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At ArchForKids, we believe in the transformative power of architecture and design education for young minds. Recently, we had the privilege of being featured in ENGAGEMENT TALKS, a virtual lecture series curated by Danya Almoghrabi – Master of Architecture student at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. The series highlights programs like ours that engage with young groups of people, offering valuable insights into alternative methods of design through collaboration and engagement.

The opportunity to share our experiences and insights with current and aspiring architecture and design students was both exciting and humbling for us. As the founder and director of ArchForKids, Janny Gédéon had the honor of speaking for the series, providing a window into our organization’s mission, approach, and impact.

During the interview, Janny discussed the fundamental principles that guide ArchForKids’ work, emphasizing the importance of hands-on, experiential learning in sparking children’s interest in architecture and design. She shared anecdotes and success stories from our workshops and programs, illustrating how we foster creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills in young participants.

Moreover she delved into the significance of learning through real-world applications and contexts in our programs. She emphasized how our workshops and activities provide children with hands-on experiences that bridge theoretical knowledge with practical skills. By immersing themselves in real-world design challenges, participants gain a deeper understanding of architectural concepts and principles while honing their problem-solving abilities. Through projects that simulate authentic design scenarios, such as building models of sustainable communities or redesigning public spaces, children learn to apply their creativity and critical thinking skills in meaningful ways. These experiences not only cultivate a passion for design but also equip them with invaluable tools for navigating the complexities of future academic endeavors whether that be in the design field or other topics of interest.

In addition, Janny shared her personal journey and motivation to transition from a career in design and architecture to education. She spoke about her desire to help students grasp why subjects like math and science are important and how they can use the built world around us to connect with STEAM concepts in a more meaningful way than rote memorization. Recognizing the transformative power of education, she sought to create a platform where children could discover their potential and develop the confidence to pursue their passions. Through ArchForKids, Janny found a fulfilling way to combine her expertise in design with her passion for teaching, enabling her to empower children to become active participants in shaping their communities. Here at ArchForKids we aim to both inspire the next generation of architects and designers but to also reach those students who may go into other fields by fostering a love for learning and exploration from a young age.

Participating in ENGAGEMENT TALKS was a reaffirmation of our commitment to inspiring the next generation of architects, designers, and changemakers. By sharing our experiences and insights, we hope to inspire others to embrace alternative methods of design that prioritize collaboration, creativity, and community engagement.

As we continue our journey at ArchForKids, we are grateful for the opportunity to connect with fellow educators, students, and enthusiasts who share our passion for youth design and collaboration. Together, we can empower young minds to shape a more inclusive, innovative, and sustainable future through the power of architecture and design.

black and white photos featuring different architecture programs with youth engaging in design projects and green text that says "Engagement Talks"

Photo Credit: Danya Almoghrabi Engagement Talks Poster