Philosophy: Using state and national standards as the foundation; our teachers combine traditional learning with hands-on projects; to strengthen understanding and knowledge of subjects by making connections across disciplines.
Our teachers build dynamic lesson plans that foster excitement and interest, while nurturing critical thinking and problem solving skills. Although some subjects require memorization (like spelling and math) we design curriculums which reflect real-world experiences, keeping students active and engaged through our hands on, project-based approach.
Class sizes are purposefully small to enable our teachers to appreciate and encourage multiple types of intelligence.
Integrated Project-Based Learning provides students with opportunities to explore real-world challenges by working in small collaborative groups and developing cross-curriculum skills. It is characterized by active and engaged study, inspiring students to obtain a deeper knowledge of subjects and providing them with skills they will need as adults. Research indicates that students are more likely to retain knowledge gained through project-based rather than textbook-centered learning. Students also develop confidence and self-direction as they move through team-based and independent work. Maui’s Christina Cowell observes, “In my 20 years as an Education Consultant, I’ve rarely come across a school with as much breadth and depth in its curriculum, combining a classical academic foundation with dynamic experiences …”
Examples of former projects:
Imagine your 2nd grader at the Paia Contemporary Art Gallery engaged in a dynamic conversation with owner /artist Kenn Brider, able to relate class studies about poetry and art, including the study of artists Manet, Pollock, and Kandinsky to the art that he is seeing. Imagine him then spending an afternoon painting at Baldwin Beach. This was how a recent poetry and art unit for Roots School 1st- 3rd graders integrated reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, art, art history, poetry, and community. Some goals for this unit were for children to read fluently, practice writing without fear, connect feelings and thoughts with the written word, and share their work with pride.
The ROOTS 4th – 8th grade participated in an integrated study of water. This study began with experimentation with water molecules and exploration of state of matter in our science class. It quickly moved into a classroom study of Maui watersheds and Hawaiian native species in our social sciences class, which enabled them to take this information out of the classroom and into the field. They studied the science of local streams, the interaction between the animals and riparian vegetation. Marine biologist Hannah Bernard led them from the mouth of Iao Stream to locations where it has been diverted, and taught them about changes to local species and the ecosystems on which they depended. They then used their newly gained knowledge of the local species create amazing art which was entered into Malama Wao Akua Native Wildlife art contest. Several of our students artwork was selected, enabling students to participate in an event with professional artists, making it “real”. At this point in time, water rights were a huge issue on Maui, which provided a plethora of current and local news articles that the students then began collecting, reading, and discussing current news articles, adding further context to the study. Finally, students worked in small groups to create a “game show” using all the knowledge they had acquired to educate the public on the water issues facing Maui. The game show was aired on RadiOpio, our local youth radio station, further adding to this incredible experience of learning! This unit allowed students to work with a marine biologist, professional artists, and a radio producer making it real for all of them.