Every-day places come to life during the day’s hours, filling and emptying, pulsating rhythmically following the laws of the activities that over time have affirmed themselves as necessary, dictating the time: work, school, chores, recreation and rest. Every once in a while it happens that our roads host unusual events, sometimes unexpectedly. One morning a bus in front of an elementary school takes the children to an unknown destination; in the same way, high school students discover that European traditional games and sports can be a bridge to encourage intercultural dialog. One late afternoon, a group of idle teens sitting at their usual spot is invited by some peers armed with strange sticks to join them, and shortly after the courtyard of an abandoned school welcomes curious people of all ages, stimulating a spontaneous participation process of the citizens to a collective dimension of their own territory, the Country or city they live in, founding a logic of community development. It appears everyone is preparing to do something rather unusual: to play! This activity, usually dedicated to recreational time, here is instead the main character of projects about public health care, schools and districts. The four experiences we’ll tell you about, which aim at the people’s and communities’ wellbeing and development, do so while accepting the challenge of how games can “teach”: how the potential of street games can nourish social projects and how this concept can be
taken and conveyed in schools and thus from schools “pour out” into the streets once more, contributing to turning them into a meeting ground, a workshop of knowledge and culture for the community. They’re experiences that see multiple subjects from administration and civil society cooperating with one another, sharing programming moments, experiments, locations and resources. They’re tales, direct and indirect, of AGA’s commitment to the promotion on the territory of traditional game practices, which in turn are promoters of wellbeing.
Francesca Berti, AGA executive
Leonardo Speri, psychologist
With the participation of:
Barbara Cei, coordinator of services for families and Cooperativa Aribandus
“Games ennoble men, in other words…”
Playing is a competence congenital to human beings, it’s an experience shared by people with very little in common. Games accompany human life in all its stages. Perhaps this is why it was defined (D. W. Winnicott) as a “universal that belongs to health”, in other words an activity we need in different ways and doses throughout our whole life. From this point of view playing is an intergenerational experience, not just because it unites generations, but also because it crosses them. The strength of games and playing lies in the fact that it allows to know reality through imagination, and imagination is the great creative force that intelligence gives us. So playing trains, teaches and educates to think, though playing doesn’t just involve the mind, but also, and maybe even more, the body. Bodies with their potential, their limits, their rules. So playing doesn’t just define us as human beings made of flesh, bones, thoughts, emotions and feelings; we play to reassure ourselves, to learn to act freely, to learn who we are and who others are, but we especially play because it’s fun. And pleasure, we know, is one of the most powerful learning engines.
Laura Valenari, coordinator; Carlotta Chiari and Diego Soave, technical consultants of “Programma Regionale di promozione dell’attività motoria: Il Laboratorio esperienziale MuoverSì” (lit. “Regional Program for the Promotion of Physical Activity: The experience Workshop MuoverSì”) Experiential workshops are organized by the MuoverSì Regional program (physical activity promotion) and are directed at primary and secondary schools in Veneto. The offered activities help the children and kids discover possibilities of movement in different scenarios, experimenting the possibility to have fun and favouring at the same time their physical and psychological development. Workshops are based on different movement
and ludic activities which encourage the reinforcement of basic motor skills and the development of life skills. Since 2017 the workshop “Giochi Antichi” (lit. “Ancient Games”) has offered several traditional movement-based games proposed by Associazione Giochi Antichi (AGA).
Lucia Allari and the students of economic-social high school "Calabrese-Levi " of San Pietro In Cariano, Verona.
“Il gioco tradizionale arriva al Liceo” (lit. “Traditional games reach High Schools”)
The experiences given by project Erasmus+ “Bridge” on cooperative and traditional games, and the participation to the S’Cianco school tournament – proposed to a class of Economic-social high school “Calabrese-Levi” of San Pietro in Cariano, Verona. Just like the hour of physical education, it turned into a precious chance to feel part of a group putting aside each one’s differences, to expand their horizons, and to understand that games are a “serious” matter especially for a class of adolescents.
Linda Croce, president of Coop sociale Azalea
“ABC in gioco – Il gioco come strumento per rigenerare la comunità” (lit. “Playing with ABCs – Games as an instrument to regenerate the community”)
Project ABC aims at enhancing the wellbeing and social cohesion through the reconstruction of relationships based on trust between the citizens and the different realities that affect the communities’ life. It’s a workshop to involve and mediate where the community rediscovers itself as the main character of this change. In our experience, games are often revealed as instruments to build relations, crossing space in a different way and passing time in a collective dimension. There are many examples to cite: “Fuori tutti, si gioca” (Municipality of Verona) where games become a means to take back a public location by living it and involving all generations; or “Il quartiere che vorrei”, a contest through which children are invited to create art about their district (Municipality of Sona); or “Indovina chi viene a cena” (Municipality of Nogarole Rocca) during which people who don’t know one another share needs and resources.
Maria Antonietta Bergamasco, president Ass. D-Hub
“Abitare un giardino per abitare un quartiere: il recupero dei giardini dell’ex-Nani” (lit.“Living a garden to live in a neighbourhood: the recovery of the ex-Nani school’s gardens”)
A city garden becomes a crossroads of meetings centered on games: from the workshop “Riciclattoli” for the district’s children, and from the Sundays of “playing on the grass”, the workshop “Giochi e giocatori in viaggio” (lit. “Travelling games and players”) was developed with a group of people seeking asylum, and taken to Verona’s schools and to the African Museum. Because when you live in a place and make it an occasion for exchange, it xnourishes thoughts and becomes a propeller of ideas and new initiatives.