20 September 2010 - The new eni nursery school is part of a series of projects being implemented by the company under its Welfare Project which it launched in 2007 to improve people's wealth by providing them with support mechanisms to assist both personal and professional needs.
The new premises, built around the idea of putting the welfare of children and the community first, have been developed based on research into avant-garde experiences both in Italy and abroad and is based on best practices across a range of areas, from the optimal dialogue between teaching practices and school architecture, to organisational and management models.
From a learning perspective, the eni nursery school offers the children a rich environment, full of chances to explore and express themselves in various languages, be it through design, pictures, manipulation and movement.
In terms of its educational approach, the project is reinforced by the programme for 0 to 6 year olds continuing from nursery through to elementary school level. The continuity is a response to changes in research in teaching practices which have highlighted new skill sets evidenced in children's behaviour.
The architectural project has been developed in line with the educational needs of the school. The premises, which comprise several classrooms (2,800 sq. m plus 3,000 sq. m. of gardens and playing fields), furnishings, colours, lighting, materials and acoustics, are aimed at stimulating all aspects of the educational development of children. Furthermore, the project also strongly embraces the concept of environmental sustainability, which also means it falls within energy class A. The premises incorporate the use of solar and photovoltaic panels and natural materials which are eco-compatible and recyclable, and also feature a rainwater harvesting system.
The new nursery school will involve innovative research into the various forms of language and communication such as music and musical education, aimed at encouraging children to listen to their environment and understand how they act and move within that environment.
The same approach will be adopted in terms of nature and science, and will be aimed at acquiring scientific knowledge. This area of the school shall be built to facilitate the spontaneous observation of nature, the formation of fundamental questions about "how the world works", to facilitate exploration, and to reflect on thoughts concerning biological objects that attract children's attention, such as a new plant beginning to bud, an animal running or a fruit discovered amongst the plant's leaves.
The presence of native English speaking teachers will become part of the children's daily experience, communication and play, so they will be able to increase the development of their social skills and support a flexible, open-minded, pluralistic outlook.
The use of the spaces and the furnishings planned for certain areas will play an important part in the overall identity of the school, as they create a way of living and learning which should, like a laboratory, provide an environment for the children to experiment, construct and learn individually. This all contributes to giving everyone their own identity: from the children, to families, to nursery school workers.
The studios and mini studios dedicated to each age group are places where the children can experiment with languages on a daily basis (through digital, analogical, words, signs and art) in addition to those relating to the body, sound and theatre. The relationship between the different areas in the school is another key aspect and characterises the idea that the nursery and the school are a single point of contact in terms of education. This is reinforced by the choice of transparency between the classrooms and the presence of communal areas, "courtyards", which help foster interactivity between everyone involved, between the place itself and the people who use it.
The relationship between the internal and the external environment offers the children in this environment the chance to listen to and engage with the natural environment in the park surrounding the nursery. The school uses installations which are designed to encourage children to play in the wind, rain and sounds both in the gardens surrounding the building and the terrace, which will be used as an observation point for the gardens from the various viewpoints available to the children.
The premises incorporate large windows and skylights inside the classrooms which mean the children can always see the sky, even when they are lying down.
The furnishings and the choice of lighting are important tools used to connect the children with the learning environment. The items of furniture and objects are tailor made for the premises and create a landscape of matter which can be experienced using all five senses, in symphony with the children's cognitive processes and centred around a real union of the senses.
To construct and create the pedagogical, organisational and management project, eni made use of Reggio Children's help, in collaboration with the Faculty of Education at the Bicocca University of Milan.
Reggio Children, an internationally renowned organisation, has been involved in research and collaboration projects with both private and public organisations, universities, research centres and national and international education and culture centres, thanks to an international network which to date has seen more than 20 countries involved.
Last updated on 18/10/10