Improve, Enlighten, Inspire: Hawaii Parent’s Guide to Enrichment Lessons

illustration of children performing various enrichment activities

Enrichment programs are classes and activities that take place after the afternoon school bell has rung. These programs are designed to offer each child a fulfilling childhood experience whether it be classes in horseback riding, dance, volleyball, swimming, modeling or tutoring to complement academic learning.

Many of our most cherished childhood memories occur during these experiences. Children may find their hobbies or even careers through enrichment activities. Exposure to music may ignite a lifelong passion for piano, or taking a workshop on marine life could excite a future marine biologist.

In addition to learning about and acquiring new interests, children will have the chance to obtain skills that will benefit them in the classroom and throughout their lives. Enrichment programs provide a goal-setting environment. Children will learn that something worth having comes from hard work, dedication and perseverance. They will learn to be patient as they improve and will eventually celebrate their accomplishments. Knowing that they worked for their successes instead of receiving instant gratification will boost their confidence. Through enrichment programs, children will achieve more than they ever thought possible, and they will have fun doing it!

After-School Care

After-school enrichment opportunities are perfect for families with two working parents. After-school programs provide a few extra hours of supervised, organized activity.

These programs offer a host of activities for students. Activities vary depending on location, but many involve sports, homework time, arts and crafts, dance and swim classes. It also gives students a time to socialize and have fun while they are still learning. Instead of coming home to an empty house, children will be able to participate in meaningful activities, and you will have peace of mind knowing that they are being taken care of and being productive.


With Hawaii’s temperate climate year round, many families choose to enroll their child in a sport, especially outdoor sports. Sports are a great choice because they not only teach children about the game, but they emphasize discipline and hard work. Keep an open mind when trying to pinpoint which sport to choose. Maybe your child likes the competitive, team atmosphere that volleyball delivers, or maybe she prefers an individual, non-competitive sport like swimming lessons. She can master her swimming skills and not feel the pressure of having to compete against fellow swimmers.

Emphasis on positive physical health is another bonus that athletics offers. Children probably won’t even realize it, but while they are having fun, you will find comfort in the fact that your child is developing strength, agility, stamina and flexibility. Many coaches also urge children to make healthy food choices, which will lead to a healthy lifestyle beyond the childhood years.

The Arts

Some children gravitate towards the arts. Common activities include playing an instrument, singing, dance, theater and visual arts.

Music stimulates parts of the brain associated with reading, math and emotional development. When embarking on musical endeavors, children must visualize elements coming together like keys, patterns, themes and scales. This ability has been proven to translate to problem solving, which can be used in mathematics. Children must also learn what it means to be a multitasker when it comes to music. Musicians must learn to control the fine motor skills needed for their instruments, control their breath and read and process music while keeping time.

Dance is a great choice for children who are physical and musical as dance embodies the successful marriage between technique and musicality. Dancers acquire flexibility, strength, discipline and spatial and body awareness. They are given the chance to set goals and work towards those goals during classes or rehearsals. Many dance locations provide students with the opportunity to perform in front of an audience. This teaches dancers to have confidence and stage presence. Dancers will feel proud to display their accomplishments that they worked hard for.

No matter what class one takes in the arts, there is no doubt that your child will have the opportunity to get his or her creative juices flowing! There are no right or wrong answers, and creativity is encouraged.

Academic and Tutoring

There are many different reasons why tutoring may be the best enrichment choice for your child. If your child is behind in a certain subject, remedial help might be just the thing to get him back on track with the rest of the class. This is important because in addition to the consequences bad grades bring, students can also take a blow to their confidence if they realize they do not have the ability to keep up with the class. This may start to affect other areas of their lives. Tutoring plans can be customized to fit exactly what your child needs. Other students might be above grade level and need a challenge while some may need preparation for standardized tests.

Tutoring offers a variety of benefits. Perhaps your child’s learning style is different than that of his peers, or maybe his teacher moves through content at a pace that leads to misunderstanding. Whatever the case is, tutors work one-on-one or in small groups to ensure that each student understands the material. Tutoring also relieves any friction that may arise between parent and child. Also, tutoring offers a fun and exciting environment, so students will have a positive association with learning.

Instead of the typical reading and math tutoring, consider a foreign language for your child. Many schools offer foreign languages during the intermediate years, but studies show that early exposure to language leads to easier acquisition and a more native-like pronunciation. Foreign language centers focus on activities that make learning a new language fun.

Choosing the Right Activity

When choosing an activity, do not assume that your love of basketball will automatically be passed on to your child. She might be more interested in gymnastics or karate. Keep an open mind, and if your child shows a lack of interest or even displays feelings of anger, anxiety or sadness, do not force her to stay in the class.

Instead, dabble in a few types of enrichment activities to see which one your child likes best. Maybe he enjoys the flexibility of after-school programs since they typically offer a range of activities instead of focusing on one. Perhaps your child would prefer the creative nature of an instrument to the competitive atmosphere that soccer offers. Keep the lines of communication open, and ask your child what he enjoys about each activity.

With such a wide range of enrichment opportunities offered in Hawaii, there is sure to be an area that sparks his interest. Enrichment classes become part of our identities as we grow older, so greatly consider which to choose. Even if the type of activity does not blossom into a lifelong passion, you will be glad to know that your child took away many skills that will aid him throughout his life. As long as your child is having fun and has a smile on his face at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

The following are profiles of various locations around Oahu that offer enrichment services. They are devoted to making a difference in the lives of Hawaii’s children.

Ballet Hawaii

illustration of young female ballerinaWith locations in Honolulu and Waikele, Ballet Hawaii offers dance classes for keiki starting at age three and adult classes. Our programs focus on building self-confidence through accomplishment and the opportunity to perform in our presentations, including the annual Nutcracker. Ballet Hawaii, a local nonprofit organization, has been enriching Hawaii’s cultural environment by teaching, promoting, presenting and producing dance since 1976. For more information contact, 521-8600, or visit


Spend quality time with your little ones this fall while giving them the opportunity to learn and socialize in the online Gymboree Play and Music classes at Pearlridge. As the worldwide leader in early childhood education, Gymboree offers classes for a variety of age groups from newborns to five-year-olds. Their most popular “Play and Learn” classes encourage development through play and learning that supports children’s growth at their own individual pace and involves problem-solving games, storytelling and play-based activities to stretch the body and mind. Classes in School Skills and Sports are available for three to five-year-olds. Check out the website, for the class schedules.

Hawaii Academy

Hawaii Academy is a private school for the advancement of lifetime fitness, gymnastics and human sciences for all ages and abilities. Trampoline-tumbling gymnastics, gymnastics for ninjas, and fitness classes are the largest programs in this 2,600-student school. Movement education for children one through five years old starts the youngest of learners on the road to lifelong wellness. There are also classes for children (ages 6 – 12), teens (13 – 18), adults (19 – 49), and elders/kupuna (50 – 100+). Activities offered include trampoline (flipping and twisting), gymnastics, tumbling, acrobatics/cirque, ninja/obstacles, fitness, and movement education. All classes are coeducational and we have curricula for all ages (1-100+) and all abilities (special needs to world-level gymnasts). For more information, please contact the Honolulu Office at 842-5642, the Pearl Harbor Office at 422-2223, the Waipahu Office at 676-2222, or view our website at


At HouseMart Ben Franklin Crafts, we know kids love crafting! It’s so much fun to watch them explore the world of arts and crafts and learn different skills.   Ben Franklin Crafts is Hawaii’s destination for craft supplies with locations in Honolulu, Kailua and Pearl City. Along with an assortment of craft supplies, they offer a wide variety of craft classes for both keiki and adults.

In addition, HouseMart Ben Franklin Crafts is also out in the community a lot with our fun crafting projects. Look for us around the island at different events like craft fairs, in the public libraries and your kids’ schools, too. Come say “Hi!” and make a craft with us!

As we get closer to the Holidays, be sure to visit our stores to see all the fun things you and your kids can make together. Crafting is a great way to make your own Holiday memories that will last a lifetime!

For more information, visit or call: Enchanted Lake (261-4621), Market City (735-4211), Pearl City (455-1909) and Mapunapuna (833-3800).

Kids City

Kid’s City is Hawaii’s first luxury indoor play space for keiki. Check out their innovative play sections for children 7 months to 13 years old, located at Ward Village in Honolulu or at their brand new location at Ka Makana Ali’i in Kapolei. Kids will jump for joy on the air castle, in the ball pool and pretend play stations, explore the jungle gym, magnetic wall, LEGO wall, toddler room, and state-of-the-art augmented reality interactive drawing spaces. Ask them about hosting special occasions like birthdays & field trips! For more information, visit

Leahi Swim School

Leahi Swim School has been successfully teaching Hawai‘i to swim for 49 years. They offer programs for students of all ages (from 6 months to adults), including both group and private lessons. At Leahi, their focus is quality instruction. That’s why the classes are small, with many offering a 5-to-2 student-to-teacher ratio. Additionally, instructors are extensively trained and certified lifeguards. Lessons are available in Honolulu at the former Saint Francis School or in Pearl City at the Momilani Community Center. For more information, give them a call at 808-234-SWIM (7946), or visit their website

Pas de Deux Hawaii

Pas de Deux Hawaii is a performing arts school located behind Costco in Waipio. The school opened in 2010 by owners, Wendy and Jeremy Gilbert. At Pas De Deux, the owners, directors, teachers and staff are all about Love, Passion and Commitment to preserving dance culture and the performing arts in our local community by helping young performers achieve the highest level of performance skill in their desired genre of Dance, Music or Theatre. PDD offers dance classes in Creative Movement, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Tap, Hip Hop, Breakdancing, Tahitian, Hula, Musical Theatre and private Voice lessons. Register at and call at 671-0350 to book a FREE trial!

Keiki O Ka `Aina

The Mission of Keiki O Ka `Āina Family Learning Centers (KOKA-FLC) is to Educate Children, Strengthen Families, Enrich Communities and Perpetuate Culture. This is reflected in their curriculum and programs offered to both keiki and their parents along with Native Hawaiian enrichment activities.

The Hawaiian culture, its language, traditions and values, holds the unique identity of the people. By participating in the activities of the culture, the community maintains its distinctive character and personality. Being shared amongst various members of a community, the culture is learned and passed on from the older generations to the newer ones, thereby keeping the culture alive and fresh. According to tradition, the kalo and ‘āina are the older siblings and the Hawaiian people are the younger siblings. It is up to the people to care for and to respect the kalo and ‘āina. Should the people follow and care for the kalo and ‘āina, it will in turn provide food, shelter, and all necessary things needed for life. Keiki O Ka `Āina infuses the Hawaiian culture into all its programs, and several offer an extremely strong cultural connection.

Visit for more info.

Quicksets Volleyball Club

Quicksets Volleyball Club offers an encouraging, nurturing environment for your child to learn and build their volleyball skills while also making new friends. Our program is open to boys and girls ages 5-18 years old. Coaches seek to build character and self-awareness in their players by challenging them to believe in their strengths, provide opportunities of hope and be mindful of others through the game of volleyball. Scholarship opportunities are available on the website. Individual and Summer programs are currently being offered. For more information, contact Club Director Sheri Sagayaga at or visit

Rainbow Art Studio

Getting an early start in the arts can make a real difference in the lives of children. With encouragement and guidance, Rainbow Art Studio Hawaii provides hands-on instructions for children of all ages. They have designed fun and educational curriculum to inspire every child to reach their creative potential. At Rainbow Art Studio Hawaii, children will learn the fundamentals of art while experimenting with various media and discovering the techniques of great artists. Rainbow Art students will not only build motor skills but also develop confidence, creativity and art appreciation. For more information, visit, email or call 808-497-5718.

Royal Academy of Ballet

Royal Academy of Ballet, voted 2011 Best of Honolulu Dance School, is the only Royal Academy of Dance certified school in Hawaii. The worldwide recognized ballet program offers structured ballet classes for children as young as two. Classes at the Royal Academy of Ballet provide technical training, rhythm, dance notation, musicality, artistic self-expression, discipline, a nurturing environment and performance opportunities to enhance the dancers’ abilities and confidence. Royal Academy of Ballet also offers Examinations with the Royal Academy of Dance (England) which is part of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). For more information, visit or call 528-0808.

Sounds of Success Learning Center

Sounds of Success Learning Center offers after-school individual speech-language therapy services with a certified licensed speech pathologist for children ages 2-18. A speech-language pathologist can do an assessment and will determine how many sessions per week are optimal for your child. Speech and language skills are critical to academic success as the ability to communicate with peers, teachers and others in an educational setting is essential for a student’s success in school. Individual speech therapy is also offered in an all-day preschool setting for ages 2.5 to 5 through Sounds of Success Preschool.

Your preschool aged child may qualify for free speech therapy services through their after school Learning Center. They have been awarded a grant through the Oscar and Rosetta Fish Speech Therapy and Forensics Fund through Hawaii Community Foundation. Contact them for an application. For more information call 488-2211, or visit

illustration of boy being tutored by female teacher
Sylvan Learning Center

As Hawaii’s premier provider of supplemental education, Sylvan Learning of Mililani provides instruction and homework support in math, reading, writing, SSAT prep, SAT/ACT prep, study skills and college prep. Sylvan’s state-certified instructors’ personal approach helps students Stay Ahead, Keep Up or Catch Up.

Sylvan Learning is conveniently located at Mililani Town Center, next to Zippy’s with satellite locations for instruction in Waipio and Ewa. Individualized instruction is provided in a 3:1 setting with each student working on his or her completely personalized program created through a four-step approach in which they Assess, Plan, Teach and Apply. For more information, please call 808-623-0808, or visit and search for Mililani.

Thinker Toys

Thinker Toys & Things offers a full range of educational games, toys and books to stimulate children’s creativity and learning abilities. Visit Thinker Toys and Thinker Things in the Kahala Mall and prepare to be wowed by their selection of toys that promote cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development for children of all ages.

Thinker Toys, which also has a location at Ka Makana Ali‘i in Kapolei, has a full range of educational games, toys, and books to boost creativity and learning abilities in children ages 0 to 6 years old. The sister store, Thinker Things, which also has a location at Pearlridge Mall in Aiea, offers a variety of games, puzzles, kits, and gifts that stimulate thinking for the whole family – ages 8 to 88. Visit to check out all the unique toys that can help make learning fun.

Therapeutic Horsemanship of Hawaii (THH)

Therapeutic Horsemanship of Hawaii offers fun, safe and low-stress riding lessons at its beautiful facility in Waimanalo. Riders above the age of four learn to groom, tack and ride horses while building their strength and confidence. The instructors are certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) and the center is the only Premier Accredited facility in the state. They have a wide variety of horses and tack to suit any rider. For information, regulations and registration, call 808-342-9036 or visit


The United States Tennis Association Hawaii Pacific Section offers a spectrum of tennis programs for all ages and abilities. Choose from lessons, cardio tennis, flex or regular leagues, and tournaments to help you enjoy the lifetime sport of tennis with the benefits of fitness, friends and fun.

USTA features affordable group lessons at more than 25 public park sites across Oahu through its Play To Learn Tennis or Cardio/Drills programs. Make it a family sport and choose from kids, teen or adult classes. Loaner racquets and balls provided. Visit or email

illustration of teen male swimming
Wiki Wiki Swim School

Wiki Wiki Swim School is a local provider of private swim instruction at client-provided homes and community pools. The school was founded in 2014 with a mission to make learning to swim more convenient, effective, safe and consistent – especially since drowning is the second leading preventable cause of death in children under 5. The school’s patient and caring instructors have a minimum of two years experience with teaching children and most of their instructors are also certified lifeguards. All Wiki Wiki Swim School instructors are First Aid and CPR certified for both infants and adults.

After discussing your needs, Wiki Wiki Swim School will match you to your handpicked instructor who will contact you to schedule lessons. Dive in and begin reaching your swimming goals. For more information, visit or call 808-829-6500.


The YMCA of Honolulu offers an expansive variety of enrichment programs for kids. Sports programs vary by branch and may include soccer, volleyball, flag football and more. Martial arts and dance classes are available for children as young as 4 at select locations. Swim lessons are offered for children starting at 6 months of age, as well as parent/tot swim classes, preschool swim classes, and swim instruction for children aged 6-12. Children ages 6 to 18 can join the YMCA swim league and participate in competitions against other YMCA’s in Hawaii. Stop by your local branch to find out class times for a particular location, or visit

illustration of a child being taught how to use a computer by teacher
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