During the summer, the CEAS Il Cielo di Indra organizes summer camps for children and teenagers. The summer camp is an opportunity to develop autonomy, to experiment and learn more about one’s own limits and abilities, to improve relationships and deal with diversity, to get to know new environments up close.
Each meeting takes place throughout the day, at the end of which the children/teenagers go back home.
The purpose of the camp is to get to know the environment in an experiential, adventurous and fun way, to encourage children to have a strong emotional bond with nature and, in this way, develop and spread an ecological mindset. The children participating in the camp come into direct contact with the environment through traces, signals, shapes, sounds and colours. They observe, discover, establish a sensory, physical contact with nature; they use fantasy and imagination to identify and grasp the bonds that bind every living being to its environment. They get to know animals, plants, majestic trees, habitats up close; they learn to distinguish the signs of the presence of man in nature and the transformations made; they use artistic languages to tell their experience and listen to stories, legends, fairy tales, myths.
The camp not only implies the discovery of the outdoor environment. It means spending time together, listening to and telling stories, dealing with small responsibilities, respecting some rules, and managing conflicts, sharing, and cooperating. It also means discovering one’s own limits, abilities, and fears; it means experimenting play and artistic languages. The CEAS working group has chosen relationships as the main theme of its activity, as it believes that the relationship, and therefore the bond and care that individuals dedicate to themselves, to their fellows and to the environment, are the crucial point of ecology and sustainability to promote concrete changes.
It is now widespread among scholars that the great crisis the world of education is going through is in some way linked to rampant consumerism, which has extremely negative effects on the relationship between generations, on the growth and development of the individual and on the relationship with society. In a system entirely devoted to possession and consumption, it is obvious that the time to devote to relationships becomes a luxury, with all that derives from this in terms of the parent/child relationship.
A great mystification fuelled by our society is that a capitalist economy increases the well-being of all individuals, even the poorest ones. In order to exist, the consumer society needs to sell products, therefore, it is based on the belief that happiness is achieved by owning things: consumerism generates continuous new needs and feeds them through advertising. The habit that pushes us towards the possession-use-consumption and exchange of what surrounds us, leads to a change of or identity and it becomes difficult to escape from this mechanism. The things, the objects we consider essential for our lives, can even become “bulky” and prevent us from feeling well: the connection between objects, things and happiness is not as solid as we think. This topic, alongside with the immeasurable use of modern technologies and television, therefore, deserve to be explored together with those who carry out the main educational action, namely the parents.
The proposal presented here concerns a programme to support parenting, starting from the issues that currently make the parent/child relationship particularly problematic and with particular attention to issues related to environmental and social sustainability: waste, pollution, the distribution of wealth and solidarity. If on the one hand it is necessary to ensure fairer access to resources, on the other it is a question of getting out of the mechanism of becoming accustomed to consumption.
The programme aims to concretely intervene on lifestyles and will be developed in three phases, each dedicated to the deepening of a specific aspect: the limit and the rules as a source of reassurance and opportunity; the desires that help to grow and those that take possession of the person and turn into constraint; the “lightness”, the pleasure of simplicity and relationship without the clutter of objects; the need for community.
Art, environment, planning and activities to be done together.
The experience is based on the need for children to discover their own territory, in particular the natural environment which on this occasion becomes a real workshop, suitable for experimenting with artistic forms and relationships. The focus is nature and its elements, its richness and variety, the numerous creative stimuli and the different naturalistic techniques of weaving, construction, assembly.
The workshop is a direct, engaging experience, it is the continuous search for different points of view, an invitation to stop, to listen, to observe, to discover bonds. Art, with its capacity for synthesis, is the tool that puts us in contact with this reality and helps us to communicate it. Art and nature are two worlds in constant contact, a universe of images, suggestions and emotions that intertwine and suggest new points of view. Nature has inspired the art of every era and has made it the fulcrum of his poetics in a new and original way.
There will be moments of environmental and art education, play and socialization activities, observation and collection of materials, projections of images on Land Art and group design activities aimed at creating a work of art with natural materials.
The forest belongs to the imaginary world, and it has always been described as a fantastic, adventurous, sometimes even disturbing, dark, closed place, where it is easy to get lost, where you can challenge your limits, a place of initiation. In the fairy tale the forest is often inhabited by strange creatures, but it is also the place where everything is possible, even finding gingerbread houses. Moreover, the forest is a place of the soul where you can enter, come back, get lost and find your way, where chilling and amazing things can happen at the same time.
It is because of its treasures and for what it represents, that the forest is one of the most common topics in the fairy tales. And yet, we know that every forest has infinite stories to tell, again and forever, not only to the little ones but to those who want and know how to listen to them, to those who feel they can set out and face the effort to get straight to it, without detours, and listen to its voice. Stories telling about trees, animals, flowers, sounds, stories written in the tracks, in the nests, in the changing seasons and in the animal voices. The story in nature is enriched with sensations, emotions, authentic knowledge, fundamental elements for building bonds. It is through stories that we want to awaken the sense of belonging to the land and therefore of protection. Thanks to the stories we always discover something about ourselves, something that brings us back to the ancient bond with nature. “Fairy tales, myths, and stories provide understandings which sharpen our sight…” (C. Pinkola Estes)
The workshop provides itinerant moments but also moments to rest. Participants are guided on a physical and fantastic journey through the woods: walking, feeling the ground under their feet, the scents, discovering an incredible amount of colours and different types of light, touching barks, stones, blades of grass … From time to time we stop to meet living and imaginary beings, get to know them, tune into the surrounding world. We sit on the ground, in a circle, to listen to a story of the forest among the bushes and trees. Anyway, we know, listening always implies something of invention and creation. And for this the story heard, its characters, the events will be the stimulus to invent other stories.