Spazi in gioco

Promuovere l’uso integrato dei propri sensi e le proprie autonomie insieme alla curiosità e al desiderio di conoscere
Paola Gamberini e Serena Cimini

The Cavazza Institute organized the “Spazi in gioco” (Spaces in play) laboratory after I.Ri.Fo.R.’s "G.E.S.T.I. 2023" announcement. This year, we organized an immersive, multisensory walk in a location that is a symbol of Bologna: the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of St. Luke. The activities, on the weekend of 7-8 October 2023, involved 6 visually impaired children, aged 9-16 (4 blind, 2 visually impaired). The laboratory was conceived, planned, and coordinated by Dr. Paola Gamberini (tiflopedagogical coordinator and spokesperson) and by Serena Cimini (psychologist), and co-planned and conducted by Dr. Michele Piccolo (educational planner for the visually impaired, specialized in mediation of historical-artistic and landscape heritage), with the additional support of expert coaches Martina Belvisi and Caterina Di Loreto. The walk along the portico began at the Meloncello Arch: the many stops along the way were opportunities to rest as well as to share feelings, historical anecdotes, and technical information on the path. At each stop, the participants were requested to pay attention to their surroundings, focusing each time on specific sensory inputs (especially those involving touch, hearing, and smell). Their personal exploration and imaginative elaboration were supported by physical exercises of spatial representation and by the guided reading of specially prepared illustrations and maps in relief. During their visit to the Basilica, the children were guided in reading the tactile bas relief portraying the painting of the Virgin of St. Luke, an experience which allowed them to promote the integrated use of their senses and autonomies with curiosity and the desire for knowledge.

Clay molding laboratory

They also had the opportunity to feel the fatigue and pleasure that comes from completing an entire path and reaching a goal with determination and satisfaction. Equally important were their personal and shared comments on the walk, as well as the group’s sharing of the emotions inspired by the experience.

IOn the second day, they took part in a clay-molding laboratory to create a model of the St. Luke portico up to the Sanctuary. At the conclusion of the laboratory, as a souvenir of the two days spent together, they were given a tactile postcard of the Sanctuary, on which each child wrote (in Braille or in

ink) a brief thought, impression, or memory of their experience.

 A woman molding clay

For everyone, children and professionals alike, "Spazi in gioco" was a new, highly emotional and stimulating challenge, a wonderful basis for future opportunities.


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