With 45 years of experience bringing the power of the arts to schools, Youth in Arts—in collaboration with U.C. Berkeley’s Y-PLAN/ the Center for Cities + Schools—launched the “Architects in Schools” pilot program at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael in 2016 – 2018, with hopes of expanding to more sites in the future.
During a 10-week residency in fourth and fifth grade classrooms, architects and artists help students explore “design thinking” and links between their own capabilities and their built environment. They learn about collaboration, develop skills in presenting their ideas visually and verbally, and consider how to create places aligned with their hopes for their community.
The project links students to real-world challenges by bringing working architects into their classrooms and by creating opportunities for students to voice their ideas. For example, last year Laurel Dell students were able to create models and a presentation for architects designing a remodel of their campus. Going forward, students will be connecting with professional teams participating in the Bay Area Resilient by Design competition tackling environmental challenges and considering the interconnectedness of land, water, infrastructure and quality of life.
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