A summer of opportunities to learn and play, to leave no one behind

An initiative that offers boys and girls of different ages in vulnerable situations the opportunity to learn together, also through games, in a safe environment. That strives to fight both learning loss and the decrease in motivation caused by the prolonged school closures, taking action against the risks of a further increase in Italy’s educational poverty and early school leaving.

Arcipelago educativo (www.arcipelagoeducativo.it) is an innovative pilot project ideated and co-designed by Save the Children and Fondazione Agnelli, implemented in collaboration with a network of local partners and made possible by the support of Fondazione Bolton Hope Onlus. Its goal is to foster the psychophysical wellbeing of children and teenagers, the consolidation and recovery of basic and transversal competencies, the ability to form relationships with peers and a more fitting educational environment at home.

The project stems from the will to actively respond to the urgent needs that are arising this summer, still marked by the Covid-19 emergency; its ambition is to define an educational programme with organisational solutions, best practices and a national-level model that may still be meaningful, useful and able to inspire in the future, after we will have put the emergency behind us.

Arcipelago educativo will bring new value to previous experiences and partnerships, launching in 6 cities in its first year (Turin, Milan, Venice Marghera, Aprilia, Naples and Bari), at 8 of the Fuoriclasse educational centres and Punti Luce promoted by Save the Children in neighbourhoods with high educational poverty rates, with 16 dedicated spaces (Spazi Futuro) where kids will experiment every day new ways to learn while having fun.

The first edition of the initiative will engage over 500 children from primary school and junior secondary school, coming from 13 different institutes and 35 different locations. Collaboration with schools is one of the pillars of the project. Teachers are entrusted with identifying the students that face the most difficulties, defining their learning needs and co-designing with operators their individual remedial plans, so they can prepare to return to school in September. Another pillar is the collaboration with families: all parents are invited to sign a pact of co-responsibility, committing to support their children’s educational journey as they take part in the project. The programme will extend over 12 weeks, with each participant attending 12 hours a week of class (9 in the classroom and 3 remotely, online). Furthermore, the project will allow anyone who works with minors in educational centres, in school or at home to access resources and experiences online (risorse.arcipelagoeducativo.it).

The pilot edition will be monitored in order to identify its most relevant aspects, which will be modelled on a larger scale project – which will be subject to impact assessment starting next year.

“The crucial importance of curtailing the loss of learning and basic competencies after this long period where schools were closed is nothing new,” comments Andrea Gavosto, Fondazione Agnelli’s director. “Every year the long summer break leads to so-called ‘summer learning loss’, especially in minors with fewer material and cultural resources. The Covid-19 emergency and the halt given to didactic activities in the classroom have emphasised the issue: other countries have recorded a learning loss resulting from the lockdown between 30 and 50%. There is therefore a serious risk of irreparable consequences, especially for the most fragile students. For years, Fondazione Agnelli has denounced the learning gaps and inequalities that exist between educational opportunities in our country. We do so by publishing research reports and by collaborating with schools and other institutions in the third sector in order to provide tangible answers to the problem. By contributing our scientific knowledge to co-design Arcipelago educativo, and by helping fund the project’s implementation, we are starting a new chapter in our collaboration with Save the Children.”