The intervention included two teacher training workshops: the SOLE and the VISPA laboratories.
The Socio-Emotional Learning Lab (SOLE Lab) promotes cooperation among children and the development of emotional, relational, and pro-social skills (soft skills). The aim of the SOLE lab is to counter aggressive attitudes and bullying and to build a strong and lasting social fabric among members of the class group, creating a community of children who identify with classroom practices and values. Based on the CASEL model for the support of socio-emotional skills development, the objectives of the SOLE workshop are: to acquire social and emotional skills to be configured as facilitators in relational contexts to foster positive peer relationships; to develop an awareness of self and others; to understand the relationships among emotions, cognition, and behaviors to support the meta-understanding of those mechanisms as well as self-regulatory skills; to develop autonomy, a sense of responsibility in choosing social response strategies, especially in cases of conflict with peers; to develop prosocial and empathic behaviors; and to activate supportive peer dynamics to prevent and counteract bullying and bullying of others.
The SOLE workshop is based on an interactive book with 10 thematic sessions containing 15 related activities. A specific graphic design and the narrative frame have been developed to engage children in the story progression and to let teachers enrich the narration with analogies and generalizations to those relational similarities between what occurs in the story and what happens in the classroom. Each chapter of the book is dedicated to one aspect of the core SEL competencies and provides activities and materials to help develop them in children. For instance, the chapter focused on resilience includes activities for identifying situated emotions, different points of view about the situation, and recognizing personal strengths and weaknesses. The goal of the book is to provide educators with a comprehensive tool for teaching socio-emotional learning in a fun and engaging way that will benefit their students both inside and outside the classroom.
The visuospatial skills laboratory (VISPA) is based on the use of a series of materials designed for play and teaching, namely educational robotics bricks based on products from Artec Japan Toys. These materials facilitate the day-to-day teaching of mathematical and geometric fundamentals as well as other subjects leveraging visual-spatial representations and motor skills. The VISPA lab aims to activate incremental learning processes through cooperative learning and a "learning-by-doing" paradigm and enable a progression that starts from the concept of composable units. It includes grade-specific classroom group activities consistent with existing educational programs. The VISPA Lab objectives are to enhance visual-spatial skills, acting on motor and mathematical-technical skills; increase logical and computational thinking skills; activate peer support dynamics for problem-solving; and develop motivation toward exploratory and collaborative behaviors.
The VISPA laboratory consists of a series of activities that are carried out over 9 weeks. During these activities, materials and their characteristics are introduced through games and problem-solving that are physical representations of numerical concepts, mathematical processes, geometry, mechanics, and physics. The lab techniques can also be useful in other subjects such as grammar, geography, and science.