Inclusive Schools Role Model Danilo Dolci

We are at the primary school Danilo Dolci in Mirto. It is the primary school that belongs to the Cassarà Comprehensive Institute of Partinico. This is a very special school, different from the others that are found in our territory.

Here we are in a school desired in the 70s by Danilo Dolci, the pedagogist, sociologist, and poet advocate of the nonviolent method to the point of being called the Sicilian Gandhi, and
Danilo Dolci built this school specifically for the poorest children in the area, and the school was born based on the needs expressed by the children themselves. Danilo went around asking these children what their dream was, what kind of school they wanted, and the children expressed their desire to be in the midst of nature, to be able to observe the mountains, the sea, or the river from the school, in short, all the natural elements possible. So, thanks to his collaborators and funds received from all over Europe and northern Italy, Danilo Dolci bought the land and built this first part of the school that originally, as the project envisioned, should have had another part and should have been attended by students aged 3 to 18, this was during that period, in the 60s and 70s, something very innovative in particular in the south of Italy.

In the school, only this wing was built only because then, due to a lack of funds, they had to suspend, in short, the project. However, right from the start, they were implementing Danilo Dolci's method of reciprocal maieutic, and students would come by bus from Partinico, from the rural areas, to study here building together with their teachers and facilitators their curriculum based on their own questions, their needs, and their demands.

Then the school, in short, over the course of the years, continued in an experimental way it was accepted as a school where experimentation took place by the Ministry. Then, however, this was stopped, and the school was closed for several years. Recently, in the mid-80s, a bit after that, the school was reopened, and now it is a fully-fledged public school. However, clearly, given the location we find ourselves in, and also the layout and composition of the classrooms, the fact that from the windows, at child height, there is always a sense of being immersed in nature, the methodology and approach used with the students is different compared to that of a traditional school. And in fact, many activities are carried out outdoors, and with a lot of cooperative work. Therefore, the frontal teaching is minimized, and there is more space for activities of discussion and common research, starting from the children's own needs. The school is attended by all the children who want to, from the area, who come here either by school bus or accompanied by their families. Among our students, we have some with special needs, special educational needs, special educational needs and disabilities, ranging from mild to more severe. There are also foreigners who indeed, thanks to the method used, in this with these methods that involve active participation of the students, each student also becomes a resource for others, and thus, with cooperative learning and all these new methodologies that are used, learning becomes emphasized.
Active learning is highlighted. Inclusion becomes, let's say, our ‘must quotidiano’, or our ‘daily must’, our daily choice, and it is truly experienced because anyone can find their own path, their own measure.

Mirto's experience is certainly a unique experience because if we think that it originated in a truly different and distant period from our time, it is highly innovative, even in terms of furnishings, that Danilo Dolci used with the desks placed in front of the windows, desks that can be can be used and moved around in order to create groups or pairs, in short, to work in a different way.

Today, they inspire many other schools that, thanks to the funds from the PNRR, are attempting to renew their furnishings and to renew the teaching methodologies. Thus, this school becomes a model and is also for the other branches of our school, but also for the schools in the area, for a teaching methodology that places the student, their needs, and their individual paths at the center. So that each child can achieve their own success.

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