BUILDING WINDMILLS: THE EDUCATING NEIGHBORHOOD OF FONTI SAN LORENZO IN RECANATI
Università di Macerata, Italy
A transversal look at the Covid pandemic, which includes the micrological impact on the society and real subjectivations, but at the same time knows how to grasp the evolutionary dimension on the contexts, requires us to question the facts that have occurred in the last 14 months with the eye of change, seeing fractures and slowdowns, dangers and opportunities, new needs and unexpressed demands. The "Covid storm" produced two evident effects-reactions: it razed a large part of the educational experiences that still traversed territories, blocked by stringent protocols, risks and costs; it pushed a small but significant part to interpret the storm as an opening capable of producing innovation, pushing to reinvent itself between health obligations, new educational needs and coherence of practices. These experiences saw a possible wind of change and thus tried to build windmills, to translate energy into actions, practices, gestures.
A first general analysis will be followed by the study of a specific educational reality, that of the Cultural Center Fonti San Lorenzo. A significant everyday reality in Marche in the field of widespread education and community culture, driven by a strong pedagogical project that has innervated over time the entire social and cultural proposal, the CCFSL tried to expand non-formal and informal educational processes during the Covid phase. Since the first lockdown it has reconverted the entire socio-cultural, educational and recreational initiative into an online schedule that has had a following throughout the national territory, with 8 hours a day of activity; subsequently, he designed a widespread summer center (anticipating the same ministerial guidelines) which was one of the first to be deployed in central Italy, combining health coherence and profound rethinking of educational practices, converting the need for spaces for distancing into a claim the children right to the city.
This was accompanied by an investment of ideas, people and resources in the construction of educating communities that had its own specific framework in the neighborhood: workshops, courses, services were born that have relaunched the free initiative of youngsters, who have recovered an entire wing of the school, self-managed by themselves; they also intervened in the neighborhood with substantial changes in its organization. All this today evolves and is structured in the formula of a “Patto Educativo di Comunità”, which brings together educational institutions, social realities, local shops, youngsters, parents and activists: probably, the first PEC of the national territory that has its direction in a social reality. The school-form, therefore, is overcome by a doing-community that integrates learning with the need for socialization, which introduces new words and new needs, new poverties but also new possible alliances into the teaching debate.
See this experience closely, analyze its impasses and limits, measure its impacts on the social, educational, cultural fabric and understand the potential of new figures (community activators, anti-educators) who carry with them a task of dynamization, network construction, antisystemic spirit and flexibility aimed at reorganizing and constantly rethinking social institutions: around these items the micrological experience can become a hotbed of innovations.
FOREST PEDAGOGY AND NEOLIBERAL CHALLENGES: EXPLORING THE CONSTRUCTION OF FOREST CHILDREN'S SUBJECTIVITIES IN ITALY
Pedagogia del bosco | Ricerca e formazione, Italy
Forest pedagogy is emerging in Italy as an alternative to state education. This pedagogical approach stands out for valuing immersion in wild settings and learners-led curricula. It also has a strong democratic ethos which is expressed in the idea that each learner is met where she or he is. Yet, neoliberal assemblages shaping the educational field may undermine its emancipatory potential. Recent public debates have put into question, among other issues, the marketization of forest pedagogy as an approach that paradoxically develops skills in children that are valued by neoliberal institutions. This paper enters such discussion by exploring the construction of children subjectivities by main actors in the field of forest pedagogy to the end of reflecting on what is represented as the very aim of education. In particular, it discusses the construction of “forest children” as resilient, identifying points of tension and overlapping between this construction and neoliberal discourses. Methodologically, the paper relies on the literature of Critical Discourse Analysis and it makes use of Thematic Analysis and Representation of Social Actor.
KEYWORDS: Forest pedagogy, Italy, neoliberism, resilience.
PICCOLA POLIS, A PARENTAL SCHOOL IN ROME. A CASE STUDY.
Associazione L'Asilo nel Bosco, Italia
The project Piccola Polis began its activity in September 2017 as a parental school, with the support of Associazione "L'Asilo nel Bosco" of Rome. Education is the right/duty of parents in the Italian Constitution. Therefore, homeschooling is allowed as a family choice. The possibility to find similar objectives converges in parental schools when several families intend to share together a common project and the costs to support it.
The mission that Piccola Polis intends to achieve is a full and free learning of children, focusing on the relationship with them, in a teacher/pupils ratio of 1/7, for all ages from 6 up to 14 years old (primary and secondary school first degree). The child must be recognized as a capable subject, he must be seen as such, expressing his body, his talents, his passions, his curiosity, his imagination, his natural desire to learn.
These are proposed fundamental elements of the project:
- absence of evaluation, understood as judgment in the form of a numerical mark;
- creation of fields of experience that are not comparable to individual school subjects;
- presence of the external environment, experienced not only as a learning environment but also as a classroom;
- body care.
The absence of evaluation allows children to enter into a profound relationship with the reference adult, since they feel free to learn not in a coercive context. Teachers support students in their own learning and self-assessment path, eliminating any form of numerical mark on the students' written and oral productions. The error is seen as an active element of the learning process.
The creation of fields of experience refers to the proposals that are structured for children. It is a non-predefined curriculum, in which we start from practical activities, most of which are done in an external environment, and then lead back to specific objectives according to the National Guidelines.
The external environment is what mainly characterizes the project, with the organization of shared outdoor spaces, which can be used by groups. Depending on the age, explorations are organized in the surrounding countryside for natural environments, as well as discover urbanized environments that the city of Rome offers for free. We go out daily in the surroundings, while weekly in the city. It should be noted that, due to the restrictions and closures that have taken place since February 2020 due to Covid19, trips to the city have been suspended completely.
Body care passes through every activity that is offered to children, including daily planning, where, for example, the morning welcome is done in different environments, including the outdoor space to allow for an adequate adjustment and muscle awakening. Among the proposals that have a greater emphasis on movement there are circus activities of acrobatics, juggling and aerial, break dance, theater in different forms, cultivation. We have a special art space available, where children's bodies can relate to matter as such.
The project, to date, welcomes 65 children, who regularly carry out the examination at the end of each school year at a reference state institution.
HOMESCHOOLING AND UNSCHOOLING
L'Associazione Istruzione Famigliare, Italia
Homeschooling includes all kinds of education outside school and a number of possible approaches, as well as parent-led schools.
Unschooling is a stream of Homeschooling based on the ideas that:
- family has a crucial role in education, as well as in the psychological, social and cognitive development of children and young adults
- learner-centred education increases motivation, creativity and happiness; it allows the young person to become what he/she can be; it also promotes life-long learning in the young person as well as in his/her living and social environment
- informal, non-formal and experiential learning processes offer the opportunity for a full growth and improve cognitive and social skills, soft skills and executive functions better than formal learning
- a flexible curriculum can better respond to new challenges
- learning in an everyday life context allows to learn in cognitive and social complexity, in a broad spectrum of ways, without the space and time boundaries of the classroom; it also allows a real relationship and confrontation with other people
- technological progress and democratic processes have eased the access to knowledge and culture and increased learning opportunities; the pandemic has shown how deep this (r)evolution is
Unschooling is a long-term program where parents stay near their children, support their learning process and participate to it, in order to facilitate it; differently from teachers, they don’t organize lessons but create learning opportunities.
Unschooler children and young adults don't stay in a closed classroom but move in real world, in the space of town and nature, where they meet people, different situations and institutions.
Unschooling parents support free play, exploration, hands-on experiences, learning by doing, and in general informal, non-formal and experiential learning. Formal learning usually starts spontaneously from curiosity and creativity, which have been activated by an informal and experiential approach.
In general, Homeschooling shares with school the same educational goals in order to give the children the chance to participate democratically and critically for a better society (although there are some exceptions).
North-American studies about Homeschooling and Unschooling have shown that they normally reduce social distances and promote political participation.
Homeschooling or Unschooling families sometimes cooperate with public school. This could also create some opportunities for new professionalisms and for rethinking education.
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