News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Students Lead Tour of Taliesin West in New Education Program

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | May 17, 2019

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s education team recently partnered with an eighth grade class for a unique self-guided learning experience at Taliesin West.

As part of a new pilot program for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s Education Department, eighth grade students from Pinnacle Peak Prepatory School of Paradise Valley, Arizona led a tour of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and desert laboratory, for their families, teachers, and peers. Eighth grade teacher Danielle Else teaches an elective for seventh and eighth graders at Pinnacle Peak Prep that centers around Wright and his work, and this project was a great showcase of all they have been learning and studying in her class.

The “Junior Fellows” program is inspired by Wright’s teaching motto of “learning by doing,” as well as other contemporary junior docent programs. Having students follow their own curiosities in this new program is meant to encourage self-guided learning and create a space for students to find their own voice to express what interests them about Wright, Taliesin West, and organic architecture.

Students sharing information about Frank Lloyd Wright in the Garden Room at Taliesin West on May 8, 2019.

Leading up to the tour, the Foundation’s education team conducted in-class learning labs and guided project-based learning about Wright and his work. These activities and research then culminated in a one-night event on May 8, 2019, where the students led a tour of their projects and interests around the historic core of Taliesin West.

Everyone in attendance truly enjoyed the experience; parents loved experiencing Taliesin West through the lens of their kids, Pinnacle Peak Prep teachers and administrators were proud of all the hard work their students put in, and the Education Department felt inspired by the capacity for this program to broaden the community of Taliesin West.


Students share information they’ve learned about Frank Lloyd Wright in the Swan Cove at Taliesin West on May 8, 2019.

Students giving a presentation just outside the drafting studio on May 8, 2019.

By allowing the students to be on-site at a historic Wright property and guide their own tours, they’re able to more deeply engage with architecture, design, critical thinking, public speaking, participatory-design, accessibility, and imagination outside of the traditional classroom.

“We hope to continue to strengthen our partnership with Pinnacle Peak Prep in the coming years, and learn more about how we can model this program and expand it to other Valley schools,” Kevin Conley, Vice President of Public Engagement said. “We are excited by the possibility of building stronger partnerships with our community schools, and look forward to educating a new generation about Frank Lloyd Wright’s work.”

Students giving a presentation in Frank Lloyd Wright’s office at Taliesin West on May 8, 2019.

Students and their teacher, Danielle Else, pose for a photo in front of Taliesin West on the Prow on May 8, 2019.


Learn more about our education programs