China Institute @ Your School

(Online or In-person)

China Institute’s We All Live in the Forbidden City program offers a series of standards-based, interactive programs that introduce K-6 students to Chinese history and culture. Children will dive deep into the program’s subject matter—developed in conjunction with the award-winning “We All Live in the Forbidden City” series of children’s books—through animated videos, interactive storytelling, group discussion and creative activities. All workshops are led by the Institute’s experienced educators and lessons are adjusted according to grade level. Using China’s Forbidden City as a lens, the program addresses universal values such as respecting and being inspired by the natural world; understanding the balance between freedom and responsibility; and the importance of leadership and teamwork. Each workshop session is one hour long. 

Thanks to our generous supporters, we were able to provide free workshops for public schools of the tri-state area in the past school year until February 2023. This school year 2023-2024, we are offering up to 25 workshops for all Title I schools. All other public and private schools qualify for subsidized rates. Please note that all schools are allowed a limited number of workshops, with up to 30 participants per group, so please inquire if you qualify for free or adjusted rates.

For more information, please contact our Program Assistant Angela Chen at achen@chinainstitute.org or call (212) 744-8181, ext. 143.

TO APPLY
Please fill out the workshop request form and send it back to Angela Chen at achen@chinainstitute.org 

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Nature played a significant role in the making of the famous Forbidden City, which lies in the capital city of China, Beijing. Still today, it remains the largest wooden architectural structure in the world! In this interactive workshop, students will learn about how such a structural phenomenon was built through an animated video and be asked to engage in a dynamic class discussion on how the natural influenced its design. As a fun exercise, students will be given the chance to design their own palace and relate the Forbidden City to their own lives. At the end, they will all reflect on how nature continues to inspire and nurture everyone on a daily basis, just as it did with China’s Forbidden City.

Fee: $150 per group/ NYC Public School
$220 per group/Private and Non-NYC School
 
25 free workshops, in total, for Title I schools.*
 
All up to 30 participants per group
 
*Please note we limit the number of workshops per school, so please inquire if you are interested and qualify for free or adjusted rates.

In our “How Are You, Mr. Emperor” workshop, students will focus on the lives of the Chinese Emperors in the Forbidden City. The class will learn about all the emperors’ day-to-day tasks and responsibilities through a guided class discussion, followed by a game to help them understand the benefits and limits of having power. They will discover all the virtuous qualities that make an emperor a good leader (and a good citizen). At the end of the workshop, students will be asked to reflect on their own strengths and how they could utilize those strengths if they took on the role of an emperor. They might realize that an emperor’s life was not so easy as one might have assumed.

Fee: $150 per group/ NYC Public School
$220 per group/Private and Non-NYC School
 
25 free workshops, in total, for Title I schools.*
 
All up to 30 participants per group
 
*Please note we limit the number of workshops per school, so please inquire if you are interested and qualify for free or adjusted rates.

In this workshop, students will learn about the complexities of life within the court of the famous Forbidden City. They will be guided through a role-playing game to fully understand the duties of each member of the court, followed by a dynamic class discussion on the cultural significance of the imperial palace itself. Students will realize and appreciate the collaborative effort that each member contributes, which should start to resemble one gigantic family working together. At the end, the class will fill out a clever questionnaire that will inspire students to reflect on their own talents and interests though could benefit their own direct communities, such as life in the Forbidden City.

Fee: $150 per group/ NYC Public School
$220 per group/Private and Non-NYC School
 
25 free workshops, in total, for Title I schools.*
 
All up to 30 participants per group
 
*Please note we limit the number of workshops per school, so please inquire if you are interested and qualify for free or adjusted rates.

By studying the art of Chinese porcelain, students will learn how to appreciate these classical artifacts as fine works of art. Their lesson will begin by paying close attention to the auspicious symbols often seen on these ceramics (such as bats, butterflies, and peaches). The symbolic meanings behind these pictographs serve as expressions of human compassion and wellness. Through a series of engaging exercises and classic Chinese games, the group will be asked to express their love for nature and connect it to the natural elements that strongly influence Chinese art, language and culture. At the end of the workshop, students will dictate a short meditation to reflect on life with gratitude and review the auspicious symbols taught to them by recreating their own individual image for good luck.

Fee: $150 per group/ NYC Public School
$220 per group/Private and Non-NYC School
 
25 free workshops, in total, for Title I schools.*
 
All up to 30 participants per group
 
*Please note we limit the number of workshops per school, so please inquire if you are interested and qualify for free or adjusted rates.

This series of three one-hour workshops incorporates and builds on the materials from the stand-alone workshops “The Palace is like a Big Forest” and “Bowls of Happiness” to strengthen the impact and reinforce the ideas of the program. This series explore the role of nature and art within the Forbidden City and Chinese culture generally and how the students can apply it to their own lives.

Session 1: The Palace is like a Big Forest

In the first workshop, students will learn that nature played a significant role in the design of the famous Forbidden City which lies in the current capital city of China, Beijing and remains the largest wooden architectural structure in the world. In this interactive workshop, students will learn about how such a structural phenomenon was built and engage in a dynamic class discussion on the aspects of the natural world that inspired the design. As a fun exercise, they will be asked to design their own palace. Throughout the workshop, they will reflect on how nature is directly related to their own lives and discuss how to respect and live sustainably within our natural environment.

The students will be assigned a take-home project to complete their design and write a description about why it is their ideal home or place.

Session 2: Bowls of Happiness
The students present and discuss their take-home projects.

In the previous workshop, students were asked to examine nature’s role in the structure of the Forbidden City and how it also plays a role in their daily lives. For the second workshop, they will learn how art can be directly influenced by nature and begin to appreciate the intricate designs of Chinese porcelain. Their lesson will begin by taking note of the auspicious symbols often seen on these artworks (such as bats, butterflies, and peaches) and explore their symbolic meaning, which mainly serve as expressions of human compassion and wellness. Through a series of engaging exercises and classic Chinese games, the group will be asked to express their love for nature and connect it to the natural elements that strongly influence Chinese art, language and culture. At the end of the workshop, students will dictate a short meditation to reflect on life with gratitude and review the auspicious symbols taught to them by recreating their own individual image for good luck.

Session 3: A Home in Nature, Nature in the Home

The students present and discuss their take-home projects and are encouraged to mail their postcard to the person for whom it was designed.

In this final workshop, students reflect on what they have learned so far in the workshop about Chinese art, architecture, and how nature can inspire us in our lives. Students watch a short video about the Forbidden City and discuss what they learned about Chinese architecture and symbols. Working in groups they design their own palace or city, thinking about how they can work together to create an ideal home for everyone, how they can use and be inspired by nature in its construction, and how it can be sustainable. Each group presents their palace. The class then looks at different buildings and homes from ancient to contemporary times that incorporate and are sustainable within their environment (such as igloos, Falling Water, modern tree houses). Finally, the class talks about what they can do to protect nature in their everyday life, how they can give back to nature, and how they can take their inspiration from nature out into the world.

Fee:

$450 per group/ NYC Public School
$660 per group/Private and Non-NYC School

Title I schools are qualified for free and adjusted rates.

All up to 30 participants per group

*Please note we limit the number of workshops per school, so please inquire if you are interested and qualify for free or adjusted rates.

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