Encouragement with love, patience and clarity

The break bell rings and the classroom doors open. Under no circumstances do students rush into the school yard in an undisciplined manner. exactly the contrary! Children aged seven to fifteen take a leisurely stroll down the hall and down the stairs. And only in the open air does happy laughter erupt.

Hans is one of 48 students – only two of them are girls. A bright ten-year-old boy expertly comments on the reporter’s camera. “Good camera,” Hans says and joins his comrades. He waves to his mother, Ute Meyer, who is taking good care of him. “I am so grateful this school exists, and we had a rocky road at the regular school behind us,” the activist woman on the Parents Council begins.

This school is the Bartolomeo Garelli School in Hornethstrasse, a private educational support school sponsored by Don Bosco Youth Action and the only support center for emotional and social development in the city and region of Bamberg. First through ninth grade students with industry-approved special educational needs find a school home here. And “the limitless limit of affection and tenderness” is how Emil Hartmann, President of the Jugendwerk, describes the attitude of teachers and nineteen special education teachers. University President Gabriele Dengler-Schaible adds: “We support individuals with love, patience and clarity, children need to learn to follow the rules,” especially when parents find it difficult to set boundaries.

Missing contacts due to Corona

According to the principal, 80 percent of Bartolomeo Garelli’s students, who come from different families, have behavioral problems, suffer from ADHD, and have left school in the past. The Corona years in particular, with their limitations, have contributed to the fact that “children become prominent and fall out of learning because they lack social contact,” says Dingler-Chapelle. Emile Hartmann – in the spirit of Don Bosco – talks about “behaviourally healthy children with difficulties in emotional and social development”: “We take care of very special people, we give them a space in which they can accept them and achieve success, imparting knowledge,” Hartmann summarizes and summarizes pedagogical principles For Bartolomeo Garelli School.

Principal Dingler-Chebel can be pleased that “in most cases it goes well and we can get the kids back to normal school – even if we don’t do magic!” you smile. The special education teacher is also grateful that the Bamberg companies have made it possible for their students to do internships. And those who are willing and able to train will even get vocational training.

In any case, Ute Meyer is visibly happy that her son Hans “has been more relaxed and not too frustrated since attending Bartolomeo Garelli’s School”. In this way he takes the “pressure of the family” which includes two brothers. “Hanes feels understood here, everyone has an open ear, he doesn’t go his own way,” says his only mother, who almost gave up on the story of her son’s suffering in four regular schools.

Failed due to rigid system

Ute Meyer complains that Hans failed because of the “strict regular school system”. She is more convinced that his current multi-professional mentors enhance strengths, character, and curiosity in the best possible way. Especially since “our children are smart, they cannot use their cognitive abilities,” explains teacher Angelica Mehlhorn, part of the mobile special education service of the Bartolomeo Garelli School.

This service is requested when necessary with the approval of parents of regular schools. Then Angelica Mehlhorn prepares a report on the student, which may lead to a transfer to a special needs school. According to the rector of the university, parents cannot directly enroll their children in the Bartolomeo Garelli School.

interdisciplinary exchange

Another important pillar of the School is the practically accompanying youth care arrangement after lessons in the afternoon – lunch, homework supervision and purposeful leisure activities – as well as close interdisciplinary exchange with specialized medical and psychological services, day remedial education centers, and educational counseling centres.

At the suggestion of the Youth Welfare Office in the city of Bamberg, Don Bosco’s youth business opened the Bartolomeo Garelli School 22 years ago in what was then Canisiusheim. The building shows its age, the classrooms are very small, the playing field is very bleak. The long search for another site at Maisel is now over, where a new functional school building with gymnasium and green outdoor facilities will be built in 2024. Emil Hartmann notes that the necessary costs will be refinanced, but property costs remain as a personal contribution to the youth organization Don Bosco .

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