The Beginning of Kolohe Time: Seeing the Problem
Nearly 15 years ago, I noticed a need among the children of Hawaii. There was a large gap between the education and media offered to our kids on the one hand and our families' social and cultural values on the other.
Of course, social values exist naturally wherever there is a community, but I saw that the fabric of society we were weaving began to gradually lose the essential threads of our culture. Instead, chaos seemed to replace it.
Although this may sound a bit dark, the solution is completely light-hearted, fun, and enriching. Our solution is a program called Kolohe Time.
A child shows off their Kolohe Time coloring book.
The Solution: Teaching Hawaiian Culture and Values Through Music
As songwriters and musicians, we saw an opportunity for us to help with music. We wanted kids and families throughout Hawaii to benefit from a children's show like Sesame Street—but with distinctly Hawaiian values.
When the idea for Kolohe Time first emerged, my sons were watching the Wiggles and Barney. These shows weren't bad, but they failed to relate to our kids. We wanted programs that felt familiar to our kids on a cultural level—so we decided to make one.
Developing Kolohe Time into a Hawaiian Musical Education Program
Kolohe Time began as an idea for a TV show, and it gradually became something much bigger. First, we sat down and created characters who will, hopefully, be memorable to our children. At the same time, we developed songs for Kolohe time that fall in line with our characters and the good old Hawaiian values we want to emphasize. Our pilot episode is about Aloha.
After this initial production, outsource animation to Twiddle Productions. And there's our TV program! But that wasn't enough.
Then, we hired curriculum developers to come up with lesson plans. So, Kolohe time offers an animated music video and compatible structured lessons. These lessons are intended for K-5 students and can assist teachers and home-schooled students.
And that still wasn't enough. So after that, we collaborated with Twiddle Productions to create Kolohe Time coloring books and storybooks, bringing more resources to children of Hawaii who need programs they can relate to.
Finally, we brought on a Hawaiian language specialist to help us offer Kolohe time in English and Hawaiian, making our show and the coordinating resources available to our students in immersion schools and those who speak Olelo Hawaii.
We also offer singalong episodes and ukulele lessons in conjunction with our main Kolohe Time episodes so that kids can learn these songs with active music education.
In addition to all the branches of Kolohe Time that I already mentioned, we're also working on creating Kolohe Time merchandise. Selling this merchandise will help us raise money to cover a portion of the costs of developing this project.
Right now, there is nothing else like Kolohe Time out there. This project is a big part of the development and cultural perpetuation of our 'Aina Aloha. We're focused on reinforcing Hawaiian values to our kids here at home, and we also want to spread Aloha to the rest of the world through our fun music animations and lessons.
Our motto is Recess with a Purpose, which means that education should be fun.
A group of students spends time outside while coloring in Kolohe Time coloring books.
Special Thanks to Our Teachers and Students
We would like to give a big mahalo to Kim Kaopuiki for her Kokua with being the test pilot of Kolohe Time with her 4th-grade Keiki at Ka'ewai!
It has been a treasure working with her and getting her mana'o as we put the finishing touches on Kolohe Time. Our goal is to make it as effective and productive as possible for both our teachers and our Keiki in Hawaii and the world.
We are looking forward to the coming school year as we work with Principal Ui'lani Kaitoku and Hau'ula Elementary school to deliver the pilot of both the English and Hawaiian versions of Kolohe Time.
The Future of Kolohe Time
We hope that this is the beginning of a wonderful journey as we continue to raise awareness and acquire funding to continue creating more content for our kids. To keep costs low, each episode of Kolohe time is only about one minute long.
And we have nine more episodes ready to go! But we're still working on finding creative ways to raise money. We appreciate all the support from people who follow us on YouTube and listen to our music on Spotify since this helps fund Kolohe Time. We're also so thankful for our supporters who buy our coloring books and storybooks, which are available in English, Hawaiian, digital, and hard copies.
Children in Hawaii color in Kolohe Time coloring books while learning about the Hawaiian value of Aloha. Coloring books are available for $14 online.