru said.
"We know a lot about what it looks like now," Hui said.
Allan said Le Jardin is also considering a name change so people can better connect the school with the community.