TLI Research: A trip to Parma
Last week two of our #TeamTLI colleagues journeyed to Parma, Italy, to take part in an Erasmus+ Natural Schooling Innovation Project transnational event.
The Erasmus+ Natural Schooling project is a cooperative partnership, with partners in Italy, Spain, the UK and Sweden, which is being led by The Learning Institute and Westcountry Schools Trust. This cooperative partnership aims to highlight the learning and wellbeing benefits provided by natural schooling, and is producing a set of innovative training tools and resources designed to help integrate natural schooling into the curriculum.
The primary goal of the Erasmus+ cooperation partnerships is to allow organisations to increase their capacity to operate jointly at transnational level, boosting internationalisation of their activities, and exchanging or developing new practices and methods as well as sharing and confronting ideas. You can read more about the Erasmus+ priorities here.
Day one of the three transnational days was a meet and greet, followed by a cultural trip and guided tour of the family run Barilla factory, the biggest pasta factory in the world! The factory provides support for the local schools and communities, and it was clear that sustainability, passion, commitment, equality and inclusion underpin the business. This was followed by a management meeting back at Don Milani middle school with all partners, focusing on the creation and updating of the Erasmus+ Natural Schooling project website, being developed by our Spanish partners.
Day two started with a presentation of two Don Milani Middle school Natural Schooling innovation projects; the ‘School of Ants’ - a citizen science project based on ant colonies, linked to Parma University, and 'Beauty and Biodiversity’ showing how ecological corridors can be planned and created in a local park and the impact that this has on the biodiversity of the area.
This was followed by a guided tour of the flora and fauna of the Parma river (a tributary of the river Po), led by Don Milani middle school pupils, followed by a guided tour of the Parma large stream, its bridges and history, led by students from the upper secondary school Romagnosi. We really appreciated the participation of the children and students and their bravery explaining things in English - not their first language.
Day 3 was a guided tour of the historic centre of Parma led by one of the Don Milani teachers who happened to be an art historian. He helped us to see, not just look.
The next transnational event will be held in St Austell, Cornwall, in December.
If you are interested in a Natural Schooling approach, then join the TLI Natural Schooling research interest group (RIG). Our next meeting is 17th November at 17.30 hrs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.