Don Bosco and his educational system today

da | 24/02/2015 | AAS BLOG | 0 commenti

Bicentenary Lecture
9th Successor of Don Bosco & Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco (2002 – 2014)
Chancellor of the Salesian Pontifical University (2002 – 2014)
President of the Union of Superiors General (2006 – 2012)

Studium Theologicum Salesianum, Jerusalem – 19 February 2015

On the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco, I was asked to present, before this august assembly (of professors and students) of the Faculty of Theology in Jerusalem, which is an extension of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome, the theme “Don Bosco and his educational system today”! Basically, my paper is expected to discuss the “elements in the contemporary Preventive System”. This will allow us to be in harmony with Don Bosco, since his “system” of education, based on some general principles, has been practiced, tested and perfected, in what has been called, the “educational workshop”’ of Turin-Valdocco.

I shall limit myself to presenting some “pedagogical principles”, expressed and intentional, of the Preventive System. First I shall discuss their historical dimension, and then the possibilities and conditions for applying them in today’s world, in order to indicate a way to overcome some of the current approaches to the Bosconian system that are no longer suited to our times.

Preamble: Preventive System today and why it needs to be made up-to-date

If it is true that history – the science that helps to understand the past – does not give recipes for the future (history is not a project), it is equally true that making something up-to-date – an understanding of the past for the proper implementation of a project at present, and a projection of it into the future – cannot be confused with invention, without any link with history (making something up-to-date is not creation ex-novo).

Now, as we know, the Preventive System of Don Bosco is definitely “dated”, as adequate and suitable for a world that does not exist anymore; however, it is always relevant and vital, not because one often affirms it or writes it everywhere, but only because it is seriously made up-to-date (innovated, “translated”, decoded, inculturated, deepened, re-thought, integrated, updated…), in the light of modern educational problems which were obviously unknown to Don Bosco.

This may be due to four conditions, two positive and two negative:

1. If the preventive system is understood in its “historical” meaning in relation to its time, and indefinitely “historicised”, bearing in mind that, the meaning that we, the children of the XXI century give to the Bosconian lexicon of XIX century, is almost certainly not the one that Don Bosco, his youth and his contemporaries, gave and perceived.

2. If one takes into account the progress of science that is involved, and especially the many revolutions that have changed the world, and with it, young people.

3. If it is not ideologized, that is translated into patterns that absolutize one aspect as if it were everything: the Preventive System is spirituality, pastoral life, catechesis, social assistance, recreational activity, pedagogy, educational assistance and much more.

4. If there are not too many “updaters”, who “invent” for their own purpose, perhaps on the basis of biographical readings and bibliographies which are now out of date, or the monotonous repetition of simple formulas and phrases, sometimes poorly understood.

In short, it will take into consideration the contribution of those who work in the field and scholars to develop the great potentiality of the Preventive System, to modernize its principles, concepts, original orientations, to reinterpret at theoretical and practical levels, the great ideas underlying the System with which we are all familiar: the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls”; “Living faith, firm hope, theological-pastoral charity”; “good Christian and honest citizen”; “cheerfulness, study and piety”; “the three S (sanità – studio – santità, health – study – holiness)”; “piety, morality, culture, civilization”; “evangelization and civilization” …, the broad orientations of the method: “make oneself loved – if you wish, rather than – make oneself feared”; “reason, religion, loving kindness”; “father, brother, friend”; “familiarity, especially in recreation: “win the heart”; “educator consecrated to the welfare of his pupils”; “great freedom to jump, run, shout and be happy”…. The significance of all these, needs to be reconsidered, for the “new” young people who are called to live in a vast and hitherto unknown range of situations and problems, and at a time that is changed decisively, and in which the human sciences themselves are in a phase of critical reflection.


For the first three important ideas we shall take their cue from what Don Bosco wrote in an unpublished letter of 1846 to the mayor and the municipal authorities of Turin:

“In all these three places [of Turin] by means of instruction, schools, and recreation one constantly instills good habits, love for work, respect for authority and the laws according to the principles of our Holy Catholic Religion: there are Sunday schools on the principles of the Italian language, arithmetic and metric system […] It was necessary to open a hospice to house 25 to 30 youths, the most abandoned and needy. So far everything went well because of the help of some zealous and charitable persons, Ecclesiastical and Secular […], considering it [such work] only to prevent, so that the youth will not become prey to idleness, disorder, and irreligion” (“Ricerche Storiche Salesiane”, 43, 2003, n. 2 pp. 343-344).

Right from the start, the life and activity of Don Bosco manifested welfare, social and pedagogical characteristics. For Don Bosco the prerequisite for a true and real educational project consisted of concern for the basic needs of young people: food, clothing, shelter, security, work, physical and mental development, social inclusion, a minimum of values, etc. Then came – but the two moments were not chronologically separated – the true and real education of the young for the promotion and expansion of the cognitive, affective and ethical dimension: competence for decision-making, ability to assume moral and civil responsibilities, indispensable basic culture and professional competence, conscious and coherent religious commitment, etc.

Thus, the preventive system entails two separate operations: assistance which provides for the basic human needs in an effort to prevent possible dangers of anguish and forms of human, cultural and social marginalization; and a prevention which is truly educative (or even re-educational) for the social, moral and religious maturation of the young.

Such a project seems relevant even today, when we consider the deep transformations that have taken place in society. There is need for a decisive recovery of the social welfare values of the Preventive System, just as there is need to recover those values that belong to the sphere of the affective, emotional, natural and supernatural.

Compared to the times of Don Bosco, the conditions of the feasibility and the versions in which the Preventive System is practiced have changed considerably today. The educational objective of Don Bosco translated itself in a variety of initiatives different from the present-day ones (or are conceived differently today), and in applications that called for methodologies appropriate to the diversity. But it was always within a society that was fundamentally homogeneous or considered as such, and because of this, it was not difficult to transplant the same system in heterogeneous worlds.

Today the commitment to education is in constant expansion, and the tasks of the educator are increasingly difficult to realize and to verify. If once upon a time there were practically only the courtyard, church, laboratory and school, today we are in the presence of different types of schools, educational and therapeutic institutions, communities and centres for children and young people in difficulty, drug addiction prevention centres, consulters, humanitarian initiatives for young people who live on the streets, refugee camps with large numbers of children and young people, centres for immigrants … And all this is found in a society that is complex and cosmopolitan.


Don Bosco realised his project through the co-operation of large circles of people. In the utopia of a movement as vast as the world, he dreamed of the collaboration and complementarity of all active Catholics and all people of good will, interested in the future of humanity. In concrete, however, his experience was mostly realised in an institution: an  “institutional” system, closed, separate, non-political and independent, where everything took place within a precise self-sufficient educational space, where the teachers officially recognized, were Don Bosco and his “sons” and where there was a single and simple culture: Catholics of the popular class, whose only aspiration was to provide themselves with sufficient means for earthly life, and wait for the heavenly prize for such a life.

It seems that, today, in order to practice the Preventive System, there is the need for maximum involvement, with its accompanying moral responsibility, of all the “operators” of education, hopefully of all adults, who in their various capacities, influence the education of the young and their ability to make choices for life: parents, teachers, educators, health workers, politicians, economists, administrators at all levels, educational agencies, school organizers, directors of means of mass communication, associations for cultural, sport and leisure time activities, religions, churches.

In order to value the educational function of such a galaxy of adults, it will be necessary to have an educational project, which will take into consideration the ethical orientations, legal instruments, economic support and structures capable of coordinating. By combining their energies in a network, all the active forces available are helped to give their specific contribution to the human growth of young. Obviously, to form alliances to share strategies, time, and modality, involves no small difficulty, given the heterogeneity and diversity of the forces involved. Nevertheless it is a prerequisite for reaping the benefits of our commitment to education.


The Preventive System of Don Bosco is based on a vision of the human person, of the citizen, and of the traditional Christian, simple, typical of a historical period that is no longer ours, and one that today reveals all its limitations.

The honest citizen of the third millennium is not what was understood by Don Bosco, son of a time when one did not envisage an “active politics”, except by a minority of rich and privileged, among whom the poor pre-adolescents or adolescents or the middle class collected in his houses, would have found a place only with great difficulty. Even the analysis and evaluation of the problems and the social issues of the time, tended to look for the causes of the failures only in the moral and religious responsibility of the individuals, as Don Bosco did, and not in the conditioning and determinism of economic, political, social, legal conditions etc. And even the one who passively obeyed the laws, and did not create a problem of justice, “thought only about his affairs”. The transition from absolute monarchy, first to liberal parliamentary system and then to democracy, the emergence of the “social question” with socialism, Marxism, trade unions, social doctrine of the Church, universal demand for active and democratic citizenship etc., have left their heavy mark on society. Thus, today we have the unstoppable advance of pluralism, globalization, modern information and communication technologies, the widespread multiculturalism.

In the same perspective it is also evident that the good Christian of today may no longer be what Don Bosco and many like him conceived: a minimum of religious formation, customary reception of the sacraments, devotions to saints as models and ideals of Christian life, exclusive reading of “good” books, absolute obedience to the legitimate ecclesiastical authorities in the only ark of salvation (the Catholic Church), a life of progress in virtues which then would happily be ended with a virtuous death. If things had remained the same, it would mean that, a century of theological reflection and the Second Vatican Council have been in vain, and the plurality of religion and faith of the world of today would not indicate anything.

We must therefore take into consideration that, the well-known formula of “honest citizens and good Christians” is to be re-established today on anthropological and theological foundations, and it is to be reinterpreted historically and politically.

A renewed anthropology should identify, among the values of tradition, what should be emphasized in postmodern society and what are the new ones to be proposed; a renewed theological reflection should clarify the relationship between faith and politics, between different faiths; a renewed historical-political analysis should deal with education and politics, education and social commitment, politics and civil society. In other words, it should answer the following questions:

a. What does it mean to be a “man”, “woman”, “young”, “Christian”, “member of the church” at the beginning of the third millennium?

b. Today, what does the two hundred year old concept of the “duties of a citizen” mean? Is it translatable – and in what way –into a modern concept of moral and social “responsibility” at the international level?

c. In a secular, pluralistic, multi-ethnic and multi-religious context, does society still accept the subordination of the temporal order to the transcendent, and the primacy of individual values over social values, of religious factors over worldly ones, Catholic elements over those which are simply Christian or not even Christian, and European “values” over those of other geographic areas?

d. How can we overcome the almost total lack in the Bosconian experience – with the intention of forming good citizens that tended to “alienate” the pupils from the daily contact with any non-Salesian reality – of education to the “social” and  “political” aspects of life?

e. In a modern way, how do we fill in the glaring shortcomings of the Preventive System of Don Bosco in terms of the education of the young to affectivity, sexuality, human love, since according to the custom of the times, it was never implemented in a mixed environment of boys and girls, and has always been reticent about these concepts, and had recourse only to simple control and “silence”, although ”loving kindness’ was one of its strong points?

4.  Pedagogical and psychological attention

Don Bosco wrote in 1862, making an evaluation of 20 years of his work among young people:

“To know the results obtained from these schools, from the oratories, and from the oratory house of St. Francis de Sales, it is necessary to divide the pupils into three classes: unruly, dissipated, and good. The good persevere and progress in the good in a wonderful way. The dissipated, that is, those used to wander around, work only a little, also lead to positive results with art, assistance, education and employment. With the unruly one has to do a lot; if one can make them have a little taste for work, for the most part one has obtained good result. With the means mentioned one could get some results that can be stated as follows: 1) that they do not become worse; 2) many become reasonable, so that they can earn a living honestly; 3) those who are under supervision and seemed insensitive, in the course of time, if not all, at least some, become more pliable. One should allow time to make use of the good principles they have learned and how they should be practiced.”

The description of the typology of youth of Don Bosco, which normally occurs in short formulas like the one quoted, comes almost exclusively from his direct experience in the field. Not being able to rely on the psycho-pedagogical sciences that were then in their infancy, and having no personal specific studies in the field, his framework for social analysis, in which he was involved, lacked criteria to work on the structural level. Hence, he was “consecrated” to the education of the individual youth, brought together in his institution, and therefore “protected” in the physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual areas.

Today all the forces that wish to refer to the Preventive System need to appeal to a theoretical framework that is broad, articulated and tailored to the needs of our day. Just think of the worlds evoked by words such as anthropological mutation, deconstruction of thought, universal code of ethics, tolerance, globalization, interdependence, interculturalism, multi-ethnicity, new education…

Today one can have systematic information about the real conditions of youth – as ever-changing and diversified according to situations and problems –through sophisticated search tools and sociological and psychological analysis. And this information tells us that the youth have expanded beyond measure, that given the current conditions of youth and the conflicting environments in which they grow up, they should be considered “abandoned”, “dangerous and unsafe” (= at risk), to say it with DB, regarding almost all young people of the world. The same can be said about the actual “potential” of the child, boy, teenager, young, young-adult, for whom the educational process is implemented.

This leads to the possibility of a greater personalisation of it in relation to the actual “freedom” of the pupil, to his demands for autonomy in choosing goals and means to achieve them, the “energy” of which he is the bearer (vitality, ideal, desires, and also restlessness, contradictions, reasons, passions) which must be respected and helped to develop with resources and different methods in different stages of life. And it is always desirable to encourage a more positive appreciation and a more explicit use of the inner energies of the young, with the increased use of personal autonomy, and of group, in educational cooperation. This will also lead to a greater focus on the educational pluralism in which young people grow up.


In the Bosconian pedagogical teleology, the salvation of souls is the inspiration that gives life to its dynamism and its educational method, in full harmony with the pastoral exigencies of the nineteenth century in which the anxiety for salvation was a categorical imperative of one’s actions.

The ultimate goal of preventive education of Don Bosco – which today we shall define as a human individual existence, social and religious – is historically expressed in the classic expression of “salvation of souls.” It is the culmination of a long process that began on this earth through a life of grace of which the Church is the guarantor, which can grow to the level of heroic forms of love of God and neighbour. In such a case we are dealing with holiness of the altar, of holiness canonized.

But it is equally true and correct to affirm that holiness is more widespread and “working” in the lives of those who live in a state of habitual grace because one has managed, with personal effort and with the help of the Spirit, to avoid sin in the form most common among youth: bad companions, bad speech, impurity, scandal, theft, indulgence, pride, human respect, neglect of religious duties …

The ability to achieve this “salvation-holiness” is conditioned by different provisions or availability of the above categories of young people: “unruly, dissipated, good.” Therefore, the wise pedagogy of the Preventive System of Don Bosco, works gradually in persons, and according to their different ability to understand, assimilate and live it, and with differentiation and hierarchy of goals, contents and proposals.

But even “sanctity”, in short, was not a goal proposed only to some “good” boy, to some aristocratic élite, but for all young people of Valdocco, regardless of their state as students and artisans. “It is God’s will that we should be saints; it is easy to be saints; there is a great reward waiting in heaven for those who become saints.” Only the best took literally that vocation; one among them, Dominic Savio, lived in the “small seminary of Valdocco” (“I feel a need to become a saint, and if I do not become a saint, I do nothing. God wants me to be a saint and I must become one “; others achieved sanctity in a manner that is admirable (Francesco Besucco, Michael Magone), and others attained it as they could. It will be the task of Don Bosco to indicate to each one the kind of itinerary suited to them, from the highest forms of constant contact with the God, to those more simple of fulfilment of their daily duties.


  • The educator, in tune with Don Bosco, believes that reason is a gift of God, and it is a grace, and in it one can discover the values of good, setting objectives to be pursued and to find means and ways to achieve them. Reason and reasonableness (which easily become common sense, healthy realism, authentic respect for people) lends the educator the ability to adapt himself to various environments and situations in which he operates, and to pay personal attention to each individual young person. In the Preventive System reason appears to be a fundamental means of education because it avoids all forms of violent imposition and unquestioned acceptance of a command. But reason should be educated through study, school, instruction and respect for human and Christian values. In the introduction to one of his first books, Bible History, Don Bosco wrote: “On every page I had always fixed that principle: enlighten the mind to make the heart good.”
    But reason also, like the other two words of the triad, is to be re-read in the light of evident revolutions of concepts and mentalities. At the time of Don Bosco and for much of the following century, the Salesian “culture” proved to be very traditional, conservative, and mostly only functional to a profession or student or artisan. Besides the mode of transmission of such a “culture” was predominantly authoritarian, closed to free readings, personal research, discussion and debate.
    Today in the face of technological rationality, of taking refuge in the emotional immediate, of the arrival of “weak thought”, and together with the demand for “critical thinking” within a “liquid society”, reason is asked to recover the fullness of its significance and functions: to observe, reflect, understand, test, verify, change, adapt, decide, develop, assimilate quickly and flexibly, all the proposals and suggestions from the “field of educational work” and academic reflection.
    And it is with “reason” that one constructs that anthropology, updated and integral, with which the educator carefully reads the signs of the times and identifies the emerging values that attract young people today: peace, freedom, justice, solidarity, participation, promotion of women, ecological urgency…


  • The highest form of human reason-reasonableness is the acceptance of the mystery of God. For Don Bosco, religion constitutes the highest objective and the unifying element of his entire system of education. Religion, understood both as religiosity and as positive religion, is at the apex of the educational process, but at the same time it is a tool for education, functional to a Christian life oriented towards communion with God the Creator and Jesus the redeemer. Don Bosco was convinced that a real education is not possible without openness to the transcendent.
    This is not a speculative and abstract religion, but a living faith rooted in reality and stemming from presence and communion, listening and docility to grace. It is not for nothing that “the columns” of the building of education are the Eucharist, Penance, devotion to Our Lady, love for the Church and her pastors. Education is then a “journey” of prayer, liturgy, sacramental life, spiritual direction: for some, the response to the vocation of special consecration; for all, the perspective and the attainment of holiness.
    Don Bosco’s concern in the face of the phenomena of indifference, anti-clericalism, non-religiosity, Protestant proselytizing and paganism, should not be very different from that of the educators of today, from whom one asks a solid and in-depth comparison between culture and faith. And this cannot be different due to the fact that, between them and Don Bosco there is a connection, as mentioned: the century that saw modernism, the liturgical movement, the foundation and the strengthening of morality and spirituality, the return to the sources of the Christian message announced in Scripture, the Second Vatican Council, ecumenism, the rediscovery of the role of the laity in the Church … and at the same time, wars, political and social revolutions of global dimensions, the spread of a relativistic mentality both in the fields of knowledge and life, recurrent fundamentalism, close ties between religion, state and politics, and crisis of international rights.


  • The term Loving kindness is everywhere in Salesian literature, although understood in different ways. It consists of a real availability to the young, profound sympathy for them, capacity for dialogue, goodness, cordiality and understanding. As part of preventive education, it is manifested in the commitment to be a person “consecrated” to the good of his pupils, always present in their midst, ready to make sacrifices and accept hardships in fulfilling his mission.
    Thus, we have arrived at another ‘mythical’ term: assistance, often understood only as nagging physical omnipresence, to be able to defend and protect a weak and inexperienced minor, without placing sufficient attention on the risk involved in blocking the natural and legitimate process of autonomy needed for maturation.
    In the context of loving kindness personal relations have a privileged place. Don Bosco loved to use the term familiarity to define the correct relationship between educators and young people. The objectives to be achieved, the programme and methodological orientations to be followed, acquire concreteness and efficacy, if it is marked by a natural spirit of family that is lived in an environment that is serene, joyful and stimulating. In this context it is good to recall the ample space and dignity which Don Bosco gave to recreation, sports, music, theater and the courtyard. It is in spontaneous and joyful relationships that an astute educator finds ways of intervening, so mild in expressions, as they are effective in the results for the continuity and the climate of friendship in which they are realized; not to mention the experience of the group, a fundamental element in the Salesian pedagogical tradition.
    Today the traditional loving kindness should be reconsidered in its fundamentals as in its content and manifestations. It calls for a novel relationship between adults and young people and their self-consciousness. Indeed they are always more careful about not letting themselves be “trapped” emotionally and dangerously by adults (paedophilia). But loving kindness should be reconsidered also because of the critical situation of their families, characterized by a lack of fraternal relations (single children), of the constant presence of the mother (inserted in the labour market) and of lasting relationships between parents (divorces, separations).
    This makes one aware how much need there is to “invent a concrete and articulated preventive pedagogy for family”, which re-applies with particular critical care, in changed situations, the key concepts of the “system”, especially the question of “loving kindness”, oscillating between affective creativity, reassuring sense of belonging, anxious possessiveness, violence” (P. Braido, Prevenire, non reprimere…, p. 403).
    In the same way “family spirit” needs to be revived and updated, and should go beyond those forms of paternalism and ‘familiarity’ of the past in order to arrive at relations that are “free” and liberating and truly personalizing; even ‘assistance’ understood as “closing doors and windows” of the environment of youth, and the constant presence of the educator close to the young, should have to deal with young people who freely surf the Internet, communicate with mobile phones, interact with hundreds of TV channels, and meet each other where they want and how they want.
    Thus to respond to the legitimate, explicit and increasingly frequent requests for forms of activism, self-governance, self-management, the Preventive System should profitably, and to the extent that is possible, be associated with them, evaluating them carefully and supporting the most suitable forms.


The effectiveness of the Preventive System lies in the ability of the educator to plan, implement, and check the contents of his intervention; in other words: to know exactly what one wants, what to do, and what to search. In a sense, one could say that, the Preventive System is the educator. The expression might sound exaggerated, if it were not that, in the mind of Don Bosco, the educator is the undisputed possessor of the entire system.

The first task of the educator is, therefore, to be present, and not to stay out of the field where the game is played. If it is true that in the pupil there are all the dispositions for realizing his life to the full, it is equally true that, left to himself he could run the risk of not actualising all of them, or jeopardize altogether the possibility of growth.

An educator, safe and reassuring, aware of his duty and responsibility, authoritative but not authoritarian, seeks to establish a genuine dialogue and a constructive encounter with a young person. Vitally involved in the educational relationship is his personality, his past, his fears, and his anxieties, which affect the formation of the pupil. In reality, it is his person that educates.

Today, as we have just said, young-adult relations have changed significantly compared to the time of Don Bosco, which also results, in this perspective, in a radically new way of interpreting and experiencing the idea and the very role of educator as “father”, “brother”, “friend”. First of all it is necessary that, one does not consider oneself anymore the possessor and sole interpreter of the system, and thus impose or propose prepackaged certainties; it is also necessary that one makes oneself capable of interpreting the needs of young people which they themselves find it difficult to express, of accompanying them in their arduous search for answers to questions on fundamentals of life, of respecting their right to be and feel themselves to be the protagonists, of reducing one’s primary function in order to educate oneself while one educates, be it on the easy terrain of comparison or on that which is difficult, but equally useful, of an inevitable conflict.

In the educator, the young are not looking so much for a father who thinks of everything in his place, a friend who organizes leisure, a brother who is interested in his growth, an adult who issues orders, or an overseer who threatens with punishments, but a man who is capable of standing next to him, more attentive to his person than to the general needs of education, more available to offer him a positive contribution to the development of his untapped potential, than one who is only attentive to neutralize the elements that are negative and counterproductive.


All that remains is to conclude, not so much with an exhortation to deepen the narrow concept of the Preventive System, but with an invitation to expand the understanding of prevention as meditated early (precoce) and extensive intervention, that promotes a series of initiatives to target the resources of each group of young people towards  attractive and valid projects, and to prepare for them opportunities for growth that not only promote knowledge of the world and things – more than enough of this is provided on the internet – but also make them grow in the meaning of life and to have a taste for what is good and positive.

To educate in these circumstances, by proposing valid and engaging experiences; make the young people grow from within relying on their inner freedom and by opposing external conditioning; “win the hearts” of the young in order to lure them serenely towards true values, correct deviations, and help them keep their passions under control; prepare them for the future by combining the formation of the mind with the acquisition of practical skills; arrive where the behaviour of young people are born and take root, in order to develop in them a personality capable of making their own decisions and discernment; qualify young people to the concreteness of social and ecclesial life: here is the difficult task of the educator who wants to be inspired by the Preventive System of Don Bosco.

The roots are solid, the sources clear, and from these can be reborn, in rich forms of the future an updated “New Preventive System”, already advocated by the Rector Major Fr. Egidio Viganò, but not yet organically produced. It will emerge, thanks to the joint efforts of prepared groups, associated not only as legally “authoritative” members, which naturally envisage not only the necessary involvement of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Daughers of Mary Help of Christians, Salesian Cooperators, Past Pupils, and other groups in the Salesian Family, but also the help of historians, theologians, spiritual masters, experts in educational science, educators and pastors. The “New Education”, which must match the “New Evangelization”, cannot miss the important contribution of a “New Preventive System”.

Jerusalem, February 19, 2015

Don Pascual Chávez V., SDB

Right from the start, the life and activity of Don Bosco manifested welfare, social and pedagogical characteristics