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NTMYLab at Fenegro School

As our third year of NTMYLab at Fenegro School comes to an end, we have interviewed the Head Teacher to reflect on our contribution so far.

How has your school changed thanks to NTMYLab?

Our school is located in a difficult area, with a mix of families from different social and cultural backgrounds, many with serious economic problems. There are no activities that can offer moments of positive aggregation and many kids do not have the opportunity to attend sports or other recreational centres, so they often find themselves alone at home or, even worse, out on the street, where they typically join gangs or engage in problematic behaviours.NTMYLab offers the opportunity to stay in a place where they can grow in a healthy way, interact with adults (teachers and professionals) and spend time with their peers, perhapsdiscovering a talent that they didn’t know they had.

Thanks to the Lab, our school has radically changed and evolved. The work started in the morning is not interrupted with the ringing of the bell but continues, enriched with more engaging offerings. Many of our kids have never had (and most likely will never have) the opportunity to discover what it means to shoot a short film, go on stage, manipulate clay to create a mask, or use street art to decorate their school spaces.

Furthermore, since the groups are heterogeneous, there is a virtuous circle: the more experienced ones help their peers to grow from both a social and educational standpoint, while at the same time promoting the integration of the most disadvantaged children who truly feel part of a group.

Tell us about a particular episode that happened during NTMYLab that you would like to share.

In the last three years, there have been many episodes that make me reflect on the importance of creating an environment for the kids where they also see their teachers as mentors. More than an instructor, teachers can help kids in this delicate moment of their lives. Two events from last year come to mind to better describe the enormous work that TNTMYLab is doing with the kids.

The first happened to a 14-year-old girl, who I will call Chiara. Fourteen is a very delicate age, in which children’s bodies undergo relatively dramatic changes and where physical appearance is of fundamental importance. During the lunch break, Chiara did not eat her meals, and tried to dispose of them before anyone could notice. Thanks to careful observation of educators and teachers, it was possible to discover her behaviour and understand the underlying motivations. (We discovered that her parents were divorcing, which was causing pain and sadness.) Over time, Chiara managed to express her discomfort,”throwing out” her emotions and through the help of the reference educator, the psychologist and her classmates, she managed to re-establish a sort of balance. NTMYLab was instrumental to discover the problem in time preventing developing into something much more serious and dangerous.

The second episode concerns a rather fragile 11-year-old boy, who had no possibility of doing his homework at home, due to various complicated family situations. In class, he also had considerable difficulty relating to his classmates. Thanks to the relationship that he was able to develop with one of the NTMYLab educators, and time set aside to do homework, he managed to become more responsible and organise himself in such a way as to carry out the tasks assigned during the week and keep up with the rest of his class. When the NTMYLabterminated for the summer break, he felt lost and said, “So what do I do now?”It’s very difficult to explain in words what you can achieve during the NTMYLab, you should experience it!