Values

Our thoughts and goals for the school, our ethos, philosophies on academics and vision is a work in progress; a living and breathing concept that continues to evolve, and we hope will continue to evolve together with the other families and teachers that have joined this project and community for many years to come.

The children start each day with time outside, rain or shine. They stroll and play in the valley and hills behind the farm. They help collect the eggs daily, and learn the basics of creating meals from what we have in our back yard. We will continue to have a wider range of animals for the children to interact with and help take care of, learning the cycle of not only food, but the seasons and the importance of how we interact with nature. The children help harvest seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as forage for chestnuts, mushrooms and many other wild greens and goodies that our generous hills have to offer us. They help harvest the grapes and make their own wine with the Village Forest School label that we release the following spring of that harvest at our Schools Open day.

The children spend time both in one of the three 50 square-metre yurts, as well as in an indoor space in the main cascina. The yurts are constructed entirely of natural and non-toxic materials, thanks to Lucie’s biological building experience and knowledge. The yurts have a wood stove for heating, and a sperate wooden structure which houses two bathrooms and a sink. The yurts all have electricity and lots of natural light both from the doors and windows as well as the cupola. The children also spend time in the large second floor space in the cascina that has one big open floor plan with a long shared table for the time they will spend indoors on academics.

There is a full kitchen and large bathroom in the indoor classroom for cooking lessons, lunch time and snack time. The only internet will be in this indoor space which will be used only at the discretion of the teachers.

While they are beautiful spaces and important to have, the yurts and the room in the cascina are second to the wild nature of these hills... the majority of the children’s day is spent outside exploring our forests and fields, alive and to be shared with all the beautiful living creatures big and small.

Our beliefs

  • An education should encapsulate all areas of development: social, academic, emotional, physical, spiritual.
  • An education should be focused on developing well-rounded individuals with confidence in their abilities, and a breadth of learning and knowledge, not solely on preparing children to remember enough isolated facts to score highly in exams.
  • Children should be helped to develop a sense of self, of their own context; so that as they learn to use their minds and critical faculties (the academic and educational core), they are doing so with the benefit of a strong foundational set of morals and beliefs
  • An outdoor setting offers countless ways to teach creatively, to imbue an appreciation of nature, as well as focusing on practical skills.
  • A school on a farm or a vineyard could introduce children to the food chain, and also to the work required to produce the food that appears on our plate at every meal. Animals will also eventually be part of the farm we hope. We want the children to participate not only in taking care of the animals, but even in preparing their own meals.
  • A school day should be a balanced ratio of time spent learning and time spent playing, exploring and exercising imagination.
  • Children should be introduced to sports as a means of helping them find something they love and will carry forward, as a way to develop the concept of teamwork, to help develop physical fitness, strength and coordination, and emotional resiliency
  • Art and music are great ways of finding expression and of calming, as well as of developing an appreciation for beauty; and would be a core part of a curriculum; as would some form of mindfulness – meditation, yoga etc.
  • Ideally, a teacher will find the balance between being a figure of authority and guidance, on the one hand; and being a champion and a mentor of each child, helping them to unlock their abilities and build confidence in their capacity to handle challenges – academic and otherwise – independently.
  • Social skills and awareness are a critical component of a child’s education, and the environment in which they learn should emphasize and promote the development of inclusive friendships, of mutual respect, of awareness and tolerance of intellectual, racial and behavioral differences.
  • A school, or any place where children spend a lot of time, should be healthy – free of environmental pollution to the extent possible; we emphasize organic, natural/unprocessed food, an environment free of wireless radiation (mobile phones, WiFi etc) and largely free of exposure to chemicals.
  • While interaction beyond the school day, and beyond the pupils, should never be forced, there is a benefit to school and home being a sort of continuum, and certainly a benefit to the values of both being aligned; building a sense of community around the school, providing opportunity for extra-curricular interaction and for families to get to know each other, should be facilitated and gently encouraged.
  • As Funds and participation allow, field trips exploring the vast nature and beauty that Piedmont has to offer will also be an important piece of their experience. We would hope and encourage the parents to participate in these field trips as much as possible.

Learning

Setting

  • All of the various settings that the children will spend time in will be 100% toxin/chemical free and organic in every way; both inside and outdoors.
  • There will be no wi-fi in the Yurt nor in the Cascina classroom. Technology will be used sparingly or not at all, only at the teachers discretion, and only for learning.

Philosophy

  • We strive to develop the whole child - socially, emotionally, physically, spiritually and academically.
  • The children will be encouraged to look for similarities with other children, rather than focusing on differences - gender, race, religion, ability.
  • Nature and the outdoor environment surrounding us will always be one of our 'head' teachers.
  • We celebrate differences, and invite children of varying special needs to be a part of our school and community.
  • We emphasise learning to work together in communities, with the children learning life skills, but not leaving behind imagination and story telling.
  • Art, athletics and music in all of their forms will make up a substantial part of our weekly curriculum.
  • We have a holistic approach not only to learning, but to teaching, and living

Academics

  • All age groups will be together for parts of the day, especially to greet one another and start the day in circle, but also be broken up daily based not only on age but academic levels.
  • Reaching academic milestones will be child led. Academics are important to us, but academics are not one size fits all. Subjects will be introduced to all children, and they will then be guided as they are ready, being celebrated for what comes easily to them, and supported in what is more challenging for each individual child.
  • Children will work as groups, and will be encouraged to help one another with problem solving both in academics and in the fields, gardens, and forests.

Where We Are?

Cascina Iuli, Via Centrale 27
15020 Montaldo di Cerrina

Give Us a Call

Mon-Fri 8:30 - 15:30
+39 014 294 6657