Mālama Āina Foundation History
It was discovered through years of research that Native Hawaiian youth have not been able to achieve similar or higher academic levels in education when compared to non-Hawaiian students. Records show at least a nine percent dificiency, which gets higher as these Native Hawaiian students move up through the educational system. Thus, the Mālama Āina Foundation was created to strategize and develop a project-based learning curriculum teaching science, math and Native Hawaiian cultural traditions and values to students of Native Hawiian ancestry. The project also focuses on the development of decision-making, leadership, and communication skills of these students. The "E ola pono" motto sends the message that we would like our children to respect, maintain, and care for the āina (land) we live on, and the kai (sea) that surrounds us.
Our First Workshop
In August 2004, our project team at the Mālama Āina Foundation began the initial process of creating a project-based curriculum that uses Kaneohe Bay and its reefs as the primary area for research. After almost a year of planning, development, and hard work, teachers from various schools were invited to participate in our first Summer Professional Development Workshop in July 2005. The project's theme, or motto, is "E Ola Pono Me Ka Āina," to Live Right with the Land and the Sea. It was the Foundation's goal to provide these teachers with a written curriculum and the necessary equipment so that they would be able to share it with their students at their respective schools in the upcoming year.
It turned out to be a wonderful five days of advanture, creativitiy, and bonding, as the teachers took part in reef studies, math and science lessons, boat tours to Moku o Loe and the sandbar, and listened to pertinent Hawaiian stories. The lessons included use of a GPS, map charting, data collecting, transect building and serveying, and water quality analysis. The workshop was very successful, as we witnessed many new realtionships develop and many new plans initiated as the schools look to include this curriculum in thier program.