ROME – What would schools look like if they were designed by students? More colorful, greener and more technological. A dream that has come true with the Open Space project, thanks to the transformation of schools into open and inclusive educational spaces. The results of the project, which in four years it has involved more than 4,000 young people between the ages of 11 and 17with the commitment of 27 partners and a total investment of 3.2 million euros, have been presented today in Rome, in the spaces of Industria Fluviali.
The project Open Space – Spaces for Active Participation of the Educational Communityexperimented with an integrated model of activities to combat educational inequalities and early school leaving in 4 Italian cities (Milan, Bari, Reggio Calabria and Palermo) by improving access to inclusive and quality education for pre-adolescents and adolescents, especially those belonging to families in difficulty. The project was selected by the Social Enterprise with Children within the framework of the Fund to contrast educational poverty and began in 2018.
“The school is a place of orientation, where we accompany our boys and girls in the development of their talents – commented the Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi, who spoke with a message– Orientation allows us to guide our children to discover themselves, recognizing their inclinations, finding their passions, and building their roots.“Open Space, open spaces, has placed places at the center of its intervention, which have become the unifying narrative of the project. Places of aggregation, listening and participation.” Through the model of Espai Obert, the children had the opportunity to perceive the school as a space of shared relationship – said Fabrizio Fiaschini of Federgat -, Espai Obert is not just a title but the synthesis of an operational model that the school in the center as a space for life and growth. A hybrid, open space that dialogues between inside and outside, a public space. Open Space was a bridge to the community, to renewed decision-making and a participatory drive for change, in contrast to dispersal and abandonment. We need to make children the authors of their own lives, able to support each other and therefore support each other. ”
A project, which has become a real program to relaunch the territory, as Katia Scannavini, Deputy Secretary General of ActionAid, told Dire. “This project has allowed us to partially contrast early school leaving but above all to give a different visibility to the contrast of educational inequalities. We have worked hard with the boys and girls, with the school staff and with the whole community, with excellent results, ”he said. Achieving the possibility of involving students, redeveloping school spaces but above all the possibility of making the new citizens of the world able to change ”.
For Ilaria Graziano of the Fondazione Mondo Digitale, one of the partners in the project, investing in spaces, strengthening teacher training and renewing assessment are the three pillars on which the school of tomorrow must be built, with the the aim of “an inclusive and quality training offer”. , which creates new learning spaces such as coding workshops, artwork to create murals, and writing for the theater“.Invest more in places, therefore, to invest more in people.
Also according to Ludovico Ottolina, of the Student Union, “that boys and girls actively participate in the requalification of school educational spaces decreases school dropout and increases the educational process we implement, with a focus on housing.” Because of that UDS has long been proposing to extend school hours and involve students more actively in decision-making processes.with the aim of curbing the phenomenon of early school leaving, also through guidance.
“An orientation that brings schools and the third sector into dialogue. A comprehensive and permanent orientation, because talent is not only synonymous with excellence but also with aptitude and ability – said Alessandro Costanzo De Castro of Junior Achievement – Open Space has contributed in various ways to this discovery of the self. ” this has driven the project diversified education, which invests in work groups and student collaboration, observed Luca Fanelli, project manager of the Open Space project. “Education that pays attention to people, pays attention to positive discrimination in favor of the most vulnerable students. The school must become the educational platform of the territory ”. An achievable goal, according to Fanelli, by investing in teacher training, by investing in it a building
innovative school and in the extended time, and expanding the spaces of codecision and especially of active participation of the students, that are the engine of the school.
“Thanks to this project young people had an opportunity for real activation, linked to the ability to express needs and then see them satisfied– said Miriam Petruzzelli, representative of the ICS Mother Teresa of Calcutta- This is one of the most encouraging results to continue in the direction of working in a coherent and organic way towards the achievement of complex goals that represent a possibility of growth not only for the school but for our whole society ”.
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