L’INCHIOSTRO Cooperative Martina Chimentelli EUROSOCIALNETWORK LA COOP-ERTA DI LINUS
The Cooperative L’Inchiostro is active in the area called Valdarno Fiorentino and works in the educational and recreational field for public bodies and private citizens.
Thanks to the work of 42 educators it tries to contribute to the development of social and cultural integration.
The co-op offers:
school and afterschool educational services addressed to minors with disabilities and in social and family hardship conditions;
playgrounds for children from 6 to 11 years old;
pre- and after school services;
summer camps for children from 3 to 13 years old;
La coop-erta di Linus (Linus’blanket) for minors from 7 to 15 years old;
the afterschool service Compiti Amici (Homework friends) for minors with specific learning disabilities.
The territory: Area of Valdarno Fiorentino Population: 46,000 Area: sq. km 273 Municipalities of: Incisa in Val d’Arno Figline Valdarno Reggello Rignano sull’Arno EUROSOCIALNETWORK TITOLO
LA COOP-ERTA DI LINUS (LINUS’BLANKET) After school service opened from Monday to Friday from 2 pm to 7 pm : group and individual activities aimed at school help, socialization, active participation, positive use of free time . Users: minors of primary and lower secondary schools (7 – 13 years old). Some users, who are in need for education help , might come from upper secondary schools. The majority of users shows both cognitive and relational difficulties : learning difficulties or inadequate relational abilities, which come from social and family hardship conditions and psychic disability. The users are sent by the local social services or directly engaged by families. The former pay a daily fee and the latter a monthly fee. The service has been opened in 2007 thanks to the financings of the Municipalities of the Valdarno Fiorentino area and to a fund of the Community Health Partnership of the South-eastern area of Florence. EUROSOCIALNETWORK TITOLO
Goals referring to the social inclusion of children and teenagers and to the development of life abilities:
face possible difficulties in school life and the acquisition of the best possible autonomy;
promote the participation to social life and the development of autonomy;
favour the development of expressive interests and attitudes;
encourage to a responsible and active use of free time;
promote the concept of rules of civilness as focus for the promotion of the ability to choose consciously and to be active as citizen;
favour educational continuity between primary and secondary school.
Number of users according to dwelling Municipality EUROSOCIALNETWORK TITOLO
Opening period: October– May of every year In summer the users are welcomed in the summer camps on the territory Days of attendance: Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 11 – 15 years old teenagers Tuesday and Thursday: 7 – 10 years old children EUROSOCIALNETWORK TITOLO Daily attendances
Study activity (2 pm-4.30 pm)
2/3 homogenous groups according to age are formed on the basis of specific study needs.
The educators provide a close support for those people who show major difficulties in the preparation of school tasks (schemes, summaries, research projects) and encourage to cooperate through a mutual help among equals .
The execution of homework is based on scheduling and planning in order to promote autonomy and overcome anxieties.
A PC with connection to the Internet is provided for research projects and in-depth research.
During the school year the educators meet the teachers with the purpose of agreeing on school targets and favouring a major effectiveness of their intervention.
sit down autonomously at the desks and organize the necessary material for studying;
write homeworks alone, asking for the help of an adult only when difficulties arise;
organize school work in a self-sufficient way without depending on the control on part of the educators.
The circle (4.30 pm-5 pm)
moment of daily meeting between educators and users in order to favour thinking in group and free communication .
The circle precedes the snack break and is based on simple rules : people talk one at a time, it is necessary to raise one’s hand in order to take the turn, people decide together on the emerged proposals; people listen without interrupting when others are speaking.
organization of the circle with chairs in a self-sufficient and responsible way;
express oneself in a group without being afraid of others’ judgement or being ashamed;
listen to others and wait for the own turn to talk;
spontaneously ask for the circle to discuss problems arisen during the day.
Children and teenager can freely use the spaces and instruments provided by the structure (games, stereo, computer, painting and DIY material,….).
The participants develop the abilities of civilness , self-organization , cooperation and take their own responsibilities towards the use of the available resources.
Children and teenagers are involved in the daily works behind the organization of the activities: the arrangement and the cleaning of the spaces, the purchase of the snack and of the necessary materials.
use of the objects without wasting and with respect;
autonomously cleaning of the spaces and of the materials;
organization in groups for workshops and games;
pointing out the finishing materials;
carrying out of little daily tasks (throw the rubbish away, sweep, clean the tables, organize the materials,…)
administrate little amounts of money for little expenses such as the snack.
Game activities (5 pm– 6.30 pm)
game workshops aimed at developing efficient games starting from waste materials.
games with the playbus in the streets of the town, where integration with people of all ages, who can freely play together with the boys and girls, is promoted
promoting a game culture as positive factor of expression, union, relation and communication among people;
employment of waste materials for playing and having fun;
proposing and sharing games with children and teenagers met outside the cooperative.
Role-playing games (5 pm-6.30 pm)
Role-plays employ fantasy and imagination for proposing situations close to reality, in which the abilities of cooperation and collaboration of the users are tried out and encouraged .
It is an important instrument: it allows working on acceptance of the self and of others, on the development of tolerance and solidarity, on the ability to express one’s own moods and thoughts in a constructive way and on the ability to coordinate the relation between thoughts and emotions .
long-term attention and concentration;
confrontation with others and union of different points of view, negotiate with others the meanings and take uniform decisions;
correct and improve one’s own behaviours through the actions of the own character;
self-regulate one’s own behaviour around the gaming table;
practice in maths, verifying the roll of the dice (the dice have twenty faces and the results of every roll are compared with some statistics on the character’s file);
express and tell with imagination and fantasy;
face and solve practical problems relating to the actions of the characters.
Outside activities (5 pm-6.30 pm)
Swimming pool: children with greater social difficulties because of cognitive or psychic frailties.
group of teenage girls physical activity with music. Occasion of experiencing some opportunities for the free time and consolidating the group through a positive and healthy activity.
“ rowdier” children and teenagers , physical activity in order to favour the shaping of self-trust and the ability to respect rules.
Outside activities in the off hand meeting centres of the town, in order to favour relationships among equals, union and integration through the offer of games and varied activities
greater autonomy in the self- and body care; greater attention to taking care of one’s own things and to the preparation of the materials for the activities;
greater attention against the waste of resources;
greater ability to interact in public situations;
experience of some territorial activities for the free time.
In cooperation with the territorial social services, particularly with the midwifes of the Birth Centre (Centro Nascite), we are carrying out a project of prevention based on affective education and emotional learning and on information transmission .
The project is addressed to teenage boys and girls born in families unable to support them in a normal growth.
Support the participants in facing positively the psycho-physical changes connected to puberty.
Prevent unsuitable and harmful behaviour for one’s own and others’ dignity.
Prevent precocious pregnancies.
Ease the sense of one’s own body and the sensibility for emotions.
Ease the exchange and the dialogue among equals and with adults on topics regarding feelings and emotions.
Provide correct information on: puberty/sexuality/pregnancy.
Allow the meeting with the services and specialists active on the territory and in the field of midwifery/gynaecology.
Means of transportation
Because of the size and the characteristics of the territory it has been essential to organize a service of transportation of the participants from home or school to the cooperative and back.
The transport is directly provided by the educators.
With time we started working on the skill of using public means of transportation and of moving in a self-sufficient way, buying train tickets and learning how to read the train schedules.
ease the participation of children;
strengthen the educational relationship and communicate in a little group, become familiar with others and joke together.
establish more informal and frequent contact with the families and teachers.
The relationship with the families
The parents often address to this service because of difficulties of the son/daughter both in the performance and in the behaviour at school.
The condition of juvenile distress is often related to a context of isolation and socio-cultural poverty of the family, which does not want to take its responsibilities towards the arising difficulties.
In order to promote a major integration and cooperation with the families , a party is organised every year at the end of the activities.
invest in the construction of a relationship based on trust and respect in order to strengthen the possibilities of change both for the children and for the family;
overcome the initial distrust in order to favour the attention and the sharing of the educational goals;
support and promote the parents in their role and distinguish it from that of the cooperative.
The involved educators Cooperate in the project: 4 / 5 qualified educator or community animator or social workers for excluded people; 1 coordinator of the service; experts for the workshops 1 psychologist Assessments: 2 annual assessments with the social services of the involved Municipalities. 1 internal planning meeting and one internal assessment per month. Contacts with the social workers for the single educational projects if necessary. EUROSOCIALNETWORK TITOLO