Comeniusproject  “The safe school


Final meeting 2003-2006


 San Casciano di Val di Pesa Italië


11- 16 May 2006

Participated schools : Italy (San Casciano), Czech (Kobyli), England (Kirkby Stephen) and the Netherlands (Haarlem, coordinating school)



The trip



We were leaving Schiphol to go to Pisa for  the final meeting of our third Comenius project “The safe school”. After the arrival at the airport we had timer to go to Sienna and take a look at the famous square  By narrow roads and the busy Italian traffic we were driving in our rent-a-car Fiat Punto by the Chianti road to San Casciano. In the neighborhood we founded Greve with a marvelous wine-tasting shop with more than 100 Chianti wines. After this taste (a few for the driver) we went to our hotel Mary with a wonderful balcony in the sun with a view on the village square. 


The Machiavelli school


We were received hospitably by the principal Patrizia and the English teacher Christina. They introduced all the working people in the school. Beside the teachers and the management is a lot of persons working for supporting several tasks in the school: cleaning, administration, garden, lunches, etc.

In comparison with two years ago the new part of the building was finished and the whole building looks beautiful, a modern palazzo with a view at the beautiful at the Tuscan landscape.  There is lot of space in the whole building for all the activities. The classrooms are smaller  but with 20 children instead 30s in the Netherlands.

The computers are  in a separate classroom. There is a time table when the children can work on the computers. There were children from other countries, Rumania, Albany, and Belgium.  They have their books in backpacks. For every year they get new books.



 Disability children in the school


It’s normal in Italy, that disability children are in the normal school and not in the special school like in Holland. There are restrictions (maximum of 1 in the group) and an additional assistant. The work is difficult, but Ingrid have heard in a meeting with the companions how this is possible in the school. 

There are people with reservations about this solutions, but in Holland are these children outside the life world of “normal” children. In the past they were a part of the village but now they are going to a special school in the morning and they are coming back late in the evening. Only in the weekends and holidays they have contact with other children. We have seen in Italy, that they are talking about these children with much love. It cost a lot of time, money, space and help, but they do it to keep the in the normal school. In the Netherlands is also the willing, but it’s not only a problem with finance and space, but also the acceptation by parents and teachers of the normal school. It will be a long way for us when the change will be in 2010.



Staying in the school at lunch-time 


Also here a  big difference with the Dutch situation. In Italy the Machiavelli school has a very good equipment for the lunch: kitchen, two special rooms, cook and  assistants for more than 500 lunches every day, even for diet children with a good quality. The costs are only a 3 euro a day all in, including lunch. The children are lunching at different times and they can play on the big playground, again a big difference with our standard for the playground. It’s noisy, but that’s probably also a part of the Italian temper.

It’s a good idea of the Dutch parliament that all the schools have the next year possibilities to come for the children from 7 Am till 7 PM, but it’s necessary to have the finances for the building,  the facilities and ancillary workers at least at the level of Italy. We have tasted the excellent quality of the cook, when we have had a welcome dinner with the Italian teachers and participants of the project. It was a wonderful evening with songs from the Czech and the Italian principal with a song and dancing about a crocodile at the end.




Evacuation school exercise


Every month!!! is an exercise for evacuation in case of danger and 1 a year is a very elaborate exercise. The facilities for safety are in this new school very good with everywhere good instructions. Ingrid was a voluntary victim and after the sign the children were leaving the school in a long queue every group  very disciplined. The police, fire-brigade, forest police and ambulance were coming on the school square in a hurry. Ingrid was also coming on a stretcher and after a while in the ambulance she could also see that the children learn a lot about these services. It was also possible for them to participate at the fir-brigade. After the evacuation the principal evaluated the evacuation with all the participants and thanked them all. Perhaps an idea to do this also for our school.  


Food and drinking  


Thank goodness! The ice-saloon in the village with the best Italian ice-cream was open and we enjoy it several times. Also the pasta, Chianti and other Italian courses were superb: in the school, the restaurants in the village, Florence, Sienna, the very nice restaurant very late in the evening with champagne, but the fantastic last evening in an old Italian house from 1450 was a climax of all the dinners with surprising culinary courses and drinks. Then is it difficult to walk up the hill in the direction of the hotel.




San Casciano was a stepping stone for our new project “Cultural heritage” with new schools but perhaps also the Machiavelli school.

We have enjoyed Toscane with the gospels on the square in Sienna, the tourists in the cathedral in Florence, the towers in San Gimigniano, the tower in Pisa, the monastery near San Casciano and many, many other buildings and view in the country.

We want to thank the principal, the staff, teachers and other people of the Italian school for their efforts that week. We are still thinking at that lovely nice week.


Conclusion of the Comenius project  “the safe school”


In these 3 years we have made a Comenius development project, which was more for the school organization then for the children. We have learned a lot of each other and we have much exchanged. We have even tried to participate the children also in the project by plays, lessons and desigans.


Ingrid Luntz-Slooten en Jan van Leeuwen