Lower School

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) cultivates student initiated action, while placing children at the center of learning in a tailored social, emotional and academic program.

Through inquiry, students engage in local, national and global issues and possibilities. This is a collaborative process where students reflect on learning and choose methods to demonstrate understanding.

Day in Kindergarten

Loading from Vimeo...


Primary Years Program (PYP)

Click here to learn more about our IB curriculum.

Units of Inquiry

Click here to learn more about our PYP Program.

Foreign Language

Students chose a foreign language to study following this schedule:

  • Kindergarten or Grade 1 – choice of French or Chinese each year
  • Grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 choice of French, Spanish, Japanese or Chinese to study through High School.


Promoting student agency, all fifth graders partake in Exhibition as a final unit. During this time, student teams research their own passion topics by writing their own central idea and lines of inquiry and scheduling their own speakers and field trips. Collectively, the teams utilize all Approaches to Learning (communication, research, social, thinking and self-management skills) to address their chosen unit concept, that has global significance and local relevance, through taking action. Some topics of the past: consumption, homelessness, women’s rights, natural resources, culture, alternative health.



Students in grade 5 participate in Advisory activities throughout the school year. Whole-group activities focus on team building and creating a sense of community as a grade level.

Small-group activities focus on interpersonal skills (such as communication and collaboration), interpersonal skills (such as self-awareness and self-reflection), etc.

Joey Kurata
Lower School Counselor
Ph: 808.261.0707 x513

Learning Support

LJA is an inclusive learning environment that aims to increase access and engagement in learning for our students by identifying and removing barriers.

April Shores-Endrigat
K-2 Learning Support
Ph: 808.261.0707 x5330

Julie Larson-Hicks
3-5 Learning Support
Ph: 808.261.0707 x5370

Student Counselor

Counseling services are available to support students for academic, social, and emotional concerns. Students can request to see the Lower School Counselor by filling out a counselor pass. Teachers, Administrators, and parents can also refer students to the counselor.

The most common reason for students to see the Lower School Counselor is for “fun lunch” (lunch with their friends and the counselor). This gives the students and counselor a chance to build familiarity and rapport.

Most counseling takes place during snack, recess or lunch to avoid interfering with instructional time. However, there are times when students are referred to the counselor directly when issues or concerns need to be addressed immediately. It is important to note that counseling at LJA is viewed as non-punitive; the counselor is not involved with disciplinary issues.

Joey Kurata
Lower School Counselor
Ph: 808.261.0707 x513

Class Glimpse


Making new friends, learning the routines of the classroom and playground, deciding which centers to discover each day, and making so many choices.

That is just the first week of Kindergarten! Kindergarteners learn about Hawaii and the greater world through units of inquiry on choices and consequences, forms of expression, natural resources and scientific explorations. Kindergartners enjoy hands-on learning opportunities through many excursions off campus.

First Grade

A huge focus in first grade is reading, from phonetic recall to comprehension, the students are immersed! They use their reading to explore units of inquiry based on relationships, shelters, expression through movement, cycles, food systems and taking action in the world.

Second Grade

Students begin the year by working on their classroom community and budding healthy relationships and then dive into ocean’s ecosystem, and grow their understanding of structures in the world, expressions of visual arts, healthy soils, and explorers through their units of inquiry. They become confident writers as they work on ideas, conventions and organization!

Third Grade

Third graders learn what it means to be a citizen, how the geography and resources of our land affect where and why we settle in areas, and how to innovate a machine to make work easier. They also choose their favorite type of speech to share with an audience and present them to each other. By the end of the economics unit, third grade students are able to make business decisions and know what “opportunity cost, scarcity, supply, demand” mean.

Fourth Grade

The Fourth graders spend time on the island of Hawaii exploring the vast fields of lava, indigenous plants, history, and folklore of the Hawaiian people. This culminating three-day trip brings to life many of the concepts that the students have studied all year long: geology, migration, biodiversity, space, beliefs and values.

Fifth Grade

Fifth graders are scientists who grow their understanding of physics through a unit on Chemistry in the Kitchen. They grow as historians by creating their own government and constitution. By researching symbolism and expressions during times of conflict, students create their own symbolic representation of dispute. This rigorous year culminates with Exhibition, an opportunity for the fifth graders design their own unit of inquiry in a collaborative team, scheduling their own field trips and presenting their findings at the end of the year.

Getting Involved

Junior Safety Patrol (JSP)

Junior Safety Patrol Officers greet families and monitor the loop during arrival each day.
Positions are open to:
  • First semester students in grade 5
  • Second semester students in grade 4

Student Council

In the fall of each new school year, four year-long representatives are elected to office from all homerooms in grades 3-5. Student Council representatives lead by example and participate in preparing and assisting with events such as the Halloween Parade and Family Fun Night.


Majken Johansson
Lower School Principal
Ph: 808.261.0707 x1030

Lori Praetorius
Lower School Vice Principal/PYP Coordinator
Ph: 808.261.0707 x1060

Lisa Ventura
Lower School Administrative Assistant
Ph: 808.261.0707 x1130