The multiethnic school that welcomes young Ukrainians: “The other children help translate”

Milan, 24 May 2022 The school’s facade is covered with drawings. Messages of peace, inclusion and solidarity which reflects the identity of the institution. Mattei-Di Vittorio by Pioltello it’s like this: a multi-ethnic place where 2000 children from all parts of the world live together in peace and in the name of integration. An idea for a school that is true to the neighborhood in which it is deployed, satellites, the heart of different cultures, but perfectly capable of coexisting.

For a few weeks he has welcomed thirteen Ukrainian children. They are still struggling with Italian, ad help teachers in translation are the other small. Alina at 9, who started in primary school in Pioltello. And the other Moldovans who understand the language and try to facilitate their classmates in the first days of school. “Our strength is to have students from all over the world. There is one continuous cultural exchange, not just in class. “Angela Spinelli, teacher and head of Intercultura, talks about the institute.” We study the subjects in Italian, we ask the little ones to all speak the same language. We explain the language to newcomers through drawings and objects, to each of these we associate a word which they repeat ».

The comprehensive Mattei-Di Vittorio Institute of Pioltello

Integration model

That Mattei-Di Vittorio has nine buildings in general Pioltello’s area divided between childhood, primary school and middle school. The institute hosts children from 74 different ethnic groups, some classes consist exclusively of foreign children. The proportion of small Italians is 52%. A winning model for integration and cultural exchange, from the earliest school years. The frequent use of the English language, the sharing of experiences and traditions, played out in the huge green courtyard of the institute to unite the group. “Children learn to socialize and accept diversity. To the traditional didactic paths, we also add the understanding of the languages ​​of the countries the students come from.” Salvatore Longobardi is the school director for the department. “We have Eritrean, Somali, Argentine, Peruvian, Bengali, Egyptian, Moroccan, Romanian students. A melting pot of nationality, which is the added value of our school.”

In addition to educational activities, the children stay at the department until the afternoon of draw or play in the yard. First, they all meet in the huge school canteen: they walk down the stairs in one file, neatly, by hand. And when they eat, they laugh and joke with each other. “A few days ago, the parents of an Egyptian child brought couscous to us, it was a nice gesture.” Roberta Letizia, vice-principal, is among those who know Mattei-Di Vittorio best: “I have been teaching at this school for 35 years, Pioltello comes to mind precisely because it has a multi-ethnic social substance that makes teaching a professional profession. . It represents the whole world with its colorful and joyful nature. Children like to come to school because they find a healthy and welcoming environment. The welcome of the little Ukrainians

The comprehensive Mattei-Di Vittorio Institute of Pioltello
The comprehensive Mattei-Di Vittorio Institute of Pioltello

Shortly after the war started, they are the first Ukrainian children arrived. “We are aware of the relational part – explains Ivan Taurino, religion teacher – we focus on emotions and socialization. I see them calm, they are happy to be in school. They are probably not so scared because they come from areas that are not directly involved in the conflict, although it is still difficult to leave their home and their habits. They started from scratch. “There’s David, he’s in fourth grade –
explains Angela Spinelli -. At first he was very shy, introverted. Then I thought about letting him play football with the other guys he opened up right away. Thanks to “football,” as he puts it, he smiles again. He also scored three goals against the biggest, he was very happy. Sport can help a lot in integration ». “Another little girl who opened her heart to me is Alla. In Ukraine, she had a support teacher, as soon as I met her, she hugged me immediately. Despite what he has been through, he only knows how to laughs, he is special “. Hospitality is a key word for the Pioltello school. Here diversity is an added value. There are no barriers, even if they do not communicate with the same language, the little ones are able to understand each other. Between homework, drawings and run in the yard: it’s enough for them. Get together and smile.

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