Feb 5, 2016

Po-maikaʻi Elementary School, located in the Maui Lani subdivision in Kahului, opened its doors in 2007 with the vision to educate the whole child by connecting academics with their Arts Integration curriculum. Based on years of research, Po-maikaʻi believes that actively engaging children through the arts requires critical thinking skills, creative problem solving and collaboration to challenge learners at all levels.
“We dreamed of an education where students learned with their whole bodies, activating all parts of their brain and embracing their hearts as they connect
with each other and the curriculum,” said Principal Bernice Takahata. “Students are challenged daily to think critically as they use drama, dance, visual arts, music and creative writing across the Common Core Standards curricula. We are now integrating a strong science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) program,” she added. 
STEAM education integrates the study of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics by using scientific inquiry and engineering design as unifying processes. STEAM education incorporates the ‘A’ for the arts, recognizing that to be successful in technical fields, individuals must also be creative and use critical thinking and collaboration skills through student-focused, rigorous, relevant and authentic learning. “This past September, several of our teachers were fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in Maui Economic Development Board’s (MEDB) Women In Technology Island Energy Inquiry (IEI) Professional Development Workshop,” said Takahata. “The IEI program, in partnership with the Ka Hei program, provided our teachers with training, materials and hands-on experiences that will allow them to effectively implement science in the art-integrated curriculum in the classroom. In fact, the work with MEDB has enriched the work we are doing in STEAM.”
Po-maikaʻi, in their partnership with the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, enriches the innovative learning of their students through connections to teaching artists from the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC, as well as local arts alliances. “Our highly-qualified teachers and staff work hard to present rigorous curricula to promote student achievement and success,” Takahata added. “We strive to develop the whole child in the areas of academic mindsets, learning strategies and social skills.”