Bilingual School In Italy

BBI Alumnus Launches Bilingual School in Italy

by Lucie McCullough

This, the most important project of our lives, could speak to you, and even inspire the life change you or someone you know may be looking for, just as it has for us.

In short; we are building a bilingual school and community in the Monferrato region of northern Italy.

We have long dreamed about what an ideal school and community for our children would be – one that helped them discover their strengths, fostered their creativity and curiosity, was balanced and well-rounded, and emphasized the value of being outside in the fresh air and natural light – a curriculum immersed in nature and nature immersed in the curriculum.  We’ve seen the precautions that Covid is imposing on the traditional school environment –  the face masks, the chemical disinfection, the social distancing, the removal of outdoor time – and were impelled to make our dream a reality.

The Village Forest School is a bilingual school situated on a 500-year-old biodynamic farm in the vineyards of the Monferrato region of northern Italy.  Starting this September, children from the age of 4 up to 11 will follow a Steiner-inspired Italian-English curriculum that embeds traditional academics in an outdoor classroom set in the vines and fields and woodland of the farm; a curriculum that is rich in the arts and athletics and the practical experience of a working farm, and guided by the natural cycle of the seasons.  On land which has never been dosed with chemicals and pesticides, and which is removed from the buzzing and surging of mobile towers and WiFi, a radiation free zone. The children will learn in a pristine environment different to what most schools have become today.  We envisage that the school will grow with the children, ultimately taking them through to the end of the secondary cycle.

The school will be the cornerstone for the growth of a new community here in the Monferrato, people who share a vision of what education could be, and how we can build a rural hub that fuses high-quality organic living in a clean environment with understated, unpretentious sophistication – think Birkenstocks, a touch of cashmere and a glass of natural Barbera.  Already, this group includes in its mix natural wine-makers, artists, journalists, architects, designers, photographers, financiers and chefs, all seeking to contribute to making this little part of Italy a vibrant, dynamic, thriving one.

Why the Monferrato?

An area with an abundance of tradition and natural beauty, a hidden gem that the mainstream tourist circles have not yet discovered. Nestled between the cities of Milan and Turin,  it is rural and quiet with the pace of life of ‘once upon a time,’ yet only an hour from Italy’s largest international airport.  Here there is still the possibility to find large tracts of land which can provide a buffer against the encroachment of modern life.   The cost of living is affordable to all, and young families and farmers alike can still afford to buy a house and piece of land.  And then, there’s the wine…

We think what we are doing is hard to find elsewhere, but also that we have been brought to a place better suited to it than we would ever have thought possible.  It may be that our story and this project – the most important of our lives – strikes a chord with you.  If so, let’s talk