Testimonials

What our parents, visiting teachers, and family members of the children are saying.

Your documentary about Pono made me cry. What a wonderful school you have created! It makes me wish I still lived in New York...and that I could just come hang out with you all. And it made me wish that all children could be educated in such a way! You are opening New York City and the world to them like a big book, and you are filling their open hearts with love, joy, care and responsibility. Wow!
— Ruth Anne Hammond (RIE® Mentor™) June 15, 2017
 
I really enjoyed working with the children and was so impressed by their interest and enthusiasm.
— Susan Ryhanen (Soapmaker, Saipua, Inc.). November 17, 2016
 
From the very first day, our daughter felt safe and comfortable and smoothly transitioned from being at home with her mom to staying at Pono without her parents. We find Pono really special because it does not have a rigid structure, where kids have to fit. Children are part of the creative process; they are involved; they co-create; they participate in decision making; they have choice; they are free to explore and they truly thrive. They learn to be part of a community, and of society, in a very active way. We have quickly noticed a very positive impact of being at Pono on our daughter. She loves it: she looks forward to joining her friends and teachers every single day and comes home happy and joyful. We could not be happier to see her enjoying school so much.
— Kasia Sanvee (Parent). November 16, 2016
 
My daughter surprises me each week with the topics that have captured her imagination. She also seems so self-assured and can verbally express herself with vocabulary beyond her years, while still being a happy, playful kid who enjoys both her older and younger friends. The multi-age environment, where students’ interests steer their education, is certainly paying off for my child. And best of all - she is excited to go to Pono each day.
— Halina A. (Parent). November 15, 2016
 
Your students were wonderful!
— Robina Taliaferrow (Billion Oyster Project Education Outreach Coordinator). November 10, 2016
 
I had such a great time! The creativity of the children was impressive! I would love another visit.
— Michael Reid (Center for Book Arts). November 3, 2016
 
Your students should be proud of their generous giving during the holiday season. They seem to have also been taught the valuable lesson of giving rather than receiving. Their excitement at being able to share something that they did with others was great to see.
— T. S. (Liason at Catholic Charities - Kennedy Center). December 15, 2015
 
Giving my child the opportunity to choose on his own is invaluable. Pono gives my son his own voice at a very young age and allows him to be confident with the decisions he makes growing up.
— Celebrity Chef George Duran (Parent). August 2, 2015
 
A few weeks ago [my son], [my daughter], and I were wondering through Central Park when [my son] asked to play on the Diana Ross Playground. In the midst of our running around, I was struck by the interactions I saw between a woman and a group of kids. Julietta, the adult, was pretending to be a monster and everyone was calling for her. The group was having a blast while being respectful of each other - and [my son] - and patient, when the game needed to pause. I was struck by the care of the group, and it came as no surprise when I heard “Pono” being called to gather everyone for their walk back to school.

Pono truly stands out.
— J. P. (Parent who visited Pono). May 11, 2015
 
I enjoyed talking to the kids. Very positive learning environment.
— Prof. Gailani (Visiting teacher). February 11, 2015
 
The kids were really amazing, I was so impressed with them. I’m so glad we were able to do this!
— Alexandra Ferguson (Founder of Alexandra Ferguson pillow company). February 11, 2015
 
Learning through different tools is what keeps Pono unique and makes it the optimal experience for education!
— Mufeeda Al-Hassawi (Intern). February 9, 2015
 
I love the compassionate, caring, and reflective human being my daughter is turning out to be and I believe Pono plays a huge part in that!
— M. B. (Parent). December 29, 2014
 
As a Pono parent, I see the value of democratic education everyday. It is definitely a worthwhile cause!
— Parent. December 28, 2014
 
As a Pono parent I see first-hand the wonderful progress my daughter makes, and marvel at the huge innate potential in children that is released and realized by this kind of education.
— Tarek H. (Parent). December 27, 2014
 
Our granddaughter attends Pono, and we would like her to continue having the wonderful experiences we keep hearing about!
— Norman M. (Grandparent). December 27, 2014
 
The science we do at Pono involves content, methods and tools that most public school educated children in this city won’t encounter until they are in 8th or 9th grade. Possibly even later than that. The reality is that children can be introduced to ways of thinking scientifically and to certain science content much earlier than we think!
— Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone (Visiting teacher). November 7, 2014
 
I just wanted to thank you for coming yesterday to the Urban Farm. Both Jared and Caspar were incredibly impressed with your students’ knowledge and curiosity.
— Nick Storrs (Visiting teacher). October 9, 2014
 
My child has been at Pono since it opened and has thrived because of it. The hardest part about the school is getting him to leave at the end of the day. The space is open with tons of natural light with inviting nooks for all manner of learning experiences. I’ve always appreciated their philosophy – his learning is felt as an adventure to him – always something new to discover and unlock.

The entire staff is as open, kind and as loving as an extended family and even conflict is handled in a manner that is respectful to all, teaching life-long skills. The kids travel at least once a week which is wonderful as they get to truly take advantage of all that New York and the Tri-State area have to offer.

In the school itself, they often bring in specialists to handle any topic the kids may be curious about: Drs for Biology, Chemistry, Botany, Math; Specialists for Literacy (something that has ignited a true passion for reading in my child), and even specialists in various sport. Finally, from the absurd teacher:child ratio to the daily experiences, there is no better home for learning for my child than Pono. Very Grateful to Maysaa and her entire staff.
— M. DeLaBarre (Parent). April 21, 2014
 
Our daughter thrives in Pono’s nurturing environment where teachers listen to the children and allow them to explore their interests and discover new ones. Pono’s indoor site is a clean, safe, bright and sunny space with a variety of engaging activities, from science experiments to Legos to new books to dress-up clothes. Our daughter is also very enthusiastic about the variety of field trips she has taken, including outings to parks, museums, and even the kitchen of a master chocolatier. She can’t wait for more amazing adventures with her Pono friends!
— Katherine D. (Parent). April 21, 2014
 
Our son has been participating in this school since it opened and he truly loves it. Safe and clean environment (newly constructed) with maximum freedom for each child to choose their own activities. Lots of outdoor activities that are so essential for young children! The school is next to a beautiful huge park and the neighborhood was very safe and unexpectedly easy to commute from Midtown. It actually takes only 15 min from Times Square. Teachers are all very gentle and compassionate. We will definitely keep sending him to Pono and never even consider other places after finding this one. Highly recommended.
— Haruka (Parent). April 20, 2014
 
Our kids participated in this summer camp last year. It was a truly wonderful experience for them, with every day bringing new adventures. They learned so much, made new friends and had a fantastic time. Each child received close attention and the entire program was an inspired and inspiring place to grow. If you are looking for a kid’s camp that generates a respectful and safe environment while exploring many diverse activities in and around New York City, then we cannot recommend Pono Summer Camp more highly.
— Poppy Luca (Parent). April 10, 2014
 
My cousin comes home from Pono with these stories about what they did that afternoon, and each is more amazing than those of the previous day. She and her classmates really get along! But it’s more than just “getting along”: They all seem to have a very deep appreciation of each other. They’re like a family!
— Rania Hatab (Student's cousin). Janaury 2, 2014