New Humanity Movement

Social Harmony and Art

scuolaIn Montopoli in Valdarno, in the hamlet of Capanne, municipality, associations, citizens and professionals got together, in order to complete the project of a new kindergarten, that could serve the whole community. It is an innovative and leading experience, that brought together with abundant enthusiasm adults and kids; sharing is here a specific element of novelty, in particular with regards to the way things are done.

by Paolo Balduzzi - from Rome
Due to its imposing fortifications, Giovanni Boccaccio, a famous Middle Ages Italian writer, called it “Castello Insigne” (Distinguished Castle). Two mice are contained in the town coat of arms and they recall the Latin name “Mons Teupale” (Mountain of the mole), from which it seems the town originally got its name. An ancient history made up of hundreds-year-old traditions and  etruscan presences, which are given evidence by a number of ancient finds discovered in archeological sites: Montopoli in Valdarno represents one of the most interesting settlements of the Pisa hinterland, just few steps away from the Tuscany coast. Its inhabitants are simple, kind, hardworking persons: they feel they are still strongly connected to an active community, that sees its stronghold in its history. All this occurs, without rejecting all the opportunities, that the normal time evolution brings about, and offers to all its inhabitants.

The settling of Capanne, one of the hamlets of the town, dates back to the last century, when the marquis Giuseppe Orazio Pucci helped in giving a considerable stimulus to the whole sorrounding, when he built a chapel and expanded the family house. Among the remains of that period, it is worth mentioning the remarkable Oratorio of San Vincenzo Ferrari, built in 1827, whose attached building was the family house of these Florence nobles.

Now as in the past, in Capanne its farsighted inhabitants continue to generate ever new opportunities, that soon become events: they represent real development possibilities, for the life of the whole community.
An example of all of this took place on April 24th 2009, when the new kindergarten was opened, named after Mons. Enzo Terreni. Enzo Terreni was pastor of the Capanne Parish for more than 60 years and is very well remembrered, thanks to all the initiatives he undertook to help his congregation, besides cultivating friendly relationships with all the inhabitants, both believers and non-believers, and with all the town administrations. His action was so effective, that the agreement about the naming of the kindergarten was unanimous. With the beginning of this year, the school is running for a full academic term.

Per se, nothing would be more normal for a responsible town administration, than organizing proper
inauguration ceremonies, and taking care of the construction of all those buildings, that are necessary for the social life of the population. However, at Capanne, something different took place, and it is the mayor herself that tells us what happened: “This scholl is finally here, a functional, modern, and “green” structure, and it stands as a practical example for the development and  realization of works of public interest. The effort of the town administration has been one of a long range investment, with the foreseable capacity of satisfying all the needs of an evergrowing number of children; indeed the number of Capanne inhabitants has considerably grown in the last few years.”

Since the inception of the project, everybody has been aware that the school, a place where kids learn, but at the same time build fruitful relationships with each other and with the teachers, had to be analyzed and built, precisely keeping all these characteristics in mind. Another important aspect, that played a role in the project, was the consciousness that a healthy environment, fully dedicated to the kids, was an asset, that would bring about a positive development for the whole community and its families. Therefore, starting from 2003, the school project was developed by the administration, together with associations, both profit and no-profit, and simple citizens, and the school is the result of a participation work, that gave the community the chance to be a real protagonist.

As Dr. Angelo Bottai (the project manager engineer) explains, children are the real main characters of this  endeavour: “A town that wants to grow, has to think of the present, and of the future of its children. Moreover, offering a place where the buildings, the environmental comfort, and all the educational structures are studied and chosen, so that the new generations' creativity is stimulated, and the kids' potentials are brought to light, is definitely the best thing that the town administration and the sponsor can do, in order to best satisfy all the needs of the community.”

Dr. Bottai belongs here and during the inauguration ceremony he recalled that “every single hamlet is very well socially characterized, and the kids cannot go from home to school and vice versa by themselves. In order to offer a true aid to the families, a particular happy location was picked up, in an open place, that can serve all the Capanne families.”

Here is the result: 1287 square meters that make up a building surrounded by a large, green area, to be used for outdoor educational activities.  The four classes can host up to 120 children, and are characterized by nice pastel colors. The building is extra designed for energy saving, with a photovoltaic device, that produces at the same time electric energy and hot water. It is an environment specifically designed for children, without sharp objects whatsoever: all the technical facilities are far from the places where the kids usually are, and this guarantees an even larger safety, taking into account also the acoustical pollution, that machines usually produce.

Roberto Cipollone, a sculptor from Abruzzi, has lived in the hills close to Florence for a lot of years; he contributed in making more comfortable all the rooms, where the teaching activities take place. “I was invited to take part in this project by the local Cultural Association, which is very active in town, with a particular attention to children. I built some cement portholes, and I painted them (this is something I do not usually do, but in this case I thought it was right to take into proper account the sensibility of the kids). I emphasized the recycling aspect whenever possible, as I think it is an important educational factor for children.
During the inauguration ceremony, we saw kids jumping into toys, in a structure that perfectly fits their needs, and give shine to the whole town. I think that the outer part is particularly interesting, the parking lot, designed up to its smallest details. What struck me most was the lively partecipation  both of the people and the architect, all completely satisfied; even when setting up the scaffolding, local people volunteered, to help the ones in need.
I think that the “Enzo Terreni” kindergarten is a successful example of collaboration of citizens and authorities, with a complete satisfaction of all the major needs of the community.
It is the beginning of a new kind of development, that will give to Capanne a different aspect, and shows in sharing a distinctive working feature.”
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