Popular Approaches for Inclusion: Don Milani, Freire, Freinet, Malaguzzi and More

Table of Contents


“If the sky is only one, why is the earth fragmentary?”

The question from a novel by Gianni Rodari – one of the main Italian authors of children’s literature – describes properly the challenge of pedagogy: increasing students’ aspiration for equality, inclusion, and political participation in favor of democratic values rather than social competition.

The course will explore the didactic solutions offered in the educational settings proposed by some of the most important educationalists of the 20th century: the Barbiana school of Don Lorenzo Milani, the pedagogy of the oppressed of Paulo Freire, the natural method of Celestin Freinet, and the Reggio Emilia approach of Loris Malaguzzi.

Don Milani, Freire, Freinet, and Malaguzzi all developed innovative educational techniques to create the conditions for children and young people to cooperate within the classroom first, and to contribute to the local and national community, then.

The course is intended for both school teachers and educators and social workers working with children and young adults.

Participants will explore how to replicate similar participatory practices in their classroom or other educational settings to increase motivation, collaboration, and inclusion among their learners, and to educate them to promote active participation and social change.

Accordingly, they will explore the educational principles and practices proposed by Don Milani, Freire, Freinet, and Malaguzzi. They will analyze the difficulties and potentialities of the methodologies they proposed.

Collaborative writing and typography invite participants to focus on the democratic process of making choices for a common goal; everyone has a role, and everyone is important. With the Theatre of the Oppressed, participants experience first-hand the vitality and confidence that comes with transformation, even if part of a simulation.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to adapt the explored methodologies to their work. They will be ready to convince their students that the “I care” motto – as Don Milani wrote on the wall of Barbiana’s school – is a greater alternative to the social indifference we often experiment within contemporary society.

Learning outcomes

The course will help the participants to:  

  • Become familiar with the principles of popular and cooperative education;
  • Elaborate a persona meaning for “participation” and “inclusion” adapted to the work context;
  • Learn different strategies and techniques to enhance individual and collective responsibility;
  • Find creative ways for using cooperative techniques nowadays, including digital technologies;
  • Motivate themselves through cooperative group activities and active reflection with other educators and teachers.

Tentative schedule

Day 1 – Let’s get started!

  • Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities;
  • Icebreaker activities;
  • Presentations of the participants’ schools;
  • What does it mean “Inclusion” and “Participation” in Education? A comparison of traditional and innovative approaches.

Day 2 – Freinet and the Natural Method

  • Overcoming obstacles with the “natural method”: Célestin Freinet and the experience with the Cooperative Education Movement;
  • Typography, press to produce newspapers and books, living calculation: the techniques introduced by Célestin and Elise Freinet;
  • Group activity: imagination for processing social themes.

Day 3 – Practices for an inclusive school, from typography to theatre

  • The power of transformation in Education: Paulo Freire and the theatre of the oppressed;
  • Theatre role-play with participants.

Day 4 – The importance of communication: Don Milani

  • “I care”. How to achieve common goals together and decrease the lack of care that can affect the educational system: Don Milani and the Barbiana School;
  • “Letter to a teacher”: how language learning opens doors;
  • Cooperative revolution in Italy and Reggio Emilia with Loris Malaguzzi.

Day 5 – Creativity for a common goal: collaborative writing

  • Collaborative writing: a process to make group choices and distribute responsibilities producing common content;
  • Is it possible to imagine collaborative writing today?
  • Which instruments you would use with your students?
  • Group work for designing a collaborative writing project.

Day 6 – Course closure and cultural activities

  • Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
  • Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
  • Excursion and other external cultural activities.

Confirmed Sessions

LocationStarting DateStatusEnrol
Valencia4 March 2024ConfirmedBook »

All Available Dates

= confirmed date


Price*: 480€


Price*: 480€


Price*: 480€


Price*: 480€

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