Unlike adults, children’s dreams represent their real wishes.
Children dream of what they desire. But an adult develops defense mechanisms which keep this straightforwardness at bay and develop a capacity to manage their instincts and desires through a mental framework which filters what is right, what is wrong and what is most likely to be accepted by the society in which he lives.
An adult distances himself from his desires so much that he forgets them and detaches himself from them because he has to grow up, learn how to protect himself, make himself accepted, be considered and judged by others. Society usually presents itself as a filter or barrier which prevents an individual’s spirit from being directly examined and how he faces the world. To find a “socially acceptable” position therefore becomes an absolute priority so the vision others have of us is often identified by what we are and what we wish to be. This way of living removes us from the most precious thing the miracle of life has offered us: our own individual life.
Whoever believes that love is a priority value must begin by loving themselves. Love is an incredible force if it begins with self-esteem, the acceptance and understanding of who we are, living through our own dreams and trying to distance ourselves as much as possible from “social conditionings” which are not necessary for a serene and respectful coexistence between individuals. Society conditions us in such a way that our material possessions become more and more important and we no longer ask ourselves if that is what we really desire, if it makes us happy. So we no longer look at what surrounds us if we do not possess it. We distance ourselves from that which belongs to everyone because what belongs to everyone belongs to nobody.
So away with the stars and the sky, away with the changing seasons leaves that fall, away with fragrances, the arid earth, the wind, colors, stories, away with the cold that makes us want a warm blanket. Away with listening with real interest, away with learning because one is curious to know, even a smile becomes something to trade, becoming the price of social approval.
Self-esteem has little value, as is understanding one’s own desires, having a dream and dedicating oneself to that dream, which is a personal one not necessarily known about by many, be it useful or worthless, folly or sensible. The relationship between these is based on common judgement, but dreams are not common, they are personal, individual, magical, not necessarily reasonable. All this and much more besides – discovering what you like, what makes you curious, the ability to keep well, to be happy, satisfy your real needs, discover your body and your talents – belong to a world from which we have distanced ourselves. Each one of us has been to that world, like on some far-away island.
Who works with children returns to that island, an island in the middle of the rest of the world, an island from which we sail on a voyage full of marvels, a voyage to discover the world with eyes full of curiosity, looking at it for the first time. If we do not get close to children, trying to set aside our prejudices and our convictions, if we do not make them participants in some way with the world around them, when they grow up, their thoughts and actions will be strongly determined by the model imposed by society and the precious perspective of their reflections will be lost.
Their perspective, the way in which children observe, live, judge the adult world which surrounds them, what they think and how they think. All this is a vital part of our way of living and thinking the school. Our instinct is that children should actively participate in the choosing of their educational content, which should not be confined to within the school, and should no longer be offered by “professionally competent” adults to children, but be a great richness, a hope, a new message which comes to life within the school and is offered to the world around it: to political and social institutions, to the industrial world, to the various religious and cultural institutions, wherever there is a gathering of individuals, who are as different from each other as possible.
The perspective changes: from a teacher who offers subject matter programmed for the child, to a school where children offer the subject matter to the adult world. Subject matter which benefits from the strength of truth, from the simplicity which characterizes it without filters or misleading constructions. This authenticity, coupled with their inherent predisposition to science, to experiment, to the world of emotions, to marvels, to the wish to explore, understand and know is the content brought by the child to the school and the world.
The teacher must try first of all to be a person who deserves the trust, the love and attention of the child. But a good teacher for us is above all a good human being, someone who interacts in relationships not only with the children but with the other adults who are involved (parents, colleagues, supervisors) in respecting human rights.
A person who tries to be a good example of what they truly are, because children feel that spirit directly, and how we react altogether to relationships carried out in the scholastic environment, involving their true emotions instantaneously. A look is enough, or listening to the tone of voice, the movement of our bodies.
It is necessary to rediscover the “source” of the value which contributes something. Too many roads have been mistakenly pursued even though the intention was to offer something to children. Let us try and let ourselves go. Children ask us continually with their eyes and we must be ready to be tested, to receive their love, become children again with them, play, laugh, enjoy ourselves. There’s time before sitting at the teacher’s desk, now is the moment to live without defenses, without fear, it’s the time of truth and fragility, it’s the time to make mistakes and know how to ask forgiveness, to improve ourselves.
It’s not a route, but a sweet rebirth which will carry us like shipwrecked people to touch earth again, hopefully a better “earth”, understanding it as one who enjoys the power of an authentic interest to hear, see, touch and understand for the first time.
Therefore school will become a place where children offer their vision to adults, their judgement, their wish to explore, understand and grow and the teacher accompanies and interacts in a protected world but possibly nearer to the reality of what happens in the world. The teacher looks after the child with love in an exchange of looks, emotions, gestures which represent the strong and authentic nucleus of relationships, which is the basis of experiences followed during the scholastic year.
CHILDREN, THE WORLD AND THE UNIVERSE
To see the school as a place of protection, of love, but also of truth: the Stars, Science and Ethics through the example of adults who interact with respect of human
In this manner we will bring the children to everything that is UNIVERSAL, like empirical science and human rights.
We will provide a large space for the study of science in laboratories where the children can experiment with physic laws, biology and chemistry. We will introduce the children to natural science through the most direct contact possible with Nature and the marvels it offers us. We will equip a planetarium from which the stars and planets can be studied, opening up the children’s horizon on the universe which surrounds them, of infinity, of poetry and art.
A planetarium in every school will bring the children closer to a sense of belonging to the human race without distinctions of race, culture or religion. A vegetable patch which the children themselves take care of helps builds a sense of respect for food. A wishing well helps the children believe in their wishes and the power to bring about change. These and many more creative, motor and cognitive activities based on fun and games through the universal language: English!
If we talk about enlarging the children’s horizons, if we wish to give them space where they can express their opinion on the world’s functions, we must bring the surrounding world nearer to them, talk to them about what happens in other countries, who live there, how they live, give children the most information possible through the use of materials, multi-ethnic menus, clothes, objects coming from other parts of the world, stories, music, fitting out houses from different countries and many, many other things too.
In this way the school would represent a fundamental lever in the development of an ethnic conscience and provide a training which could give birth to a new promotional generation of thoughts and actions which would favour radical change. A reversal which could free those so-called third or fourth world countries, helping them towards their entrepreneurial emancipation.
A reversal which could create a serene way of living together between people belonging to different cultures, religions, ethnics and ways of thinking, who live in the same neighborhood, city or nation. A reversal which could block wars in the world, the millions of refugees, the exploitation of juveniles, discrimination against any type of difference among the billions of people who live on our planet. A reversal which could re-establish the priority value of the emergence of human beings, beginning with respect for man and the environment he lives in.
In this important mission, it is fundamental that scholastic institutions have a clear identity relating to inviolable ethnic values which demonstrate to the outside world the strong proof of these values as well as the facts and priority of social emergence in a world which seems determined not to respect such rights.
A mission that will lead children to a sense of belonging to the human race, so they grow up with an increasingly strong and unquestionably universal identity: to be citizens of the world and as such fight for values and rights that begin with respect for their own life and leads to respect for all life, which through a wonderful miracle populate our planet, which deserves care and attention.
For this reason our educational offer is developed by starting with the 30 sanctioned articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10th December 1948.
Whatever activity or experience is embarked on in our school, either by the children or the adults, it is linked to one of these human rights, rights which everyday will be scrupulously respected in the belief that the eyes of the children we are trying to protect may reflect this love towards humankind.
Rights that are transformed into a planetarium, a vegetable patch, a wishing well, a magic mirror, an Indian hut, an African nursery rhyme, a plate of couscous, a mural, a slide, many tears, many smiles, a colored pencil to share with someone, beneath a sky of blue full of luminous stars.
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