An experience of teachers and children at the infant-toddler centres, preschools, and primary schools, carrying out research on the alphabetical code.

Children encounter written codes at a very early age. In attempting to interpret these codes and asking themselves questions, they grasp many different elements at the same time, not just the alphabetical ones, and construct personal systems of writing that can establish a dialogue with the personal systems of other children and with the conventional code.

It is within this zone of social-cognitive conflict that each child tries out, verifies, and expands her or his own hypotheses.


The approach to the codes was investigated by means of research and intentional offers of contexts and strategies dedicated to learning related to symbol systems.

The cultural-pedagogical approach assumes a socio-constructivist idea of knowledge and situates writing in communicative contexts and in the social use of the language.

The adoption of this epistemology inevitably modifies the questions that the teachers ask themselves and the learning-teaching contexts.


When given the freedom to do so, children elaborate their written communication taking many different elements into account: the graphic symbols of the letters of the alphabet; the size of the letters and of the words; the chromatic and tactile choice of the paper on which to write the words, but also the accompanying graphics and decorations.

This figurative writing, which children view as an integral part of the communication, is expressed by means of a visual metaphor and becomes an important presence in the written text.


A transformational journey in which natural materials reveal quantity, qualities, density and variations in colour and hue to become paint.

The transformation of materials is continued in the atelier using hands, sieves and rocks to crumble, crush, sift and powder – capturing the material’s essence, colour and perfume.

The palette of materials prepared in this way is then used by children to make compositions bearing the traces of very different individual journeys of research.


This project has two ‘lives’. Four-year-old children with teachers and a musician-atelierista by their side, overcome various difficulties to build a sound-sculpture using natural materials.

Subsequently, other children receive one of these sculptures as a gift and are fascinated by it, perceiving the potential of an object which is a distillation of research demanding respect. However, the sculpture has a grave drawback: ‘in the end they made an orchestra that doesn’t work’. So the children decide make a new object, like an orchestra, above all rich in potential sounds.