There is always something happening at Pono! Read about our field trips, visiting teachers, classes, and special events.

We the Children Film Documentary

We the Children is an award-winning documentary about children’s thoughts and feelings on politics.

This film captures Pono students’ concerns about the 2016 election results and their ensuing political journey. Filmmakers Jamal Joseph and Mike DeCaro follow the children, ages 7 to 11, as they study constitutional law, engage in activism, and get involved in New York City’s Harlem community. The subjects of We the Children ultimately challenge the general perception of children’s limited role in politics and encourage viewers to consider children’s political voice.


We are honored that We the Children has received the following awards and recognitions:

A Gold Winner 2018 online award from the International Independent Film Awards

A nomination for Best Short Documentary from the NYC Independent Film Festival

The award for Best Characters at the Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film & Screenplay Festival. See audience feedback about We the Children here.

The award for Best Youth Short Film at the Harlem International Film Festival. This award is especially meaningful to us, as it is an honor to be recognized by our local Harlem community.


The following national and international film festivals have screened We the Children:

The New York Short Film Festival (New York City / November 3, 2018)

YoFiFest (Yonkers, New York / November 6, 2018)

New Filmmakers Documentary Program (New York City / November 14, 2018)

Kids First! Film Festival (online)

JAYU's Human Rights Film Festival (Toronto, Canada / December 7, 2018)

The Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film & Screenplay Festival (Los Angeles, California / May 2, 2019)

The NYC Independent Film Festival (New York City / May 11, 2019)

The i.P.A.S. Film Festival (Athens, Greece / May 12, 2019)

The Harlem International Film Festival (New York City / May 18, 2019)

Save the Date: Pono Art Gallery

Pono is excited to announce that this year's fundraising event is an Art Gallery! Pono's Art Gallery will feature a variety of art works created by all students throughout the school year. Do not miss a chance to take a masterpiece home!

This event will feature displays of artworks by every child, a choir performance, and delicious food.


Date: August 25th, 2018

Time: 3-5pm


RIE Inspired Classes at Pono!

Pono is now hosting RIE inspired classes for babies and toddlers between 6 months and 36 months of age.

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Are you STRUGGLING with setting BOUNDARIES with your toddler? Or
are NIGHTS CHALLENGING for you and your infant?

JOIN Gentle Parenting Class to find some of the answers to your daily struggles!

In a safe environment, you will learn how to:
- BE
the leader in your child’s eyes
- GIVE your child what they need

RIE Inspired Parent-Child Classes are based on Magda Gerber’s approach and methodology.
RIE (pronounced “wry”) is a parenting philosophy based on TRUST and RESPECT.
When applied diligently, it leads to self-confident, self-initiating, creative and active little learners. 
Parents gain confidence, build trust and find tools that make their daily lives easier.

RIE inspired Parent-Child Classes are starting on Saturday, November 11th at Pono and will run in 4-week series.

Three “age” groups available:
1) Babies sitting independently, crawling, or/and cruising (approximately 6 -13 months old)
*** SATURDAYS 12:30PM - 1:45PM ***
2) Toddlers walking independently (approximately 14 - 24 months old) 
*** SATURDAYS 10:45AM - 12:15PM ***
2) Older toddlers in "mine" stage (approximately 24 - 36 months old) 
*** SATURDAYS 9:00AM - 10:30AM ***

You can join along the way if you miss the 1st class for the rest of the series (11/18, 12/2 & 12/9) availability permitting.


Classes are taught by Kasia Sanvee.
RIE mom. RIE educarer. Certified in RIE Foundations.

Kids’ Protest on November 17th

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As an expression of their interest in politics and positive social change, the older Pono children are planning to hold a protest on November 17th at 3:30pm, at the Frederick Douglass Circle on 110th Street and Central Park North. All children and families are welcome to join the protest. Please feel free to share the attached flyer on social media.

For almost a year now, the older children have been working on a project to learn their peers’ thoughts, hopes, and concerns about the current presidency. They created a survey, which has been taken by more than 400 third and fourth graders in Harlem. The Pono students analyzed the data and presented the results at the AERO conference this past August. Last week they spoke about their project to students at Thurgood Marshall Lower Academy, one of the schools that participated in the survey. The Pono students are also planning to publish the results of the survey.

Pono at Harlem Harvest Festival: Meet the Earthsavers! Get Free Daffodils!


Pono is pleased to participate in the Harlem Harvest Festival this Saturday, October 7th, from 11:00am–4pm. The event is on St. Nicholas Avenue, between 117th and 118th Streets.

Meet our Earthsavers, who will be selling copies of their comic book! And pick up free daffodil bulbs as part of The Daffodil Project!

We look forward to celebrating the fall season with our Harlem friends and neighbors.


Arabic At Pono


Arabic at Pono is an after-school language program that introduces children ages 6 to 10 years old to the Arabic language through multisensory, culturally rich, and interactive real-life scenarios. This class teaches reading and writing and is based on a tested curriculum that sequentially builds on students' literacy skills. Children at various levels of oral and written Arabic knowledge are encouraged to join.

This class is offered four terms a year (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer). Registration is now open for the Fall 2017 term.

Days: Every Tuesday and Friday from October 3rd to December 12th, 2017 (Except November 24, 2017). There are 20 classes in the Fall 2017 term.

Hours: 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Location: Pono. 2002 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10035.

Fee: $762

To sign up, please contact us at by September 15, 2017. Application and full payment are due by September 22, 2017.

For inquiries, please submit the form below:

Name *

Respecting Babies: Talk And Workshop With Ruth Anne Hammond


Join us at Pono on Tuesday, September 5th, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm for Ruth Anne Hammond's talk and workshop! 

Ruth Anne Hammond, Early Childhood Consultant and RIE®Mentor, will talk about the importance of emotional support and secure attachments for young children. She will discuss what "Developmental Education" is for the early years and why sensitive care and free play are more important than academics.

About Ruth Anne Hammond

Ruth Anne Hammond, M.A., is the author of Respecting Babies: A New Look at Magda Gerber's RIE Approach (Zero to Three) and numerous other articles and chapters. Currently an Early Childhood consultant and RIE® Mentor in the US and abroad. She studied under and worked with its founder, Magda Gerber, for many years, and has served on RIE’s Board of Directors since 1998 (President 2005-2011). She was faculty at Pacific Oaks College & Children's School for almost two decades. A lifelong learner, Ms. Hammond participates in a study group on interpersonal neurobiology with renowned psychologist and researcher, Dr. Allan N. Schore, of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. She and her husband have two grown children, who were the RIE® babies that started her career in the early childhood field.

Note: If absolutely necessary, children can accompany their parents. No child supervision is offered by Pono for this event. If a child needs to move or make noise, the parent will be asked to accompany the child to the adjacent room.

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Pono's 2017 Auction

Pono's auction offers a variety of items and services generously donated by parents, staff, and businesses. The fundraised money will go towards supporting Pono's educational programs.

We'll be live from August 11th to August 26th! 

Fire Rooster Print by Bek M. 

Fire Rooster Print by Bek M. 

   Two 1-hour massages for a couple at their home


Two 1-hour massages for a couple at their home

Stage Projection and Non-Verbal Acting with Haruka M. 

Stage Projection and Non-Verbal Acting with Haruka M. 

Individual or Family Photoshoot w/ Adeet D. 

Individual or Family Photoshoot w/ Adeet D. 

Drawing by Heather Anne H. 

Drawing by Heather Anne H. 

IMUSA Cookware Set

IMUSA Cookware Set

Tarot Reading w/ Eric S. 

Tarot Reading w/ Eric S. 

Dinner for Two at ROKC

Dinner for Two at ROKC

...and much more!

The Earthsavers Fundraiser

Pono is happy to announce that after two years of hard work, The Earthsavers, an exhilarating and heart-touching comic book created by our students, is finally here! 

The Earthsavers is a seven-chapter comic book written and illustrated by students ages 7 to 10. The book is about five superheroes, each based on actual children, that must work together to save the Earth from volcanic eruptions and earthquakes caused by drilling companies. 

The Earthsavers is an inspiring, funny, and creative story that motivates people to work with their communities. The project has an emphasis on celebrating individuality while also highlighting the power of working as a group. This book encourages people to see children as creative and innovative artists, whose voices are important. Most of all, it encourages the readers to reach out to those around them in their most difficult and lonely times. 

Now, the Earthsavers are in need of your help! With your donation, we will be able to publish this fantastic 75-page comic book.

  • The “Thank you, I’m so moooooved” package: Donations of $25 will receive a hand-written thank you note from an Earthsaver.
  • The "Phoof" package: Donations of $60 will receive the above along with an online shout-out on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
  • The "What Can it Be?" package: Donations of $125 receive all the above and a CD with the soundtrack of the musical’s original songs.
  • The "Will you Help?" package:Donations of $175 will receive all the above along with a copy of the comic book.
  • The "We Succeed" package: Donations of $250 will receive all the above along with an original page of the comic book signed by the Earthsavers.
  • The "This is it!" package: Donations of $500 will receive all the above along with a Pono t-shirt signed by the Earthsavers.

Pono's Double Bill:


Saturday, August 26th from 3pm to 5pm. 

Join us on August 26th at 3pm for Pono's original concert and musical!




"I Left My Shoes On the Dance Floor," a concert of original songs written by Pono singers/songwriters! With performances by Zoë Deshmukh and Halina Avery-Stead. "Put on your sparkliest high heels and purple lipstick" and enjoy the show! 


It is the year 3015, and the Earth has a terrible problem:

Gas companies have been drilling into the planet recklessly and the Earth is experiencing seismic activity of epic proportions, threatening human and animal habitats and the planet’s very existence!


They are a team of superheroes who, with team work, a few happy accidents, and a pinch of pixie dust, just may save the planet from peril... or not... it is a dramedy after all. Will the Earthsaver’s get to the bottom of this bungle and save the Earth? Will humans learn how to live in harmony with the planet? Will there ever be another show like this?

You’ll have to come see for yourself!

Pono Presents at the AERO Conference at Long Island University!

We are looking forward to Pono's involvement at this year's AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization) conference at Long Island University on August 4th. Maysaa and seven of the Pono children will present at the conference. To learn more about about the conference, please visit

The following description of Pono's presentation is on the AERO site: 

"Learning Journeys – Pono Faculty and Students What can a learning journey look like in the context of a democratic school? Members of Pono, a democratic outdoor school in Harlem, New York City, will present the different stages of a learning journey they have embarked on and explain the elements and structure that support and foster such real-world leaning journeys. Halina Avery-Stead (student, age 6); Dr. Maysaa Bazna (founder and director); Zoë Deshmukh (student, age 7); Sulaf Hatab (student, age 9); Towa Mikami (student, age 9); Aureliano Ruiz (student, age 9); Jasper Stoneberg (student, age 10); and Willa Sullivan (student, age 8)."


The Moving Child: Screening, Talk, And Dance Class

Tue, May 23, 2017; 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

"The Moving Child shows how to nurture healthier and more compassionate people."

-Raffi Cavoukian, C.M., O.B.C., Center for Child Honouring

"The Moving Child is an inspiring reminder of movement's foundational value in full human development. Healing, welcoming, celebrating, growing--we can connect and create new possibilities at any time, as this glorious video will unveil for you."

-Kathlyn Hendricks, Ph.D., Dance/Movement therapist, The Foundation for Conscious Living

Pono is proud to host a screening of the recently released innovative film by Hana Kamea Kemble, The Moving Child: Supporting Early Development through Movement. This educational documentary draws from diverse expertise in Child Development and Movement, featuring experts in Dance/Movement Therapy, Attachment Psychology, NeuroPhysiology, Psychiatry, Education, Physical and Occupational Therapy and Body-Mind Centering. The film explores dynamic movement's important role in a child's physical, mental, emotional and social health and shows how awareness of movement from the get-go can support healthy family bonding and positively shape how a child grows. The Moving Child also shares practical ideas for supporting and engaging movement with children. For screening preview, visit The Moving Child.


Dr. Martha Eddy, Developmental Movement Therapist and director of the Center for Kinesthetic Education, who appears in the film, will be on-site to discuss how children's early motor development impacts physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development. She is an expert in working with children and adults learning styles and challenges through movement activities. She has developed EyeOpeners.

Martha will lead a BodyMind Dancing class at 7:30 pm. Developed by Dr. Martha Eddy, BodyMind Dancing® is an easygoing and pleasurable follow-along movement class, during which you learn about your body, strengthen body connections and creatively get your yayas out. Come to exercise or to heal an injury. Special rate of $5 for attendees of this event (regular fee is $20 per class or $50 for three classes).

Please note that this event is composed of two separate events: Screening and Talk is from 6:00 to 7:30 pm ($10 admission), and Body-Mind Dance class is from 7:30-8:30 pm ($5 admission). Attendees can sign up for one or both of these events.

Doors open at 5:30 pm.



Read on and join the Pono children in their learning adventures! 

Come And Follow Me...

Pono parent and chef George Duran taught the older children how to make meatballs. They measured and mixed all of the ingredients and watched in anticipation as George cooked the meatballs in a marinara sauce. No one was disappointed with the results!


This week the older Pono children and Dr. A studied scale and the physics of suspension bridges. Then they put their engineering knowledge to work to design their own bridges.


Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

The Pono friends practiced the math skills they worked on last week with Maysaa. The younger children enjoyed math games that reinforce counting and number recognition. The older children continued their work in various topics, including subtraction, multiplication, place value, equivalence, and algebra.


Our younger Pono friends learned about the forces that form rocks and then simulated the process of rock formation. The children experimented with crayon "rocks" and used pressure and heat to create examples of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. Madelyn assisted with the hammer! 


The Pono friends had many opportunities to explore the wonderful world of words this week. Julietta met with her literacy groups, and the children also enjoyed time reading independently and with friends.


This week the younger children used their sleuthing skills to solve mysteries. Madelyn had written clues in invisible ink, which the children decoded with watercolors. The clues led the children throughout the Pono space and finally out to Marcus Garvey Park. At the end of the lesson the children made their own clues and guided their friends to solve them.



Here We Go, Pono, Here We Go...

We started our week with a trip to the American Museum of Natural History. The children visited the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems, where they had the opportunity to handle minerals such as mica, which they learned is used in oven doors. Pono friends also visited other halls in the museum, where they learned about a variety of topics, including dinosaurs, primates, and cultures around the world.


On Thursday we participated in Randall’s Island Urban Farm’s Annual Rice Festival. The Pono friends traveled to the event in comfort on a bus provided by the NYC Parks Department! Nick Storrs and EunYoung Sebazco explained different types of rice and then invited the children to thresh, hull, and winnow rice plants that had been harvested at the Urban Farm. The children took turns on a bicycle-powered rice huller and especially enjoyed tossing rice in winnowing baskets to separate the grain from the chaff. Everyone was hungry after all that work, but first we had to help make lunch! We mixed up a tasty brown rice salad full of veggies and then made onigiri, or Japanese rice balls, filled with pickled plums. A special treat was in store for dessert. We watched as a chef pounded rice with a large mallet and EunYoung quickly turned the rice in a traditional mortar on loan from the Japanese General Consulate. They kept a steady rhythm and the result was delicious mochi! We now have a greater appreciation of rice and the work involved in bringing it to our tables.


This week we headed to the Center for Book Arts, an organization that preserves the traditional art of making books. Our host, Michael Reid, showed us letterpress blocks and explained how they are used in a printing press. Michael also taught us how to make pop-up books and accordion books. The children enjoyed using tools of the trade, including bone folders, to make their own books. The finished results are beautiful examples of books as objects of art!


After our bookmaking trip, we headed to Hobo Audio to learn about sound engineering. Max Holland, a senior sound designer and audio engineer, explained the work he does. The children especially enjoyed learning how different sounds are added to a commercial and how those sounds are made. Max even invited us each to have a turn singing in the recording studio!


Mentorship Fridays...

Our songwriting group met with singer and musician Ali Dineen to continue fine-tuning their compositions. The Pono comic book team and artist Bek Millhouse put the finishing touches on their super heroes. The Pono space is a true incubator of creativity and hard work!




The Pono newsletter gives you the opportunity to be part of the students' exploration and discovery. What did we do this week? Read on!

Come And Follow Me...

"Where do geologists like to relax? In a rocking chair!" Young Pono friend Jasper opened his geology lesson with a joke, but then got serious about teaching us about rocks and minerals! He brought in a variety of examples, including a Herkimer diamond and Iceland spar, and explained their unique properties. Jasper also taught us about the Mohs scale of mineral hardness and invited everyone to test the samples he had brought in. It was a very informative and interactive really rocked!


Artist and illustrator Bek Millhouse met with the older children, who refined their medieval lettering designs. They learned the difference between serif and sans-serif lettering, realizing the one is very old and the other modern. The students also discovered that each of their letters tells a personal narrative. They're looking forward to the application of color and gold ink in the coming session. 


Our Pono engineers had a lesson with Dr. A about tension and compression. The older children worked together to design and test paper spans, or simple bridges. 


Pono parent Heather Stewart shared her expertise during a makeup class for the older children. The children sketched designs on templates and then Heather demonstrated a different makeup application on each child. Then it was time for the children to try their hand with the different tools and makeup Heather provided. By the end of the lesson, the children had undergone dramatic transformations! Keep an eye out for some of these looks on Halloween!


Bek Millhouse brought the designs the younger children had created in their previous class on frottage and showed them how to use their artwork to create winged creatures. The children cut, taped, and made a variety of birds and butterflies with colorful textures. 


This week the younger children explored the world of insects with Dr. A and examined her extensive collection of insect specimens. Science lessons at Pono are always hands-on!


Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

This week in math, the youngest children practiced writing numbers and played more games with Maysaa that required counting to twenty. The intermediate group added tens, hundreds, and thousands, and played a game that had them find the doubles of numbers one through ten.

Our other math groups had the opportunity to practice and reinforce the mathematical concepts from last week: counting by twos, fives, and tens in the context of shoes and beads; solving and writing their own algebra problems; working on generalization of subtraction as removal, as difference, and as used to find missing addends and subtrahends in the context of ages and timelines; and working on place value, regrouping, equivalence, and how to record inventory in the context of a T-shirt factory.


Madelyn taught the younger children about animal tracks. They made their own tracks by molding play dough to form prints for various animals, including deer, squirrels, rabbits, dogs, mice, rats, opossums, and raccoons. They'll be ready to identify any tracks they spot on our next nature walk!


Our young Pono friends measured and mixed ingredients for trail mix to take on their camping trip. They would needs lots of energy for their expedition and this tasty and nutritious snack was a great energy booster!


Let's go camping! Our young Pono friends helped Madelyn and Kate pitch a tent in Marcus Garvey Park and then Madelyn showed the children her camping gear. They learned why they would need a sleeping bag, flashlight, poncho, first-aid kit, mess kit, and a compass on a camping expedition. The children then enjoyed sharing stories and eating their trail mix around a "campfire." They had such a good time they asked if they could spend the whole day in the tent!


Our young Pono friends enjoy creative movement in the Pono space, as well as time for quiet exploration. 


It was a rich week in literacy with Julietta!

Our youngest literacy group explored a new pattern book in which the sight words got and on were repeated. They played word detectives with those words and used letter manipulatives to practice writing the sentence A _______ got on, choosing their own word to fill in the blank.

Our mixed-age group learned about consonant blends and digraphs. They used magnetic tiles, dry erase boards, and finger tapping to practice hearing and writing them.

Some of our older students had a word hunt using the words eat, please, and funny and other members of the -eat, -ease, and short vowel + double consonant + y spelling families. Others enjoyed more book club time.

All of the older children spent time on word stress, suffixes, doubling consonants, spelling shifts for plurals, and/or new spelling families in their word study books.


Kate and the young Pono amigos talked about what they enjoy about el otoño, or autumn. Then the children painted small calabazas and turned their pumpkins into colorful works of art.


Here We Go, Pono, Here We Go...

This week the older children visited the MTA Second Avenue Subway Community Information Center and met with Dennis Tierney, the community liaison for the 96th Street Station area. Dennis answered the children's questions about NYC's transit system and explained the work being done to construct the Second Avenue subway. The children also had turns operating a subway simulator and discovered it takes a lot of skill to keep those trains running smoothly!


On Wednesday we headed to the Bronx for a workshop at the International Center of Photography at The Point. Our instructor, Alicia Clarke, explained the equipment in the darkroom, demonstrated how to mix the chemicals used in the film developing process, and then guided the children to make and develop their own photograms. The students were thrilled when they saw the images appear in the developer!


On Friday the older children took a special long field trip to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Long Island. Our guide Stephen S. talked about the history of flight, and particularly Long Island's role in aviation history and space exploration. The children learned how the Wright Brothers operated their airplane, how a plane lands on an aircraft carrier, and why the Apollo Lunar Module on display at the museum never made it to space. They especially enjoyed sitting in a Revolution Mini-500 helicopter and in the nose section of the first jet aircraft flown by El Al Airlines. They also watched the film Journey to Space, about NASA's plans for an expedition to Mars, in the museum's dome theater. And just as the journey is often as important as the destination, the children had a great time commuting on the Long Island Railroad and having dinner together at a pizzeria in Mineola!


Mentorship Fridays...

The students took their field trip to Long Island on Friday. Tune in next week for the latest updates on the Friday Focus chemistry class; the comic book team; and our resident songwriters! 




We found new ways to explore the city this week and enjoyed learning in our Pono space. Read on to learn more!

Come And Follow Me...

This week young Pono friend Zoë took us on a trip to India and taught a lesson about three important landmarks: the Taj Mahal; Fatehpur Sikri, a north Indian city built in the 16th century by Emperor Akbar; and Mani Bhavan, Gandhi's headquarters in Mumbai and where he developed satyagraha, or nonviolent civil disobedience. Zoë also shared a special souvenir, a bag printed with a photo of her great-aunt Smita Patil; several Indian musical instruments; and a small statue of Nandi, a bull important in Indian mythology. She explained the tradition of whispering a wish into its ear, and the children all took a turn confiding in Nandi!


Open up and say "Ahhh!" Dr. A taught the younger Pono friends about the tongue. She explained papillae and taste buds and guided the children to list the five main tastes. Then they put their own taste buds to work and played a sensory guessing game. Dr. A gave the children tastes of mystery ingredients and they had to identify whether each flavor was bitter, salty, sweet, sour, or umami, and try to guess the ingredient. We didn't know science could be so tasty!


Singer and musician Ali Dineen led the older children in call and response with singing and percussion. They also engaged in movement exercises and practiced breathing. We love the energy Ali and the children bring to the Pono space!


Dr. A led an engineering lesson for the older children and together they built a structure using different-colored cards. Adding to the challenge, some colors could not be bent, while others could, and some cards were not to touch cards of another color. It reached great heights before tumbling down!


Basketball coach Idrissa Gandega introduced the children to the fundamentals of the game. They practiced dribbling, handling the ball, and passing it to a partner. The New York Knicks might want to check us out!


Ali Dineen and the younger children warmed up by singing several songs and then it was time for a Pono dance party!


Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

The Pono friends continued to hone their math skills. This week the youngest children practiced writing numbers and played games that required counting to twenty. The intermediate group completed an exercise challenging them to exchange one apple for another and to consider whether they had found all possible arrangements. Another student focused on counting by twos, fives, and tens. Some of the older children continued working on algebra and others focused on the open number line as a model for subtraction. One group also started a unit that focuses on place value, regrouping, equivalence, and how to record inventory.


The younger children were thrilled this week to discover painted lady butterflies had emerged from the chrysalises they had been studying at Pono. Madelyn, Kate, and the children brought the butterflies to the 123rd Street Block Association Community Garden, where they released them. One of the butterflies landed on Pono friend Bodi before fluttering away! After watching the butterflies take flight, the friends enjoyed exploring the garden, bird watching, and eating an al fresco autumn lunch.


This week Julietta and our youngest literacy group read the I See book they had made, featuring the words I, see, and a. They also enjoyed their first word hunt, using these same words.

Some of our older students finished making their I Want book, featuring the words want, yellow, and purple. Others delved further into their book club selection, practicing making inferences and learning new vocabulary along the way. All of the older children reviewed what a research report is and read more about how to create one. They then refined their topics and generated questions that will guide their own research in the upcoming weeks.


Madelyn taught our younger Pono friends about recycling and reusing materials. She then encouraged the children to get crafty with a variety of recyclables, and they set up a maker space in Marcus Garvey Park, where they created flying machines, telescopes, and fanciful objets d'art


¿Dónde están las palabras? Kate invited the young Pono amigos to go on a word hunt this week. The children searched for vocabulary cards that labeled different parts of the body and then practiced pronouncing the terms.


Pono parent and yoga instructor Eric Stoneberg joined the children in Marcus Garvey Park and encouraged them to find their natural stance, stay balanced, and engage in mindful meditation. 


Here We Go, Pono, Here We Go...

This week we headed to Marcus Garvey Park for a very special visit from the FDNY. We met with firefighters and EMTs who explained the important work they do, answered the children's questions, and invited them to sit in an ambulance and a fire engine. Siren, the FDNY's official life safety mascot, greeted the children and they all left with a fire hat and activity book. Thank you to Lieutenant Arlene Simmons for arranging this event!


On Wednesday we boarded the ferry to Governors Island for a visit to the New York Harbor School. We met with Robina Taliaferrow, the education outreach coordinator for the Billion Oyster Project. She explained how students from the school are working to restore one billion oysters to New York Harbor to help filter the water and contribute to the health of the estuary. Robina gave us a tour of the school and later took us to the pier, where she lowered a fish trap into the water and then let the children have a closeup look at the creatures she'd caught, before returning them to the harbor. Later we visited an oyster shell recycling station, where shells donated from NYC restaurants are used as part of the oyster repopulation program. The children also enjoyed operating a bridge simulator, which trains students for operating boats in various maritime conditions. It was a great visit, and we especially enjoyed our commute! 


Mentorship Fridays...

Dr. A returned to Pono to teach the Friday Focus chemistry class. The children studied the periodic table and found elements that have the same letters as their names. Dr. A also showed them substances that contain basic elements, as they began planning for their interactive periodic table project.


This week our songwriting team worked on lyrics with MiAmor Aguirresaenz. Some very catchy tunes can be heard in the Pono space on Fridays!

And now for an update from Julietta on the Friday comic book team: Citizens of Pono, I never imagined this was possible, but this week our Earth Savers were even more heroic. Right-handed Pono friend Roly turned up the heroism several notches by writing and drawing with this LEFT hand! Did he let broken bones stop him? He did not! He rose to the occasion aided by his bravery, flexible attitude, and loyal teammates.


Pono Says Hello...

We hosted an information session on Friday for prospective families. It's always a pleasure to welcome members of the community to Pono!




Read on to find out why we're excited about our fall term at Pono!

Come And Follow Me...

The sound of the singing bowl and the scent of rose water signaled the start of another class with dancer Sayoko Lale Williams. Sayoko led the older students in fluid, creative movements. The children especially enjoyed dancing as "ocean spirits" under a billowing blue scarf.


Artist and illustrator Bek Millhouse spoke to the younger children about texture. After a demonstration, the children used crayons to rub over objects they placed underneath paper to create patches of texture, a technique called frottage. The children used items Bek had brought in and also delighted in capturing textures they found in the Pono space. 


Pono parent and yoga instructor Eric Stoneberg led the children in meditative practice in Marcus Garvey Park. He encouraged them to walk slowly and mindfully through the park and to focus on their movements. 


Dr. A and the younger children put on their science hats and examined a dried sunflower. They described the parts of the flower and discussed why some seeds were larger than others. The older children also enjoyed seeing this specimen before continuing their physics study of gravity, inertia, and force.


This week Bek Millhouse and the older children studied examples from art history of illustrated hand lettering. Bek invited the students to select a letter and fill it with designs. She demonstrated a quick design process from thumbnail sketches to a more refined and larger "working rough." The children used pencils and markers to generate these initial designs, prior to painting. 


Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

Madelyn and our littlest Pono friends put the finishing touches on their birdhouses and made bird feeders with pinecones, peanut butter, and chia and sunflower seeds. The children sampled the ingredients, so they're confident the birds will approve! They hung their creations in Marcus Garvey Park; we're sure our local feathered friends will enjoy their colorful new homes and tasty snacks!



The younger children and Madelyn germinated seeds for planting later in the term. They filled an egg carton with soil, and planted and watered their seeds. They also decorated containers they'll use when their plants are ready for a bigger space. Beautiful things are growing at Pono!


This week in math with Maysaa our youngest Pono friends played with connecting links as they practiced counting to twenty. The middle group worked on the concept of equivalence and hierarchical inclusion within the context of selling boxes of apples. Our oldest students continued to lay the groundwork for learning algebra, as they analyzed equations and solved for unknowns. 


Madelyn and the younger children examined different types of seeds and then headed to Marcus Garvey Park to collect acorns and double samaras, or "whirligigs." They used these treasures to make whimsical designs on construction paper.


This week in literacy with Julietta, our youngest group applied their word identification and new punctuation skills to write their own I See book. Come read it with us next week!

Some of our older students created a tricky I Want book, featuring the words want, yellow, and purple. They also played various sensory games with digraphs. Other students enjoyed starting their latest book club title, Charlotte's Web. They all reviewed and learned more about when to double consonants before vowel suffixes and had the chance to apply this and other spelling information in their word study books.


Kate and the young Pono amigos reviewed vocabulary for parts of the body en español and learned new terms as they played several rousing games of Bingo!


Our Pono pets, Emma and Tiddles, receive lots of attention and care from the children!


Here We Go, Pono, Here We Go...

This week we celebrated young Pono friend Roly's birthday with a trip to Cornerstone Pottery, a ceramics studio cooperative in Washington Heights. Instructor Kateh Esmaeli led the children in a hand building class and encouraged them to make creatures, real or imaginary, that hatch from eggs. The children's creativity quickly took shape, and they applied colorful glazes to their designs. Kateh will fire the students' work in the kiln…we look forward to seeing their finished creations!


After our trip to Cornerstone Pottery, we had time to explore the Hudson Heights neighborhood of Washington Heights and beautiful Fort Tryon Park. We strolled through the Heather Garden, making sure to stop and smell the roses, enjoyed magnificent views of the Hudson River, stopped for a photo op at artist Matthias Neumann's bench V (basics), and played in Jacob K. Javits Playground. A perfect autumn afternoon!


Mentorship Fridays...

The Friday Focus group had a chemistry lesson with Dr. Sandy Chen and tested chlorophyll from various colored leaves. They mixed solutions with ethyl alcohol and leaves to make samples to test on chromatography paper (coffee filters). The students determined what color the chlorophyll absorbs and its Rƒ value, or the distance traveled by the pigment relative to the solvent, and studied the chemical formations of the different chlorophyll strands.


Our songwriting group met with singer and musician Ali Dineen, while the comic book group reviewed their drawings with artist and illustrator Bek Millhouse. Pono is an incubator for creativity and focused study!


Pono Says Hello...

This week Pono held its committee and community meetings. The most exciting item on the agenda: the upcoming launch of the Pono documentary! Stay tuned!




Welcome to the start of our fall term! 

Come And Follow Me...

Cindy Marchionda from New York Therapy Animals returned to Pono with her dog Sofia, a friendly English golden cream retriever. We always have a "pawsitively" wonderful time with Sofia!


Singer-songwriter Rhonda Ross shared her talents with the older Pono children and talked about her songwriting process. She and the children then composed their own song about Pono! Rhonda ended the lesson by playing a recording of her song "Nobody's Business" and explained the inspiration behind her lyrics "Ain't nobody's job to make you happy/Nobody's job to pull you through/Ain't nobody born to give you sunshine/That light's inside of you." Rhonda left the children feeling confident of the light that shines inside of them!