Stories from Italy 2 – Elementary School San Geminiano

By Carolina Bergonzoni (LiD Research Assistant, CIRCE, PhD candidate in Arts Education)

Over the past few months, I have been reading the documentation/testimony of Italian schools involved in Learning in Depth (LiD) projects. Our last instalment of the “Stories From Italy” series focused on Scuola dell’Infanzia Malaguzzi, but we now turn our attention towards Scuola Elementare San Geminiano, in Modena. Particularly, we focus on the experience of 26 Grade students from grade 3A and their teacher Barbara.

After the LiD ceremony where students were initially assigned their topics, the teacher asked the students to think of three questions related to their topic. This was the first and only assignment during their LiD experience. In this school, as well as in the Kindergarten class I wrote about last week, group work and cooperation became a key element of LiD.

Students worked together to create an exhibition space and the rest of the school, even those not involved in LiD, were invited to explore the space and become curious about different topics!

Creativity was part of the experience. One of the teachers recounted:

The wide variety of materials allowed the children to explore freely, where they must solve the problem of how to move from an initial idea to the final result. Often this process requires them to solve problems or use math.”

Students started combining their topics, such as tea and castles. The teacher said:

“They have read that sometimes kings and queens would drink tea inside the castle, so they merged their projects to represent this moment.”

The curiosity of the students kept growing and was impossible to contain! For example:

“A student, working on measurement systems, asked if it is possible to measure light. The question is not easy, so drawing from his experience as a 9-year-old who just discovered the ruler as a measurement tool, he decided to measure the length of the lamp on the ceiling.”

By reading the stories and testimony of students and teachers from Elementary School San Geminiano, I have once again realized how incredible LiD is. In this Italian school students learned how to supervise themselves, develop tools of inquiry, and work co-operatively together.

Interested in Learning More?

You can read more about LiD in Italy in this blog post titled“Reflecting on LiD: The Italian Experience,” and the blog post I wrote last week on Scuola dell’Infanzia Malaguzzi.

More images of the experience of the Elementary students’ experience in Modena can be find online here. All the quotes are translated from Italian and the original “Storie di LiD San Geminiano” can be found online here.



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