CORNVILLE — What do you get when you take slices of red apple, green apple, some kiwi fruit, mini-marshmallows, a few grapes, pretzels and corn chips and stick them together with caramel sauce?

Well, at the Cornville Regional Charter School, you get edible art.

The art class taught by Sally Baker of Bingham is one of four revolving courses of art and music at the charter school conducted as part of the regular curriculum each week.

On a recent afternoon as Baker and her students were making art with food, artist Shirleyanne Ratajczak of Waterville was teaching pottery, and musicians Elaine Loekle of East Madison and Gail Kelly of Cornville were giving music instruction, singing songs with a roomful of kindergarten students.

School Principal Travis Works said the art and music groups – along with what he calls “student interest groups” for welding, jewelry-making, yoga, sign language, soccer, robotics, baby-sitters club, hiking and others offered by community volunteers twice a week – form an important part of the school day.

“It gives the students an opportunity to be exposed to a wide variety of things that they wouldn’t normally be exposed to,” Works said. “We find things the kids are interested in. The art and music piece is something we value greatly – they are part of the human experience.”

Works said a charter school is all about educating the whole child, and art and music are part of that goal along with the core content of math, language, science and agriculture.

The art and music projects run for nine weeks, then students switch so that they get instruction from both artists and both musicians. Loekle and Kelly work together some of the time, then break off into separate groups in which Kelly focuses on music theory and Loekle focuses on violin instruction and appreciation, Works said.

One provides the live music in the combined sessions, while the other teaches rhythm and dance.

Charter schools, like the Cornville school and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences on the campus of Good Will-Hinckley in Fairfield, are public schools that are allowed the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Because they are public schools, they are open to all children, do not charge tuition and have no special entrance requirements.

The state is now billed directly for students who attend charter schools in Maine. Until this year, local school districts paid tuition for all students living within the district who attended the charter schools. The payment process created huge expenses for local districts. The Cornville school’s annual budget is $1.1 million.

In the arts and music classes last week, students got their hands into gray clay that was mined locally on land owned by the parents of Justin Belanger, the school’s executive director.

“We’re making clay bowls,” said Aiden Belanger, Justin and Sandy Belanger’s son, during pottery lessons.

“I love it,” fellow student Logan Fowler of Skowhegan said of the class. “It’s fun. I’m learning how to mold clay and what kind of clay it is.”

Ratajczak, the pottery instructor, said students processed the natural clay by mixing it with water and running it through cloth to take out unwanted particles.

The result could be cereal bowls or soup bowls for a possible soup supper at the school.

Over at the edible arts class, Baker and her students were trying to figure out just what to do with the cut-up fruit, pretzel pieces and caramel. It wasn’t easy projecting what a work of art might look like at first when the pieces were still ordinary food, the students said.

“Edible art is you make something and then you eat it,” student Clara Jewell said, assembling her apple slices into a triple decker with toothpicks. “I have no idea what mine is yet.”

Baker said she and her students have done self-portraits, which are on display in the hall, drawings and sketches for a mosaic project and some designs on graph paper. Baker also teaches yoga and supervises weaving and jewelry making.

The Cornville Regional Charter School, with 60 students in kindergarten through grade six, opened in October 2012 as the first elementary education charter school in Maine.

The school now has an enrollment of 121 students in kindergarten through grade eight from towns all over the region.

The instruction for reading, writing and math is connected to the Common Core Standards, Works said.