Istituto Comprensivo “J. da Volterra” is near Pisa, in Tuscany, and covers an area of 408,23 squared kilometres. It includes 6 nursery schools, 5 primary schools and 3 high schools, some of which far from the other buildings. The “Istituto” has got also a Primary and a secondary school in the prison, in Volterra: so, prisoners, especially foreigners, can both improve their personal knowledge and build up the basis for a social integration at the end of their punishment. The “Istituto” has also got a specific school for adults, with students attending classes ( English, French, painting, etc...) in the evening, sometimes after a daily job, and coming from the surrounding areas. Some students are immigrants, attending Italian language classes.
The pupils live not only in the city centre, but also in the surrounding countryside, with a few or none cultural background and a lot of difficulties in keeping in touch with the classmates beyond the school time or in joining afternoon activities. Some of them have got social– cultural, or familiar or financial difficulties, and the school is the main reference point. Volterra is a very small town, far from bigger centres and communication routes, and, as a result, it reduces teenagers experiences and relationships. School is a very important meeting point and the pupils’ parents are very keen on cultural new experiences, and they’ve got complete trust in the headmistress and all the teachers. So, the basic need of our school is being part of a project aiming to open our students’ minds and to get in touch with the “far from us”, starting new relationships and getting ready to future studies abroad. Comenius lets our students to obtain a deeper knowledge of Europe, the awareness of common cultural roots which let us build a common social, political and economic basis. As it mainly consists of laboratorial activities, this project can be very useful for students with difficulties, disabled and the ones who could cooperate using the computer or planning welcoming activities.