Educare DC preschoolers enjoy architecture experience

Teachers at Educare Washington, DC, were looking for more ways to incorporate science, technology, engineering and math concepts in the classrooms. So they jumped at the chance to partner with the Washington Architectural Foundation’s Architecture in the Schools program.

During the eight-week project, teachers and a volunteer architect designed lessons around homes, specifically the huts of the Ndebele tribe in South Africa and the tepees of the Great Plains Native Americans.

Children had chance to apply their knowledge about patterns, shapes and labeling in a different capacity

The architecture project gave children a chance to apply their knowledge about patterns, shapes and labeling in a different capacity, said Michelle Mosby, a teacher at Educare Washington, DC. “We were able to see how the Ndebele tribes and Great Plains Native Americans used patterns in their homes in order to be identified.”

During the lessons, the children learned what influenced the design of the huts and tepees, including climate, available materials, culture, community and family. They also built models of both types of homes.

“Our goal was to explore the commonalities of basic human needs and pleasures that a ‘house’ provides, in a relatable, comprehensive and appropriately scaled format for preschoolers,” said Diane S. Taitt, managing principal of De Space Designs, who volunteered on the project.

Mosby said the children also practiced their cooperation, critical thinking, and fine- and gross-motor skills. “The children worked cooperatively with teachers and peers and were excited about learning through the experiences that were tangible,” she said.

“As the finished products began to reveal themselves, the kids’ enthusiasm exploded,” said Taitt. “They were proud and very hands on, with growing confidence as the course proceeded.”