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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 26, 2007

Arts integrated style makes the grade: A+

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Integrating art into education has long been shown to have a positive impact on a student's learning environment. Schools across the nation have found success through incorporating art into a student's learning experience, inspiring young learners to think more creatively.

That's what makes the approach at 'Aikahi Elementary School laudable. Teachers there weave art into virtually every phase of their core curriculum, from math to reading to social studies. This is particularly heartening at a time when art and music programs tend to fall victim to budget cuts, as schools struggle to cover the basics.

Educating the "whole child" is the philosophy at the Kailua campus. That's sure to serve our youngsters well into the future, inspiring confidence, creativity and success in their academic careers. It's an approach worth replicating.

Each of the school's 600 students has had artwork on display sculptures, paintings, and mixed media. 'Aikahi also won national recognition for its arts-integrated program.

The DOE teamed up with the Hawai'i Arts Alliance to come up with a tool kit for elementary school teachers interested in the approach (available online at http://arts.k12.hi.us).

Marilyn Cristofori, head of the Hawai'i Arts Alliance, puts it nicely: "Arts are what makes life sustainable. When children have an arts-rich integrated classroom, they become eager to learn; when they're eager to learn, they do better in their academic environment."

We couldn't agree more.