The Living Earth, Songs from Our Garden to Yours, with Pomaika'i Elementary School

A Song-writing residency with the entire Pomaika'i Elementary School, the LIVING EARTH album, Vol. 1 Voices of the Earth Artist series, was newly released in March of 2022. It is a re-branding of an original project in 2018, created with the inspiring students and teachers of Pomaika’I Elementary School, the only Arts Integrated Public School in the state of Hawaiʻi. Located in the Waikapu District of Maui, their teachers chose a school theme for their 2017-2018 school year, “the wellness of the ʻāina (land) is the wellness of the people.”

Pomaika’I Elementary School has developed a S.T.E.A.M. and Arts Immersion Education Curriculum that has been in place for 10 years. The Songwriting Residency with Melinda Caroll was designed for K thru 5 plus the Teachers Songwriting Workshops to compose a 10th Anniversary Song for Pomaika’i. 

Our goals were to:

• Lead the students into a personal relationship with the garden during the process of songwriting creativity

• Help the students develop a sense of place in our fragile island home and our place in the world.

• Create new stories that deepened their understanding of garden-based learning.

The theme for all songs was: “The wellness of the ʻāina (Land) is the wellness of the people.”

All music and songs were written through this “lens” of the garden. Also embedded into the writing process was Nā Hopena A‘o (“HĀ”) a framework of outcomes that reflects the Department of Education’s core values and beliefs in action throughout the public educational system of Hawaii.

The residency for the school began in September 2017, culminating in a fully recorded physical CD and public performance by the students and teachers for the families and nearby community on the school grounds in May of 2018.

Melinda's job as Songwriting Artist in Residence was to help integrate and embody their classroom “garden” S.T.E.A.M. concepts and Hawaiian values, with both the students and teachers into memorable songs. David Kauahikaua and Melinda Caroll worked with Rae Takemoto, Founder and Arts Integration Coordinator of Pomaika’i Elementary School in Maui, the only Arts Integration public school in the state of Hawai’i with less than a dozen in the U.S. mainland.

The Melinda Caroll Songwriting Residency, was sponsored by When We Shine Foundation and Malamalama Maui, with a creative placemaking project grant by ArtPlace America. Our budget allowed us do the songwriting residency with one classroom from Kindergarten through 5th Grade, plus a special songwriting class from teachers, 7 individual songs in total. In addition, funding for the actual CD recording project was provided separately by Friends of Pomaika’i, Arts Integration supporters for the school.

Mahalo to John Cruz for joining our project and helping us share it with our local community...

Check out our story in the Maui News!

Songs for change

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Want to host a songwriting residency with your students? Check out our songwriting curriculum and get in touch, we'd love to support you!


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