Organizing an Artistic Laboratory in the Old Wash-House of the Cavalsassi Kindergarten in Rome

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: September 2012 - Project end date: March 2013
Project number: 2012-070
Beneficiary: Fondazione Asilo Cavalsassi


The overall objective of the project was to improve children’s’ involvement in the social cohesion processes, so as to prevent psychosocial disorders and deviance by developing the narrative, musical and visual languages of Art. During the first experimental phase of the project, 50 children, from various nationalities (Philippine, Slovak, Peruvian, German, English, Persian, Ethiopian), had participated. Good results were achieved; a reduction in the above mentioned children’s aggressive and inappropriate behavior, while increasing their acquisition of communication and emotional abilities in dealing both with peers and with adults.
In 2012, in order to develop and reinforce the project, it was imperative to provide the school with a permanent workshop space; the activities were previously held in provisional places, such as the classroom or the gym. After some reflection on a possible place to be used for this purpose, the choice had fallen on an old and obsolete laudry room, which had been used as a store room for several years. Furthermore, during the renovations, some historical records were found in the archives of the Fondazione Cavalsassi revealing something of the important function that the wash house had had during World War II (1940 – 1945), and the persecution of the Jews. In fact, the nuns working in the preschool at that time used the wash house in order to hide Jewish families and save them from death.
In July 2012, the renovations of the old wash house started, thanks to the contribution of the Nando Peretti Foundation. All that had been foreseen during the planning of the renovations has been carried out to the finest detail: The electrical re-wiring has been upgraded to conform to the national code/Italian legislation; The original vaulted ceiling texture has been cleared of its crambling plaster and has been conveniently consolidated and aesthetically restored; the wall that was isolating, in a visual way, the staircase from the reactivated hall has been taken down; the floor has been covered with “terra cotta” tiles and a viewing platform has been created, by placing a step and a protective rail, to observe, from a higher point of view, the large stone basin. Last but not least, the old function of the laudry room has been restored, with a lateral gush, a frontal waterfall and little artificial rainfalls which produce a musical rhythmic background, created by the splashing, tinkling and roaring sound of water. The renovations were completed in October 2012.
On December 19th 2012, the laundry room was officially opened and visitors were able to admire the ceramic nativity scene realized by the children of the preschool, during the “Sound and Colors of Languages Lab”. As an accompaniment to the nativity scene, a narrative and musical composition titled “Once upon a night” was produced. The lyrics were also reproduced on jute panels in order to display them on the walls of the washhouse. Thanks to the renovation of the wash house, The Cavalsassi Preschool has been provided with an important didactic instrument, aiming at developing sound and musical activities, together with visual and expressive arts; all this, having the final purpose of focusing on primary preventative measure at an early age in the psychological development of children. As it has always been in the past, the activities will be extended to external parties as well as the current children within the school, which will aim to enlighten, preserve, and support the growth and the life of young children, by means of an active and joyful learning experience which eventually promotes the human being in all their potentialities.


Fondazione Asilo Cavalsassi

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