SINCE 1995, YOUNG FRIENDS programs have used architecture to explore the city and teach children to see their world in a new way. Buildings have stories to tell!
Neighborhoods are organized in orderly grids like chess and checkerboards. The architecture of New York talks to us! By focusing on the built environment, we foster children’s visual literacy, critical thinking skills, creativity, and appreciation of their neighborhoods and the city at large. Starting with our youngest learners in the Building Fun Basics course, specifically geared for pre-K and Kindergarten students, we discover buildings and neighborhoods through the concepts of color, shape, size, and texture. Older students learn about the built environment in our three other programs. Building Fun gives our young architects the chance to learn about a building’s purpose - its use, age, materials and architectural elements, while being detectives on a school neighborhood walk and designing their own NYC building. Landmarks & Preservation delves into local landmarks and historic districts as students discover the story of historic preservation in New York City. During our Yorkville Immigration program, students learn about the architectural and cultural history of this important Upper East Side neighborhood, and the different ethnic backgrounds of the people who settled there, including German, Hungarian, and Czech. We are also happy to work with teachers to customize our classes when possible.
We offer our programs to schools located in Midtown East, the Upper East Side, East Harlem, and in other neighborhoods upon request. We currently reach over 2,000 students each year and are proud that our programs continue to grow and thrive. We teach at many public schools, including Hunter College Elementary School, P.S. 77, 83, 87, 102, 158, 267, 290, and at private schools such as Allen-Stevenson, Brearley, Chapin, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Dalton, East Harlem School at Exodus House, Hewitt, Nightingale-Bamford, and Our Lady Queen of Angels.
Family Walking Tour:
PROGRAM 1: Building Fun Basics
One hour-long session designed for Preschool and Kindergarten students
Building Fun Basics aims to introduce young children to the art of looking and understanding the built environment. The one-hour session begins with a classroom activity. We will bring in samples of real building materials to teach students about their texture, color, shape, and size. Next we will venture outside to see if students can be detectives and identify these materials and concepts in the real buildings of the neighborhood around them.