The DD Vignola consists of 4 primary schools – attended by 1223 children aged 6 to 11 and of 7 preschools (scuole dell’infanzia) attended by 632 children aged 3 to 6. With a total of 1855 children attending its schools, the DD Vignola is one of the biggest school institutions within the Emilia-Romagna Region.
The main areas on which DD Vignola focuses its attention are:
Cooperation with families and local community services
Beyond parents’ meetings that are regularly held throughout the school year, families are engaged in the life of the schools by sharing educational responsibilities with professionals (Patto di Corresponsabilita) and by actively supporting schools’ initiatives through self-organised activities and open events carried out within the local community (Associazione di Comunita Piccoli Passi – Camminare con lu scuola di Vignola). In addition, initiatives for supporting parenthood are organised in collaboration with local health and social services (e.g. organisation of professional conferences for parents).
Inclusion of children with special needs
There are currently 60 special needs children enrolled in DD Vignola. They all attend integrated classes and receive additional support provided by educators, as well as availing of educational projects that are specifically tailored to their needs.
Inclusion of children with migrant background
460 children with a background other than Italian attend the classes at the moment. In order to facilitate their welcoming and inclusion, a specific project focusing on intercultural education has been set up (A scuola nessuno e straniero).
Educational continuity between 0-3 services (“nidi”) – preschool – primary school and lower secondary school
A specific school committee (consisting of 3 preschool teachers, 6 primary school teachers and 3 lower secondary school teachers) has been created in order to elaborate practice for supporting children and families in dealing with transitions from one educational level to the next. The initiatives currently implemented to favour smooth transitions are: inter-professional meetings in order to plan joint initiatives during transitions years (children’s visits and exchanges with pupils attending the next school level), the use of pedagogical documentation as a tool for sharing information about children’s learning and socialising processes with families and professionals across transitions, individual and collective meetings with parents to accompany transitions between school levels.
The use of information and learning technologies
Interactive white boards are available in all school buildings and the school website it is regularly updated with recent projects and initiatives and their documentation.
Children’s familiarisation with books and storytelling from an early age
In order to promote a positive attitude of children toward reading and storytelling, “reading nests” have been created in each preschool of DD Vignola. They represent cosy corners for children to hide and read books or tell stories.
Cultural activities (e.g. junior choir and musical activities)
Since 2005, a project of intergenerational mentoring has been carried out in collaboration with university students for supporting the social inclusion of those children who are experiencing relational difficulties. Currently, 55 university students are volunteering within this project by mentoring young children in DD Vignola pre- and primary schools.
Throughout the years, DD Vignola carried out substantial investments in the continuing professional development of teachers and on their ongoing pedagogical support. For this reason, a scientific advisory boards was established 10 years ago in order to avail of the advice of professional experts for the ongoing improvement of educational and didactic methodologies.