Saturday Morning (Intercultural) School. Guest post by Maria Flora Mangano.
NOTE: Maria Flora Mangano has previously written about dialogue as a space of relationship (2020, 2018, 2017, 2014) as long-term followers of this site will remember.
Since the end of 2021, I have been involved in an after-school activity for 4 to 12-year-olds. This volunteer work supports pupils doing their homework once a week, on Saturday mornings. This activity was created by a teacher at the beginning of the current school term, in October 2021, and it takes place in a parish of the city center of my town, Viterbo, near Rome. The initial aim was to reach non-Italian children from the city center, which is mostly inhabited by non-native families. In a short time, additional children arrived from different zones of the town and the surroundings.
What the children experience at home, with relatives and friends of their parents’ culture, often coexists, interacts, and enriches – we may say “is in dialogue” – with what they experience at school, as well as in this after-school activity. At the same time, their daily sharing with Italian and non-Italian people (peers, teachers, or neighbors, for instance) feeds their knowledge, and it frequently provides precious input to their families. Some, in fact, help their parents in improving their understanding of the Italian language, in talking, reading, or writing; others assist Italian people (even us) to better understand their parents’ and family’s needs.
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