Anne Taylor 277-5058
Carolyn Gonzales 277-5920

November 30, 2001


The Institute for Environmental Education, within the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning, announces a Design Academy for Youth to be held during the winter break, Dec. 27-28 and Jan. 2-4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"The program helps children learn visual and critical thinking through architecture, design and engineering," says Anne Taylor, Institute director. Through two and three-dimensional design concepts students further their understanding of basic math, geometry, physics, environmental science, history, vocabulary and language, she says.

Taylor's design academy concept has been well received nationally and internationally. She recently presented her educational program at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. The event featured a larger conference on school facility planning. Architects from all over the eastern United States attended.

"They reached out to me. I did a two-day presentation on developing visual literacy," says Taylor. She showed them how they could help children read a plan, how to understand plan view and elevation and how to design a school of the future. "It's what
we do here in Architecture and Planning at UNM and in the Institute for Environmental Education programs we provide for children to foster their creative problem solving, visual literacy and appreciative behavior," she says.

Taylor and the Institute are currently working on a website to serve as a resource for school districts. In addition to providing information for school officials on modifying lighting, energy conservation and affecting repairs to provide better learning environments, the website will offer information on designing playgrounds as learning landscapes, developing fitness trails and gardens as learning tools, says Taylor.

Taylor is currently working with Pam Hurd-Knief, the school's development officer, to establish an endowment to make sure the work of the Institute continue. "The students at Harrison Middle School's design education program are engaged in creative problem solving and project based learning. They're eating it up," Anne exclaims. Teacher Julie Stoffler, trained by Taylor and others, says "the design studio is just what middle school students need to learn in a non-textbook "hands-on" way." A similar program is going strong at the Rio Rancho after school program.

Taylor has established design-based learning programs in Seattle, Alaska, Phoenix and Japan. "I work closely with the Japanese and will be judging some of their work in an exchange program," she says.

Taylor's program is being adapted for use in early childhood educational schools, schools for developmentally delayed preschoolers and in bilingual schools.

"Our winter Design Academy for Youth will help out working mothers. We will have professionals in architecture design and education lead the exercises and discussions and work individually with each student. We will show films, take the students on
walking tours, and students will come away with a portfolio of their work. We will keep them busy and they will learn a lot," she says.

Registration fees are $300 per student, which covers a student design kit, workshop materials and snacks. A $25 discount is available when more than one child from a family enrolls. Space is limited and is available on a first come, first serve basis. For more information or to register, call The Institute for Environmental Education at 277-5058.

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