Hello everyone !
Spring is coming, I just arrived to New York city and thought I would post a summary of this (quite intense) winter.
Small State school in Monfort, South of France. Instead of the traditional RIIING, it’s the sound of accordion that says that playtime is over.
4th and 5th year in Monfort. A girl is leading a self-organised workshop to learn divisions with a small group of voluntary children.
Cyriaque (teacher): “Sometimes I feel like they almost don’t need me anymore.”
“Build a merry-go-round that can spin for one minute after you start it”. This is the autonomous activity chosen by these 3 pupils from a science and technology experience book.
I just arrived in Spain hitchhiking! The beauty of the landscapes and the kindness of people are wonderful.
A few moments climbing the mountains to meet the anarchist hippies living in the caves. A few days in the freedom of spontaneous meetings.
“Lola, why don’t you write anymore?”
The reason: Costa tropical in Andalucía. That’s it.
The French ministery of education accepted my second gap year, yay!
Tonight’s experience in Seville with my friend Jerome from Couchsurfing:
2 super nice travelers looking for a couch to stay the night. (It worked!)
Experience number 2 in Seville with Jerôme:
Yesterday’s dinner was cooked using only ingredients that we found in the dumpsters of supermarkets in less than an hour. Nowadays 1/3 of edible food is dumped, and a significant part of it is therefore in these bins because of a consumerist logics. Cool world we live in!
Experience number 3 with Jérôme in Sevilla :
– Hitchhiking to “anywhere”
– Ending up in a car to Cádiz with a business lawyer
– Looking for a place to stay with a cardboard sign
– Sleeping in a flowery-decorated hostel for free, invited by the receptionnist.
Seville: hitchhiking, dumpster-diving and spontaneous accommodation experiences. Jérôme Tricomi is the first person from Couchsurfing who opened his door to me in September; instead of 3 days I had spent 2 weeks at his place. He is one of these people who are so generous and inspiring that they become irritating…
Children’s games in the Spanish Paideia ‘libertarian school’, one of the few schools in the world that defines itself as ‘anarchist’ and ‘feminist’!
This is how a student described it to me: “We can do whatever we want to do but we are responsible for ourselves, otherwise we would just be spoilt kids”.
Yesterday’s adventure: my plan is to leave Spain in the morning and stay at Cyriaque’s place (the teacher I met in Monfort) in the South of France. Hitchhiking in the Pyrenees takes more time than I planned, it’s 9pm and I still haven’t arrived. It’s dark, I give up and start looking for a hostel. The receptionnist of the only hotel in the village where I just arrived is not very helpful: “Well there’s no room miss, next time you’ll remember to book in advance!” I walk for 5 minutes wondering where the hell I’m going to sleep tonight when I see a house with anarchist slogans on the windows. I knock on the door and end up finding accommodation in an anarchist squat founded last week by a group of yellow vests! The place is absolutely incredible: you have a free bar-restaurant that serves dumpster-dived food, solar panels that produce electricity, a kids’ area with games… People’s ages and lives are very different but all have gathered to create a self-managed commune.
Go yellow vests!
Current reading :
“The fatalistic, discouraging ideology which drives the liberal discourse is stalking the world. In the name of postmodernism it seeks to persuade us that we can do nothing to change the social situation which, once seen as historical and cultural, is now becoming ‘almost the natural state’.”
Many different activities everywhere in the Tourrihou school (South of France). Inspired by the Freinet and 3rd type pedagogies, the school gives a great importance to the building up of the group and of the school culture. Emmanuel teacher of the 6-11 year-olds: “They never want to go out of the classroom. At the end of the day, I have to push them out…”
/!\ Warning, this video looks like a different world /!\
Improvised walk to the river, free time. No specific objectives, no teaching, and yet learning happens in various ways. Funny story: last year, Emmanuel went wild-camping with his pupils!
Sports time in the Tourrihou school: climbing and cycling.
Today’s workshops in the Tourrihou school:
- DIY: bird feeder constructing.
- Science: wired phone making.
- Research: 3 pupils preparing a presentation about the history of their village go out of the school (alone) to meet the people working in the townhall and ask them questions!
Just arrived in Slovenia (the 7th country of the trip), officially achieved 10000 kilometers hitchhiking! I also have lost 20° compared to Spain, I kind of get the feeling that I’m going in the wrong direction but apart from that all good.
Until today I have seen more generosity than danger in the people I’ve met. So I wonder : am I really “lucky” like everyone keeps telling me or is there something wrong with our representation of the world?
Back to a Steiner school, in Budapest. The welcoming is much warmer: “Helloo miss Looola” say the 9-year-olds all together following the Steiner tradition. Apart from the morning prayers to mother nature full of Christian references and the flute ritual (who has ever thought that 20 children playing flute all together would be a good idea?), the atmosphere is nice and the children are cheerful.
In the pictures, two children’ artworks. A woolen angel made by the Steiner pupils. Dark Vador made of pieces of garbage found around the school (in the context of a project with local artists) made by the Freinet pupils. Disturbing anecdote: this morning, I asked why there are angels everywhere in the primary school. I was told that “it’s because children of that age are very close to the world of angels”. I stayed perplexed for a few seconds, waiting for the moment to laugh. But no, apparently it was not a joke, the world of angels is part of the Steiner esoteric philosophy… So angel or Dark Vador? You can vote in the comments!
Just arrived in Ukraine, last stop in Europe. In this school, the pupils learn through projects. Theme of the month: Asia, which is spontaneously reinvested by the children who are here building the Chinese wall with construction toys.
Unusual experience of the day: make an interview for regional Ukrainian TV!
With Svitlana, the founder of the school that I’m visiting who translated my answers, we talked about democratic education in a country where, in public and private schools, the pedagogical freedom is very limited.
Here is the glorious interview I did for Ukrainian TV. A very random, a bit surreal interview but in the end it’s still kind of funny…