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Our In-Classroom Programs

Our in-classroom program empowers the next generation to be effective shapers of and advocates for our city, our neighborhoods, our parks, and public spaces. The program introduces the design process to K-12 students in the classroom via a series of engaging hands-on STEAM workshops taught by practicing architects, designers, and contractors. Students not only learn about career paths in architecture, design, engineering, and construction, but also learn how to use design to become better stewards of their neighborhoods and champions for a more useful, beautiful, and equitable city.

Diversity in the design and construction industry is woefully inadequate and unrepresentative of women and people of color. Therefore, the Center targets Philadelphia Public Schools where the student population is more than 50% Black/African American and/or Latinx, as well as more than 70% economically disadvantaged. The program is provided at no cost to Philadelphia public school classrooms and teachers.

The Center has integrated its curriculum into modern pedagogical standards, including Common Core and Next Generation Science standards. We have created 5 standard project-based lesson plans that use architecture and the built environment as the medium in which multiple design disciplines, architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, furniture design, graphic design, and interior design, can be explored, while expanding student's vocabulary and using the design process to solve problems. It includes a kit of parts in a 4 week lesson plan oriented towards a series of single lessons with the ability to cover a number of different design and built environment themes.

Projects Include:
Project 1: Building to Learn. 

Project 2: The Shape of Things.  

Project 3: Interior Spaces & Favorite Places.

Project 4: Neighborhood Planning.

Project 5: Solving Neighborhood Needs. 


CFAD's Education program offers free workshops that are designed to introduce the youth community to the design process and careers. We encourage young adults to explore the building blocks of architecture, design, and city planning. Our free workshops focus on design thinking to resolve challenges through hands-on creative and model building activities We want to open young people's eyes to the environment around them, empowering them to discover their own skills and interests.

Partner Programs

To advance the Center’s goals of diversifying the design professions and empowering students to become more civically engaged in how their communities are designed and shaped, the Center is expanding partnerships with organizations, community groups, educators, and designers that support and work with our target K-12 population. We facilitate partnerships by offering curriculum development, and educational and volunteer resources. Through these partnerships, we aim to increase understanding and awareness of architecture and design careers.

Partnerships include:

Local Universities and Colleges

Our Impact

Short-Term Goals (Immediately)

To increase understanding of how and why design is important to society.

To expand the knowledge about the design process, both visual and functional problem-solving.

To increase the understanding and awareness of architecture and design careers.

Mid-Term Goals (3-5 Years)

Develop as advocates for communities/neighborhoods and design.

Improve socio-emotional skills, self-efficacy, resilience, and problem-solving skills.

Seek out future opportunities in architecture and design.

Long-Term Goals

Increase the number of BIPOC and Latinx Architects, Designers, and Contractors. 

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