Pono's educational program was founded in 2010 by a parent, educator, and education researcher in response to the need for an alternative school option that protects children's innate curiosity, genius, wonderment, and drive to explore and grow, by trusting them to initiate and direct their own learning.

Pono is a pioneer in offering an educational program that is both outdoor and democratic: a program where the children spend at least half of their time out of the classroom in and around New York City. Students design the curriculum through a process that respects and reflects their varied individual learning interests, and they govern their learning community through a democratic process. They pursue topics and long-term projects in fields as diverse as natural sciences (including biology, chemistry, Earth science, and physics), history, creative movement and dance, foreign languages (e.g., Spanish, Japanese, and Arabic), gardening, health and nutrition, cooking, reading, art, yoga, music, charity, fashion design, carpentry, sports, and more.

Read more about Pono's mission, beliefs, and values.

Since it opened, Pono's educational program has served more than 60 children ages 2 to 12 years old from different neighborhoods and boroughs of New York City.

Pono's preschool program is certified by the New York City Department of Health. Our elementary and middle school programs are in the process of being registered with the New York State Education Department as a non-public school.

We plan to grow with the oldest group and expand through high school.