It is open from 1st September to 31st July, Monday to Friday, at the following times:
– arrival: from 7.30 a.m. to 9.30 a.m.
– 1st departure from 3.00 p.m. to 3.15 p.m.
– 2nd departure from 4.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
Enrolment starts in february.
The brightly lit “C’era una volta…” premises cover over 300 m2. They are subdivided on the basis of a specific architectural design for nursery activities. They therefore comprise a large, colourful central hall, equipped for group play and experimentation, and smaller rooms for small group activities and naps. The nursery has a large kitchen and an adjacent dining room.
The architectural design was certified as suitable by N.R.G. 2217.
The services offered by “C’era una volta…” include:
– Daily one-to-one talks between the director, the nursery staff and the individual parents, in order to achieve a continuous exchange of information and opinions on the activities carried out by the children and their behaviour.
– Internal meal preparation, cooked freshly every day by the nursery cook, on the basis of a weekly menu drawn up by a dietician and a paediatrician. Special care is taken over the preparation of meals for children with specific requirements: bland food, allergies, religious beliefs. Fruit is served as a mid-morning snack. Another snack is served in the mid-afternoon.
– Parties, to which parents are also invited, at Christmas, Carnival and the end of the year.
– Two meetings per year with all parents, organised by the director and the nursery staff in order to discuss questions inherent to the activities of the nursery and childhood issues.
Children experience emotions that involve their whole sphere of being in every relationship and in every action. Therefore, the affectionate bonds created between children and nursery staff are essential in order for the numerous educational activities and games to be carried out successfully in the nursery each day, developing the innate ability in the children to play, experiment and socialise autonomously, gradually enabling them to acquire self-confidence.
From their very first months at the nursery, children are gradually taught to become independent, beginning with their eating, washing and sleep requirements, and are encouraged to play a personal role in the various games and social activities.
All the various phases of growth involve important developments. From learning non-verbal language and developing an awareness of the body during the first few months of life, to the gradual acquisition of verbal language and the ability to communicate as they grow, asking questions, giving answers and learning to listen carefully.
The development of mental and physical potential is extremely important and is therefore encouraged at the nursery through a wide range of activities, carried out on an everyday basis and in specific situations and at specific times of day, with different levels of intensity depending on the age of the children.
The most important everyday activities include games involving the use of the voice and listening to sounds (silence, high sounds, low sounds, slow sounds, fast sounds, sounds of different origins, song modulations), movement and imitation, nursery rhyme recitation, story telling, music, dressing up and drama. The children dress up, use face paints and puppets to represent real life and fantasy situations, to imitate adults and to overcome shyness.
Some of the most important special activities include painting, drawing and modelling. The children start drawing with wax crayons, coloured pencils, chalk, powder paints and water colours; they begin with finger painting and progress to paint brushes, developing a real range of expressions with colour.
The nursery also dedicates plenty of time to playing with traditional toys. The staff use a wide range of materials, giving the children the opportunity for direct creative play and experimenting with different, imaginative uses.
The “C’era una volta…” nursery was founded in 1982 by Giuliana Cancelli, and is still run by her today, with the assistance of a highly qualified team of nursery staff, who have been at the nursery for over fifteen years.
The decision to open the nursery was made by the director and owner of the nursery itself, after a previous ten-year period of employment in the education sector, initially at a nursery school in the municipality of Milan and then at the private nursery on Via Ischia, which was one of the first to receive authorisation in Milan and was very well know in its time.
Thirty-five years have therefore passed since the start of her career in nursery education to today. During this time, Giuliana Cancelli has had the opportunity to develop an affectionate bond with many children and interpersonal relationships with their parents, sharing precious experiences that have helped her further and extend her knowledge of the fields of pedagogy and family relationships.
The primary educational objective of the “C’era una volta…” nursery has always been pedagogic activities targeted at establishing in the children the innate ability to play, experiment and socialise autonomously, stimulating their potential whilst offering support through solid affectionate bonds and respecting individual development rates.
Activities at the “C’era una volta…” nursery are still carried out in reference to this educational objective, focusing on the most recent pedagogic studies in keeping with the ethical values and social aspirations of families proposed by society. It manages to achieve this whilst still keeping firmly to the teaching and behaviour that have always made this reliable nursery a success.
A wide range of practical activities are organised at the nursery for the different age groups, including fairytale drama, English language games, pottery, psychomotor activities and cooking.
– “Water games” courses were held in the swimming pool, for three months per year, from 1984 to 1997.
– In 1985, Bruno Munari trialled some of his games at the nursery, which he then presented, at the nursery itself, to delegations of Japanese nursery workers.
– In 1987, Danese supplied the nursery with games (some of which were developed by Enzo Mari) free of charge, in order for them to be tested and assessed by the nursery staff.
– In 1990, Aida Muratori held an experimental music course for children under three at the nursery: the results were the subject of a publication targeted at nursery staff.
– In 2000, the Casa Editrice San Paolo asked the owner of the nursery to write an article, for the magazine “Famiglia Oggi”, on the educational objectives of the nursery and the opening of new nurseries. The article was published in issue No. 1 of January 2000, and entitled: “Una crescita straordinaria” [Extraordinary Growth].
– In 2001, the Fondazione Bollini of Castel San Pietro Terme (BO) asked the owner to hold a lesson for nursery staff on: “Taking a child to nursery. Doubts, fears and partnerships between nursery staff and parents”.
– In 2006, Chiara Zanderighi, a former worker at the nursery, completed a degree in the Science of Education, with a thesis entitled: “C’era una volta…” The development of a pedagogic project in a Milanese nursery.
– In 2009, Giuliana Cancelli has worked as an expert in the creation of the video series “Play and Grow” for the Web TV of De Agostini Editore, DeabyDay. The video series is dedicated to the importance of play in development in early childhood.