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What is it?

The goal of the Architecture and Children program is to promote the use of interdisciplinary learning through design education. Promotes and fosters: 

  • Keen observation. 

  • Visual literacy.

  • Integrated thinking.

  • Environmental literacy.

  • Individual creative self-expression and problem-solving in three dimensions.

  • Team cooperation.

  • Stewardship.

  • Equity (one's own creative self-expression).

 In your classroom or your home:

  • Set up a design center (samples).

  • Use recycled materials and tools.

  • Use our curriculum A&C Teachers' Guidebook.

  • Use your state curriculum standards.

  • Foster hands-on learning.

  • Have student verbally present completed design (drawing or models)

Before Western Man divided the Universe into discrete subject matter areas, the order in the Universe was (and still is) both interdisciplinary and holistic. The branching of trees, spiraling of shells, meandering streams and the radial designs of flowers, for example, represent an analogy of science, technology, engineering, art, architecture and mathematics (STEAM).


The current artificial separation of subject matter is in contrast to the way the world is constructed and the way children perceive it. Architecture and the study of the built, natural and cultural environment synthesize the world of ideas and the world of material things. Things become integrated thoughts and ideas.  Furthermore, this design education program helps us to realize that we are a PART OF, not APART FROM our precious environment. To know our relationship to our materialistic surroundings gives us knowledge and wisdom about the order in the universe.

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Anne Taylor, Ph.D.                               Atsuko Sakai                           Catalina Salinas                George Vlastos                                           Jen Cunningham
Design Educator                                 Architect                                    Architect                           Architect                                                    Admin / Glue


School Zone Institute (SZI) is the sponsor of the Architecture and Children Integrated Design Education Program (A&C). SZI is the founding organization that produces the design curriculum, sponsors the A&C design education teacher workshops, children’s after-school programs, museum classes, architectural walking tours, and evaluation. A&C uses the built (human made), natural and cultural environments to teach interdisciplinary concepts to the Education Community.

School Zone Institute (SZI) has three operational missions:


1. To promote design and aesthetic education for all teachers, children and the adult community though the use of an integrated model of teaching and learning borrowed from the collegiate Architectural Design Studio model of learning. This model incorporates the national COMMOM CORE curriculum concepts in science, technology, engineering, the arts/architecture and math and history (STEAM). Because teaching integrated design allows each student to express himself with his own ideas, this model of teaching and learning has built into it, Equity for Diversity.


2. To act as a Research and Development Center, which addresses the physical learning environment of schools, and its effects on learning and behavior of students and teachers.


3.  To act as a repository for information pertaining to STEAM results, publication of design education curriculum, videos, documents, speeches, reports and books relating to design and environment.


SZI's vision is to help all children, teachers and parents nationally and internationally to better see and understand the built, natural and cultural environment, using it's Architecture and Children (A&C) design education program. To use it as a teaching-learning tool for design and creative problem solving for solutions that will improve environmental challenges and help them understand and acquire knowledge and understanding of their relationship with, and stewardship of our deteriorating planet.

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