Let’s save the last day of school

Click on Zoom’s Leave Meeting button. So Mary, Riccardo’s mother, imagines the last day of school of her son, who went out of class on an anonymous Thursday in March, never to return to his five-year-old classmates. The fateful moment of June is approaching when every year, between the excitement for the incipient summer and the emotion for the end of childhood, almost half a million children build images of their first past, an album of memories made of the faces of friends who perhaps will never meet again in life, or maybe yes, when you grow up, like in those films where suddenly one appears in front of you and says: Hey, do you remember me? We went to school together. That moment, this year, won’t be there. Or, at most we will be on Zoom. Leave Meeting. ID 83814751325. Throughout your life, Riccardo, with these two words you will remember that you have finished your primary school. It is no coincidence that it is called the school cycle. Why a small Era in a person’s story.

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Simona, mother of a student from Milan

Simona, also a mother of a fifth grade pupil, but in Milan, where the premature farewell to school even earlier, he says that now that jump from one cycle to another, to which so much of the last four months usually devote, will be a leap in the dark. We went home that Friday in February to prepare the suitcase for Nature School, departure scheduled for Monday, first experience, longed for and awaited by the children, worthy closure of a wonderful five-year period, and we have never returned. And thus began the period in which we parents – writes Anna – have been daily educators, therapists, doctors, psychologists, teachers and professors, animators, mechanics, plumbers, creative craftsmen, cooks, tailors, domestic workers, coaches, hairdressers … The family, the largest Italian company, has never closed. Another parent, Michele, recounts the curse that chased his son: he lost the first day of elementary school five years ago because he ran into a teachers’ strike against good school, he lost the last day this year because he ran into the virus. Children – he says disconsolate – always come last.

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DAD, distance learning

Of the educational, educational, didactic damages, which the definitive and premature end of the school year, deliberated too early not to think that its reasons are not only health, but organizational, and perhaps also trade union, many have already written in this newspaper. The teachers have often – not always – performed miracles with the DAD, the acronym that stands for distance learning – but the teaching staff – Paolo Di Stefano noted – is called the body not by chance: it is really difficult to teach children between six and ten years of age remotely. However, little has been said about the social damage that the void left by the school involves at that age. Because growth and maturation are made above all of relationships. And precisely these have completely disappeared. Indeed, worse, they have turned into virtual relationships. If it is difficult for adults to keep alive a friendship, an affective balance at a distance, only on WhatsApp, for the archipelago of misunderstandings, confusions, here pro quo that a digital relationship inevitably brings with it, let alone for a child that means get by in a class chat. Quarrels and jealousies from playgrounds, in normal times relativized by physical triangulation, body language, laughter, a joke, a push, the arrival of another friend, the presence of an adult, become absolute on the net, and they look like tragedies, fracture friendships that were thought eternal, return a feeling of irremediable solitude. Perhaps this is why a lot of research indicates a different response to the lockdown by adolescents, who have generally been less emotionally overwhelmed and more capable of recovering the relationship with their parents: because teenagers already had a virtual relationship practice, and were able to manage them better . But for the youngest children it was a too early debut, an accelerated course to the unsociable sociability of mankind, which caused a heap of pain, certainly recoverable at that age, but no less disturbing. We know it was difficult to do otherwise. And after all it’s too late to make comparisons with other countries that are reopening schools first, first of all because you had to think in time (you have to think in time also for September) and then why not that other countries have always done more right of us. But undeniable that the nightlife has reopened and the school is not.

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Solidarity correspondence

On the anniversary of Aldo Moro’s death, I happened to read a booklet by Umberto Gentiloni on the Solidarity correspondence, the ten thousand messages sent by ordinary people to the statesman’s family during and after his kidnapping. Most of them were letters from primary school children, in groups or alone, who were elaborating on the national tragedy everyone was talking about, even at home, together with teachers and teachers. The result was a collective exercise in civic education that greatly helped to elaborate the drama that lived the nation, and helped to keep it up. Faced with the coronavirus, the absence of the school was also this: the extinction of the torch of reason, of dialogue between equals and Incalculable damage. But perhaps still remediable, at least symbolically. If only it were allowed, I don’t say everywhere, I don’t say for everyone, even just one class per city, respecting all health rules, maybe outdoors, in a courtyard or in a park, to a group of Italian children to say goodbye to their companions, to mark the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. There is a member of the government, Deputy Minister Ascani, who says it is possible. Why don’t we try at least? It would be worth even more than a flight over the Frecce Tricolori, to give confidence and to testify obstinacy.

May 25, 2020 (change May 25, 2020 | 22:27)

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