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Alternative Education creates happy children

May 19, 2011
Maui Weekly

The Alternative School is free to evolve because the faculty is free to think creatively. Rigidity is replaced with expansion. The needs of the individual are responded to in an environment of trust. The child intuitively knows and feels he or she is respected.

In Alternative Education, the child, rather than the curriculum, is the focus. The teacher learns the character and knows the passions of each child. Growth in cooperation and personal excellence replaces ego-oriented competitiveness. Encouraging kindness and optimism helps the child develop a happier and more optimistic nature. Life skills such as collaboration, conflict resolution and inclusiveness are taught.

An Alternative Education can also mean that the important subjects of math, English, science, art, history and languages are valued as much as new, vital subjects such as ecology and sustainable living practices.

Inspired to contribute to conscious living on Maui, Hawai‘i International School was created to offer such an ideal, alternative education.

We take a holistic learning approach to our curriculum. Math and grammar are a means to orderliness, stability, security and clear thinking. Science studies are offered with extended time in nature to develop wonder, awe, appreciation and reverence for life. Arts and classical studies are offered as a means of exploring and gaining an understanding of the entire world, and developing communication, imagination and creativity. Quiet time, meditation, yoga and theater productions based on the life of great people allow children to discover the potential for greatness within themselves. This self-discovery and development is the quest of all education.

Elizabeth Spanton, M.A., is the founder of the Hawai‘i International School and a leader in Alternative Education. She has 40 years of experience as an award-winning teacher, administrator and curriculum developer. Contact her at 573-2873 and visit

Elizabeth Spanton



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