Wailuku Hongwanji Mission established its preschool in 1962 to provide care and guidance for the children of the Wailuku Hongwanji members, and to introduce and promote an understanding of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. The first class included about ten children. The preschool is now open to the general public and operates year-round, with an enrollment of about 45 children and a qualified staff including a director, certified early childhood teachers, and teachers’ aides. The preschool continues to serve the families of temple members and the general public by providing a quality program in early childhood education, and allowing working parents to meet the economic needs of their families.
The goals of the preschool are to provide an enriching early childhood program that will provide an environment in which children are able to learn and grow emotionally, socially, and cognitively to their fullest potential. The staff strives to provide a happy, positive, loving, and safe environment to help all children to become enthusiastic, self-confident, and inquisitive learners through developmentally appropriate practices and activities. The preschool provides a foundation for learning through play.
The preschool’s slogan is “We’re Making Tomorrow.” Wailuku Hongwanji Preschool has been serving the community and “making tomorrows” for over 50 years and looks forward to continuing to serve our community and future generations to come.
History of Wailuku Hongwanji Preschool
1940’s - Following the end of World War II in the mid-1940s, efforts to provide childcare for temple members began. Mrs. Edith Izumi started a nursery, but due to a lack of enrollment, the nursery closed after a few years.
1950s - Mrs. Alice Tokunaga served as director of Tot Town. When she accepted a teaching job with the Department of Education, the nursery closed due to lack of teachers.
1962 - Wailuku Hongwanji Mission officially established this preschool in 1962. Mrs. Sylvia Ishikawa served as the first preschool director. When Mrs. Ishikawa went on leave, Mrs. Teruko Ballinger served as acting director, with Mrs. Carolyn Hozaki as an assistant.
1964 - Mrs. Nancy P.C. Oishi became director of the preschool and served for 28 years.
1970 - The preschool hired Mrs. Karen Yoshida as a certified teacher and taught for 22 years. When Mrs. Oishi retired in 1992, Mrs. Yoshida took over and served as director until her retirement in the spring of 2019.
2021 - We welcomed a new director, Ms. Jody Vinoray to our ohana.