Kids in Planning
Kids in Planning—October 1, 2013 Youth Summit
Click here to access the recording of the October 1 Youth Summit.
KIDS IN PLANNING TASK FORCE
In 2008, the ‘Kids in Planning’ Task Force was formed as part of the APA Washington Chapter, with the purpose of increasing students’ understanding of planning issues and the profession, promoting the benefits of good community planning, and providing assistance in these efforts to others.
The Task Force’s approach towards meeting these goals was to bring the message into school classrooms by developing prototype programs that:
- Target different age groups
- Support teachers’ curriculum
- Use readily available materials
- Can be easily replicated in the classroom around the state
- Use real-life, local issues
Several pilot educational programs and curriculum (outlined below) have been created by committee members, and others are being developed. These programs are intended to be easily adopted by educators or planners with an interest in youth involvement. We welcome your involvement to add to our efforts!
PROTOTYPE CLASSROOM PROGRAMS:
- Focus: Neighborhood Planning; Grade level: 2nd grade
During Spring 2008, two classrooms at an elementary school in Olympia, WA participated in a neighborhood planning exercise. Planners met with the students at the beginning of the week with discussion focused on what it takes to make a neighborhood. Teams with 9-10 students then worked off of 1977 aerial maps of their neighborhood over the course of a week to plan their ideal neighborhood, with presentations at the end of the week.
Resources used: Aerial photos of the Centennial neighborhood from 1997 and 2006.
Time commitment and coordination: Initial contact and agreement with two teachers for participation in planning exercise and two sessions each with two 2nd grade classes.
Curriculum Link - coming soon
- Focus: Neighborhood Planning; Grade level: 5th grade
In June 2008, a 5th grade class in Seattle participated in a week-long exercise. Day 1 and 2 focused on presentations and in-class exercises using aerial maps of Seattle and the neighborhood surrounding the school. Day 3 and 4, students dividing into teams of 5-6 to prepare neighborhood plans for the Beacon Hill Light Rail station. On Day 5, students presented their plans to a panel of “judges” (including two Seattle Dept of Planning & Development (DPD) staff) and fielded questions from “neighbors” (other students).
Resources used: Maps & aerial photos of Seattle and school neighborhood (provided by DPD).
Time commitment and coordination: Initial contact and agreement with teachers, contact with DPD staff for materials and participation, and five sessions with students during one week.
Curriculum Link - coming soon
- Focus: Urban Planning & Design; Grade level: 7th grade
A 7th grade curriculum called ‘Look Around’ was developed for Vancouver, WA schools. The curriculum satisfies academic requirements in Social Studies and Geography by helping middle school students understand how choices regarding community land use can have long-term impacts on the visual appearance, economic vitality, and environmental quality of their community.
Resources used: The curriculum has its own reading lists, exercises, quizzes, and other materials making it very user friendly for teachers. The curriculum includes a short video on historic preservation, which could be supplemented by preservation updates from the area where the curriculum is offered.
Time commitment and coordination: Initial contact and agreement with teachers, teachers conduct exercises for one half to full-day or one exercise per day up to 2 weeks, planner can choose whether to visit classroom for exercises, but program is run by teacher; guest speakers can be enlisted if desired.
K-12 PLANNING RESOURCES
There are a variety of resources available for teaching schoolchildren grades K-12 about planning – a partial list is included below. Educators and planners can utilize these ideas and resources to increase youth awareness of the many aspects of land use planning and urban design, including energy and natural resource management.
NATIONAL APA RESOURCES
- ResourcesZine is a searchable database with hundreds of ideas for involving young people in planning or teaching them about community planning, environmental protection, urban design, civic engagement, geography and GIS, social studies, transportation, history, and other planning-related topics.
- Youth & Education section on APA’s Website
(http://www.planning.org/education/youth/) offers links to many resources
WASHINGTON STATE RESOURCES
- Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Education for Environment and Sustainability (EES) Program: Includes a list of K-12 curriculum standards related to ecological, social, and economic systems, the natural & built environment, and sustainability & civic responsibility. This website also includes on-line resources for teachers which can assist them in incorporating sustainability concepts into the curriculum for the different grade levels.
- Powerful Choices is a Puget Sound Energy (PSE) program that’s designed to show middle school-aged kids how their choices affect the environment and how to reduce waste. PSE is also working on a high school curriculum that engages students in ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions called “Kids for Climate Protection”. This curriculum is available to high schools in the regional service area for Puget Sound Energy, thus, available in the counties of: King, Pierce and Thurston.
- Kids’ Plan: The Kids Neighborhood Workshop teaches children about how city planning works using the same skills and tools that professionals use. The planning process comes alive as they explore a neighborhood, make goals and plans, and explain their ideas to others.
- The Center for Understanding the Built Environment is a non-profit organization which offers excellent resources for teachers and students, including Walk Around the Block and Box City.
- The Climate Classroom helps educate children about global climate change in accurate, developmentally appropriate, and hopeful ways. Sections designed for parents and grades K-12 educators provide talking points, attractive visuals, instructional guidelines, and helpful resource links. This information helps with presenting and investigating the topic of Climate Change.
- Eco Kids Energy Quiz:
- Energy Patrol:
- Discover Solar Energy:
WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
Contact the Kids in Planning Task Force Co-chairs for the APA WA Chapter:
Current task force members: Steve Butler, Lynn Miranda, Derek Chisholm, Leonard Bauer, Esther Larson, Janet Wright, Jerry Suder, Sarah Fox