Tag Archives: Schools

English teacher in Prato NEEDED

Hi mums, I’m trying to help a local school in Prato find an English teacher. I’ve put the word out on English teaching sites, but if any of you know someone looking for work, it these are the details:

A wonderful English school in the centro storico of Prato (20 mins by train from Florence) is searching for a teacher to prepare school students, of different levels, to sit Cambridge exams. The contract will be a minimum of 20 hours a week, Monday to Friday, early afternoons, starting within the next two weeks. The contract will finish mid 2017 when the exams are completed.
Candidates must have all documents to legally work in Italy and experience in teaching English.
The English school has a young, dynamic team. It could be a great opportunity for the right person.

Send your CV and any further questions to Marco:


Your Child in English Class


Bilingual children are amazing and children are like sponges that can absorb another language easily.  By having a parent, that speaks another language other than Italian is a wonderful opportunity for your child.  However, what happens when they go to a public school and learn their home language with teachers that really do not have the qualifications of teaching another language?

Here is my story.  I have two children both speak, read, and understand really well, American English (yes it is different then British English).  During their years of Elementary, it was interesting to say the least to watch what would happen in their classes of English.  During this time, the Math teachers having to take over the task of teaching English replaced the English teachers.  From the start, my oldest was very strong in his English.  He got to the point where he was almost teaching the class. The teacher was always checking with him and relying on him for the words she was not sure she was pronouncing correctly or the right word in a sentence she was creating. She did not mind that he was using American words or that he spoke American. She also did not correct him when he would use the American spelling instead of the British spelling.   He did not mind this but other bilingual children might have a problem being singled out to help the teacher.

My second child, born here, did not have such the understanding teacher and at first had to learn English by a cd in class.  The teacher wanted the children to repeat the words exactly with the British accent (an Italian speaking British on the cd) that was being heard.  I have horror flash backs when I had to learn Spanish in High school that way.  It was horrible trying to follow the speaker on a cd and not being able to stop it or repeat it to follow. One day he came home in tears because the teacher said he was not pronouncing “blue jeans” correctly.  The “u” in British has a different accent then in American English.   Unfortunately, we had to tell him that he needs to try his best and to follow what the teacher is teaching.  In other words if she wants British he needs to do it in British.  That teacher left and another teacher came that taught more like my first child’s teacher.  She was more understanding to the American and British differences, yet both are English. Now in middle school and the teacher is teaching the British “u” again.  She is telling the children that the British “u” is pronounced like the Italian “a” and that the word “us” is pronounced like “ass”.  Now my child came home telling me that he needs to say “ass” for “us”.  Now I am envisioning my child in the US going around saying that and being laughed at.  I know that there is an accent on the “u” but I do not think it is the sound of “a” in Italian.

What stories do you have of your child learning English or even another home language in their classes at school?

Margherita Fasolo: Florence’s Best Materna?

fasolo 1Four years ago, my wife and I were desperate. We had looked everywhere in Florence for a good materna school for our elder daughter, and were despairing of ever finding one. Our checklist was not particularly demanding (or so we thought). We wanted, in order of importance, a school for 3-5 year olds: (i) that stimulated; (ii) that had no excessive religious or ideological baggage; (iii) that had a good student-teacher ratio; (iv) that was reasonably priced; (v) that was socially mixed; and (vi) that was, if possible, multicultural (we are a British-Italian family). We put a lot of time into looking – open day after open day… – and we were ready to drive a fair distance, too. However, we just could not turn up a school that matched our requirements in a city of half a million. Then, one happy morning we were told, by a chance acquaintance, about the Margherita Fasolo. The most wonderful school experience was about to begin…

The Fasolo is one of Florence’s best-kept secrets. It stands, near Via Aretina, in its own grounds, next to an elementary school, on Via Cambray Digny, and is based out of a modest concrete building: a passerby would, I think, never guess that he or she was walking by a centre of educational excellence. The Fasolo was founded in 1965, in another part of the city, as an ‘active education’ school. I never, honestly, understood what ‘active education’ means: though if you think of an energetic version of Montessori you are ‘ball-park’. Children play, but play purposefully and are given a series of activities (that they develop as they see fit) through each day and many of these activities are carried out in the Fasolo’s lovely garden. The activities are ingenious and are often, the highest compliment, repeated by our children (with accompanying songs) at home. There is also a lot of attention given to resolving problems as a group and negotiating difficulties. If I had read this on a school flier, I would have assumed that this was just ‘talk’, but the Fasolo has certainly improved conflict resolution in our not always happy household!

Fasolo 3Crucially, teacher-student ratios are small. There are two teachers in each class looking, together, after anything from ten to twenty children. There are, I think, six teachers in all (with some part time assistants) and they have, of course, different personalities and different abilities. However, a strong ethos of preparation and retraining means that the quality of the teaching is consistently high and some of the teachers there are simply phenomenal. I was asked recently about the best teachers I had had as a child, and my mind kept floating involuntarily to the teachers that my daughters encountered at the Fasolo, my daughters’ experiences crowding out my own memories! These women (the one male teacher has left) have proved themselves to be loving towards our children, but also wise. On a couple of occasions, when we were concerned about aspects of our daughters’ development, we were given excellent advice in after school interviews. Theirs, clearly, is a vocation rather than just a job.

The parents are typically local, but rave reviews have encouraged some families to come from further afield: one mother comes every day from Prato because she had been to the Fasolo as a girl and had had such a good experience. Families have, in any case, different backgrounds. In my daughter’s class there are, at present: a British, a Polish and two Australian children, so about a quarter of the class have non-Italian parents. We have also found that parents bond very well, perhaps the result of common values and, of course, because of the many common school activities. Families often meet after school in the nearby parks, with their children. Many of our most important family friends, in the last years, have come through this school. Ten months after our elder daughter left my wife still has an active WhatsApp feed of parents from my elder daughter’s class. Moreover, when the mothers from that year get together they lament that the Fasolo ‘failed them’, by not creating an elementary section (the level above materna). My elder daughter, meanwhile, insists on going back for frequent visits.

fasolo 2The school is private but non-profit and asks about 400 euros a month per attendee (I don’t have the exact number to hand), though, my understanding is that there is some room for negotiation if a family sends more than one child. When we, first, visited the Fasolo this seemed like a lot of money, but I am glad that we made the sacrifice: it was paid back to us many times over. This sum includes the price for lunches made by a local chef in the excellent Fasolo kitchen: my elder daughter is now at elementary school and refuses to eat the food served up for her there, comparing it unfavourably to her earlier gourmet feasts. There is also a nido that looks after babies from one and a half to three and that is based on the second floor of the building. Soon I hope to take my youngest daughter to the Fasolo (she is at present six months old) and I am thrilled at the idea of starting the whole happy cycle again: people I trust and methods that work.

If anyone is interested in knowing more the website is www.scuolafasolo.net If you want to set up a visit, the email is segreteria@scuolafasolo.net, the telephone number, meanwhile, is 055/6594828: ask for Alessandra. I and my wife have spent a lot of time in the last years sniffing out schools (some good and some absolutely dreadful experiences) and we have often found that parents are better guides than those who work in schools (for very understandable reasons). If anyone wants, then, to get in touch with us directly about the Fasolo, these are our emails. Just type the email address of both of us in the address line:simon emailvalen email

We will give honest advice or try to put you in touch with parents who can.  Written by Simon Young

Dear Moms,
Make a present to your kids by planning their best summer yet, with an awesome summer camp right in the hearth of Florence city center! Here at Sunflower Florence we are all ready to have fun with them, taking them on a magic trip through art, theatre, music, art crafts and much more. The only things we ask them to bring are: enthusiasm, happiness and a lot of will to make new friends!
We will take care of all the rest in a cozy and friendly atmosphere.
The Sunflower Staff


summer camp sunflower

Cara Domings a Private Music Instructor living in Florence

cara MatteoI got to meet Cara Domings, a 25 year old female American singer/songwriter and private music instructor, when she came to do a piano lesson for my son.   She studied under Dr. Faina Brayanskaya in Boston, who is a Russian pianist with a unique, holistic approach to teaching.  This approach involves working closely with the student’s personal musical goals and focuses on expressiveness, channeling inspiration, and most importantly, enjoying music. Cara balances her teaching with hands-on strategies (such as using vivid imagery and touch to learn and remember) and uses a mix of resources (instead of one series of books, for example). She likes to see exactly where each student is coming and works closely with them to gain positive trust as their mentor and to challenge them in healthy ways.

I have to say I love her approach and interaction with my son. My son loves music and has gone to a Music School but was getting bored with the putting a book in front and studying like in school.  He is very auditory with music and loves to play music more by ear. I liked the fact that Cara asked him questions to see if he was understanding and figure out what he already knows. She interacted with him in seeing what his capabilities and desires were. He wanted to continue playing after she left instead of the usual I did my chore attitude he would get with other instructors.

Cara teaches private music lessons in Florence to students of all ages and am currently accepting new students. She teaches guitar, piano, voice and songwriting, both in Italian or English.  She is very passionate and positive individual. She has been living in Italy for the last five years and is currently residing here to pursue her studies in Italian language and culture, which is her second passion. In addition, this year she wrote and released a single from Nashville, Tennessee, which you can hear by going to this link www.listentocara.com. Though the piece has a country feel, Cara plays and teaches all styles and genres of music.

To contact her for lessons:  email is caradomings@gmail.com and phone is 3317798505

School is starting: Tutors

LearningIt is school time again and sometimes a child needs some extra help.  So I am looking to make a list of available tutors again.  What I need from you is tutor recommendations.  If you are a tutor then message me as well.  Please state Name, phone number, the subjects you tutor, your pricing, the languages spoken, and the times available.   Please email infotiscali@firenzemoms4moms.net

Recommended Schools with Open Days

schoolIstituto Comprensivo Puccini  

TEL. 055 6801385 / FAX 055 680423

Has an open day check the pdf file open day pupccini

Scuola dell’infanzia “Alda Mazzini” (for materna) and micro-nido “Nazareth”

Piazza Santa Maria del Pignone, 4 Firenze
Tel: 055 2337861

open day on thurs 23/1 at 16… it’s a very reasonable priced private school by the Santa Rosa park.. many of us Elizathbeth Gargani, Nina Bernheim go there and Adrienne Aeroboe and Florina ricasoli all went too… the small nido has about 12 children and 3 teachers… highly recommend! it’s run by the convent nuns. by Daisy Diaz Gandolfi Vannini

Scuola Primaria Paritaria “Milite Ignoti”

Viale Europa, 206 – 50126 Firenze
Tel. 055 6821525 – Fax: 055.6533703

Open Day, January 25th, 9:30 – 12:30.



doesn’t have any open day, but it is possible to visit the school any day in the morning with an appointment. www.kindergarten.it is rich with all necessary info, address, phone numbers etc. They have also placed a nice brochure on Scribd. Link is available on the webpage of the school. The deadline for registration is the same as for the public schools for people applying from outside, before Xmas for people that have their kids already at Kindergarten. by Yasemin Yalcinkaya

Scuola per l’infanzia e Asilo nido MARGHERITA FASOLO

via Cambray Digny, 5/a – Firenze
tel. e fax 055/6594828

Scuola Margherita Fasolo, they have a maximum of 18 kids per class in the materna and 2 teachers all day, and most of the time with 1 or 2 extra teacher’s assistants. They have an asilo nido and a scuola materna and the nice thing that I only recently discovered is that the teacher that they have in the last year of the asilo nido carries on with the same group of kids into the first year of materna, we only started at first year of scuola materna, but for anyone looking for an asilo nido and then to make a smooth transition with a familiar teacher into the first year of scuola materna it is nice. They had their open day in November but I believe they will have another in spring, you can enroll already for next year. by Kim Sullivan

Serristori Scuola Materna

Via San Niccolò 93-50125


Open Day : January 29 at 4:30pm

Looking for information on Private School Registrations

schoolHi Moms, Can the moms that send their children to Private school please send me some information on the school as to when they have open day and when registration starts.  Also if you could include the name of the school with a web address that would help a lot.  You can send me the information to infotiscali@firenzemoms4moms.net