Catania, presented “Scintilla”: network of educational centers for children living in the context of educational poverty and social fragility

On Tuesday 7 June at Stella Mission Bambini Catania – Talità Kum Play Area (via Moncada 2), Mission Bambini and Talità Kum presented the association “Scintilla”, the foundation’s new project, which consists of a network of training centers – “Stars” Exactly – dedicated to over 200 children aged 0-6 years and their families living in contexts of educational poverty and socio-economic fragility.

Present was Adriana Lucia Patella, Councilor for Social Services and Policies for the Family in Catania Municipality; Sara Modena, General Manager of Mission Bambini Foundation; Vincenzo Walsh, project manager for the foundation and Don Piero Galvano, director of the diocese of Caritas in Catania, who reminded of the importance of supporting the most fragile families. Introducing guests Giuliana Gianino, President of the Talità Kum Association.

“I am pleased and honored to have taken part in the presentation of the ‘Scintilla’ project started by Mission Bambini with the Talità Kum Association, which for the Librino area represents a virtuous example that has been able to create a community. of parents, educators, psychologists and other local entities to help the little ones. “ Declares Adriana Lucia Patella, councilor for social services and policies for the family in Catania municipality. “Children represent our future, and just as ‘Scintilla’ tells us, they are the real stars, and our commitment is to let their light shine more and more, unite forces and create ever more solid networks in the territory “.

I thank the Mission Bambini Foundation, which with ‘Scintilla’ chooses to stay close to the little ones, offer opportunities for growth, support families, accompany operators, light up smiles on children’s faces, smiles that color the future ”. Adds Giuliana Gianino, president of the Talità Kum Association.

“Like a star, every child shines with its own light, because it has a potential in it that needs to be nurtured and developed: that is why ‘Scintilla’ was born, a network of infant centers and kindergartens that precisely in contexts characterized by strong educational poverty and economic, united to create a constellation of assistance that illuminates the future of children, support families and create a support system in the community in which they live “. With these words, Sara Modena, General Manager of Mission Bambini, describes the project.

The foundation, which has been working with children in difficulty for over 20 years, is launching this project in collaboration with four educational centers run by organizations with which it has collaborated for years in Catania, Sesto San Giovanni (MI), Bari, Naples.

Scintilla’s goal is to welcome children living in difficult socio-economic situations, and for those who come from the most needy families, access to services is guaranteed at reduced prices or in special cases free of charge. Stella Mission Bambini in Catania is located in Librino, a suburb designed in the 70’s with the aim of becoming a kind of model of a satellite city with schools, offices, health centers and productive activities. The project has never been completed, and decades of neglect and degradation have favored the development of ordinary and organized crime: the Librino district today welcomes around 70,000 inhabitants and is characterized by phenomena of marginalization and social discomfort, as well as the chronic lack of services. and poor connections to the center of Catania.

La Stella opens its doors every morning and welcomes around 50 children aged 12 months to 5 years, in the afternoon extra-curricular workshops are arranged, including speech therapy. Some children have behavioral disorders or mild forms of autism: specific activities are dedicated to them. Parents are involved in activities with their children, but they also have moments of group and individual training available to acquire the necessary tools to best accompany the children: workshops, counseling and psychological support, even in person.

Particular attention is dedicated to families: each star has the opportunity to set up a fund to support those living in absolute poverty, exacerbated by the pandemic and the ongoing energy crisis. Access to the fund is governed by the presence of objective parameters for families’ socio-economic situation: Star of Catania works in close collaboration with a network of local entities to capture and support the so-called “invisible families”, ie. not burdened by social benefits but through periods of difficulty. Access to the fund is based on the willingness to actively participate in psycho-educational pathways to support parenting: the main purpose is actually to strengthen the educational role of families, leading them to become an integral part of the “educational communities” on which Mission Bambini is built. territories with intervention. La Stella takes care of some basic needs (for example, with purchase coupons, delivery of basic necessities or support for medical treatment), and the family is committed to becoming the main person in their child’s educational process.

The members of the Stars team receive specific training: For educators, courses on whip-pedagogical themes related to childhood are launched, also thanks to the use of an online platform created ad hoc with multimedia content, handouts and research. To develop an intervention model and increase the social impact generated, a common monitoring system for Stars is envisaged, centered on the educational pathways of children and families. This approach promotes a constant dialogue between the centers’ teams and the department’s experts.

A sustainability manager is also identified with the task of improving economic sustainability and diversifying sources of funding, and a proximity and hospitality operator, which is responsible for creating the so-called educational community, a territorial network of units and services. care for the family and the child.

With “Scintilla”, the Foundation intends to develop an intervention model that can be copied in other contexts and to expand the national network of Stelle to guarantee the protection of children’s rights, especially in situations of fragility. With this goal in mind, it has initiated a collaboration with the Research Center for Intercultural Relations at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan, which has the task of identifying and outlining pedagogical guidelines that are cross-cutting and applicable to all stars and at Support while collecting Data describing the impact that this education system has on the range of children from 0 to 6 years.

In Italy, there are over 5.6 million people living in absolute poverty, of which 1 million and 384 thousand are minors with an incidence of 14.2%. “Scintilla” fits into these contexts of socio-economic and educational fragility, and serves as a concrete response to the lack of services for these families.

The European Council emphasizes that each EU country must guarantee access to childcare services for at least 33% of children aged 0-3 years. In Italy, the percentage is 26.9%, which lacks 100,000 places to reach the goal, and there is a big difference between the geographical areas: opposite a center-north, which with 32% has almost reached the goal, in the south the percentage drops to 13.5%, and the service is guaranteed in less than half of the municipalities (47.6%); in addition, the places in the outlying municipalities are 17.8%. In Catania municipality, the percentage is 6.8%.

(Source: elaboration openpolis – Con in Bambini on Istat data, 2018/2019 https://www.openpolis.it/esercizi/loffer-di-asili-nido-in-italia/)

Info and insight: missionbambini.org/stella/la-stella-di-catania

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