La Pinya

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= alternative education in Catalonia


by Aviv Kruglanski:

"La Pinya is a school held in a squatted house on the outskirts of Barcelona. a high percent of parents involved are activists, some of which live in squats around the city. with kids ranging from ages 3 to 9, it is self-organized by the parents who meet together with the educators to decide on the course the school will take and to resolve the problems and conflicts that arise. the group that decides the curriculum meets every day in the morning. it is the assamblea formed by the children attending, where each one explains the activities she or he is going to engage in during the day.

Pinya in Catalan means pinecone. The expression ‘fer pinya’ means to stick together and help each other out. it is also a structure used in ‘castellets’, a traditional Catalan human-castle, where people have to literally create a strong base-structure in order not to fall and hurt themselves.

schools such as La Pinya are spaces full of learning possibilities. sometimes divided into thematic corners, the rooms contain the information, in the form of books, games and materials, for the kid to play with and discover. obviously a kid simply left to its own devices outside of such a structure would encounter a whole different set of information. our cultural landscape is mainly made out of opportunities to get hypnotized by consumerism. therefore an intellectually nutritious environment is important for this kind of project to work.

just like the seed balls, projects such as Moixaina and La Pinya, use a format they oppose (school) to create a protected space where liberty can do it’s thing. a fertile cocoon, artificially created to nurture curiosity and play, which are the makings of real learning." (