Children learn Italian in Brooklyn: The Italian Fairy lands to “FIAO - Il Centro”

Apr 01, 2021 1914

BY: C. Williams

Despite the challenges that this period has imposed on us, something magical is happening in Brooklyn. Starting from last October 2020, Simona Rodano's program known in New York as the Italian Fairy is flying to the Federation of Italian American Organizations (FIAO) in the very modern complex called "Il Centro".

An avant-garde building designed and built with the objective of allowing the preservation of Italian-American heritage and culture as well as promoting cultural exchanges between the different communities. A true cultural institution in one of the most multi-ethnic neighborhoods of New York. A center where the public is warmly welcomed into an inviting and professional atmosphere and where there are educational, cultural and sports events.  A place where a sense of belonging and appreciation of our roots brings together not only many Italian-Americans but also people of different ages and cultures.  

"For over forty years, FIAO has been a driving force in preserving the Italian language and culture, enriching and promoting it through the many after-school programs sponsored by the City and State of New York. Thanks to FIAO, the first Italian-English Dual Language program was established in New York City public schools. FIAO is also the first Italian-American Cultural and Community Center in New York City.

FIAO Centro's Italian language and culture program has been a tremendous success due to the extraordinary Italian Fairy who, with her effective methodology that interactively incorporates music, dance and poetry, succeeds in engaging all the students. The success of the program would not have been possible without the dedication and dynamic teaching of the Italian Fairy Simona Rodano, in collaboration with the instructors Ludovica Zaccaria and Zaira Indelicato" underlines the President of Fiao Giacomo Jack Spatola.

Every Saturday morning, children of all cultures and from different neighborhoods gather in the large event hall of FIAO Centro to learn Italian through the "edutainment" (education & entertainment) program of the Italian Fairy. The Christmas party, Carnival and the Easter Egg Party were not to be missed.

"The children learn Italian while having fun and using all their talents to the maximum" says Simona Rodano, who continues: "I was very impressed by the tenacity and passion present in all the staff at FIAO - Il Centro. It´s a very special organization in the heart of Brooklyn, where Italy and Italian culture are strong and alive".

Music, theater, movement and language become the focus of the class led by Ludovica Zaccaria and Zaira Indelicato-Polizzi, specialized educators with years of experience teaching Italian in both public and private schools and valued supporters of the program. 

"The Center is a magical place where children can learn the Italian language using their creativity and imagination to the fullest. Having teachers who put themselves to the test, through song and dance, is a profound stimulating factor for the children, capable of empowering them with confidence and the freedom to express themselves. The partnership with the Italian Fairy is definitely one of the most beautiful things that this 2021 has brought us!" confesses teacher Ludovica Zaccaria.  

 "Teaching at FIAO makes me happy and I think the presence of the Fairy is very positive. It is important that children learn in a serene and safe environment, such as the one offered by FIAO.  There is no doubt that when you have fun, you learn better and wearing our tricolor magic costumes is really exciting!" says teacher Zaira Indelicato-Polizzi.   

Just like the Italian Fairy, Ludovica and Zaira wear a tricolor cap and skirt and guide the children into the magical and playful world of the Italian Fairy.  A valuable playful and educational experience that offers children the opportunity to express themselves fully, using mind and body, imagination, and movement. During the class, parents also get to be the center of attention along with their children, actively participating and encouraging the young students to practice during the week through videos and the material offered. Special guests from Italy join in through online communication, creating a direct bridge between Italy and America. 

At FIAO - Il Centro, the first Italian class for children aged five to eight begins at 10 am. The second Italian class for children between the ages of nine and twelve begins at 11 am. There is also an Italian class for adults at 12 am, coordinated by the teacher Maria Grazia Notarnicola. The duration of each class is approximately one hour. 

Italy and the Italian language in New York continue to fly high at FIAO - Il Centro.

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