Atalaya is a project about active and experiential education in nature. Here in our rural community, a lot of families come to raise their children
away from the city.
We are moved by the excitement of accompanying the kids in a respectful way,
enjoying the journey, taking care of ourselves and each other, and sharing the joy of learning,
discovering and exploring together, while remaining surprised by the challenges that we face
We have experimented, over the last ten years, different ways of organizing and accompanying the children, and we are currently a team of four
adults who make decisions (from the heart) along with several
families and their children that give life and color to this project (our engine!).
In recent times, we have inhabited several different spaces; however, the outcome has always been having to leave the space for one reason or another.
Nothing grows without roots, and we are tired now of moving from one place to another, like snails carrying our houses on our backs. We now look for a stable place of our own in which nothing or no one can remove us.
A place to plant our roots so that we can grow. A piece of our own property in which the life of Atalaya
can develop at a calm, steady pace, spreading its seeds and watching it's fruits mature.
That’s why we are doing this Crowdfunding, to reach our dream of having a common and collective space on our own piece of land. We want to acquire a small piece of land, develop, and build two spaces.
Two spaces that can accommodate our two age groups and their necessities.
(One for the youngsters and one for the older children).
We also need to invest a little bit of money in quality furniture, shelving and
Sturdy, well-made tables... Up to now, we have been using recycled furniture.
The furniture has served us well, but things are always a bit beat-up, such as
collapsing shelves and rickety chairs.
And last but not least, we need another little collection of materials and books… As we keep growing there is need for renewal.
With each person who wants to support us adding their grain of sand, we can
build the pillars of this Atalaya (Watchtower), so that from up there, on top, the
children of our village can keep on climbing and learning, in respect and
Thanks for supporting us, with your little drop of water our seeds can germinate!
Descrizione del progetto. Caratteristiche, punti di forza e peculiarità.
The Atalaya is an active school, where learning takes place in
living from the inside out through all processes.
With clear and sensible limits, we can assure that kids can explore
and go through the different stages of their development, respecting their own needs at their own pace, without imposing common guidelines on them and therefore contemplating each little being
as they are: a unique and unpredictable being with their own characteristics. Avoiding
comparisons, judgments, and expectations. Embracing their emotions.
We want to allow each one to build their own identity in their own way,
listening and letting themselves be guided by that innate intuition which all people are born with; the curiosity that comes with being in a safe environment, which then drives us to try and
replicate things, to explore and question, to try new things, take on challenges etc... We like to encourage the children's
ability to make choices, promoting autonomy and acknowledging mistakes, which
help us to learn so much.
For us it is essential to live in contact with nature, to learn from it,
take care of it and take care of ourselves, enjoy the enormous freedom of being able to grow outdoors and enjoy the rain and the puddles, climb, jump on the stones,
observe ants and search for tadpoles, taste edible plants,
collect fruits and light the stove with the twigs we collect on the walks.
In an increasingly technologized world, our project seeks the silence full of the sounds of nature, the slow and unstoppable pace of the seasons, the physical abilities that it provides to explore a wild natural environment, without being modified by humans.
Although life changes at a frenetic pace, the goal of the Atalaya is to stay a little away from the screens; look back and continue learning from the wisdom accumulated by our ancestors through different jobs such as agriculture, pottery, mechanics, and other professions that surround us. That is why we try to approach traditional trades and weave collective networks into our environment, trying to make school part of community life, sharing the knowledge that surrounds us and knowing the people who carry them out.
In addition to free play, exploring nature and acquiring concrete techniques, both creative and mechanical, we also learn a lot from books, of course! And using materials such as manipulatives, which allows us to understand abstract ideas in a sensorial way. To do so, we have a lot of material devised by Maria Montessori, which leads children to acquire increasingly complex knowledge starting from sensory experimentation, in an autonomous and expiriential way.
We also take elements from other sources, and we do not stop looking for everything that can serve us to continue putting pieces in the infinite puzzle that is the process of learning.
We try to apply mutual aid and cooperation in all possible variants, to keep in mind at all times that a lot of precious individualities are interrelated forming a whole, in which each of its parts is important and unique.
Agreements and collective work are fundamental in La Atalaya to live together in harmony. We all need each other to be exactly what we are.
Motivazione e a chi si dirige il progetto
Atalaya is a project focused on families who want to live upbringing their children in a
natural environment, enjoying nature and its life cycles, far from
those that mark urban life.
Our project is designed for families who are doing their best to raise
conscious and respectful children, seeking for their youngsters a way to construct the pillars on which everything else is built. Families who want
their daughters and sons to be able to develop freely and autonomously, while always
accompanied in their emotions, needs and interests.
We believe that it is very important that there are alternatives to the traditional school and
in rural areas it is vital to promote projects that dynamize and give life again to villages
like ours, that just 15 years ago had become quite depopulated and practically without children.
Since educational projects began to take place in this area, many
families with children have moved here. We all contributed
to recover land that was not cultivated, economies have been somewhat reactivated (renting houses, shopping at markets and local shops),
we learn and continue some traditional professions, we collect the
olives that the old people can no longer harvest, and we provide other kinds of knowledge that
here concrete examples are not given... In short, Atalaya and the families who join it,
contribute to revitalizing the rural environment where we live.
Many older people in the area thank us for the joy that comes with the
noise of laughter and the cries of the kids, in a few streets that for a while,
became dull and silent.
A living school is also a rich and active environment.
Our project is led by four women who make up the team
and are in full service of the Atalaya. We come from diverse trainings and experiences that we consider highly enriching when it comes to accompanying kids in the exploration and understanding of the world from the maximum respect towards childhood, the stages of development and individual processes.
The trajectories of each of us have been very different; we are a
multidisciplinary framework with a personal and professional background that comes from
various areas of knowledge. Navigating from the fields of art,
music, anthropology, audiovisual communication, theatre, and health, which
our great love for childhood and accompaniment from the respect of learning processes has united us. The four of us come from different places;
two of us have lived for years in Mexico, and from there we
have brought a suitcase full of experience in the creation and participation of
alternative education projects, both at the infant and primary levels, and
at university, in urban populations and in indigenous communities.
We have worked with public entities and with autonomous projects, we have accompanied children from two years to youth, inside and outside the classroom; academically and playfully, making workshops, camps, environmental routes, storytelling... We have worked with the social services, in projects of attention to the functional diversity, with self-managed communities, in working-class neighborhoods, in large cities, in public schools and in free schools. We have often worked purely for vocation, without charging, and we have started numerous projects and collaborated in many others.
Despite our different starting points, we have found ourselves in a common place, we share what unites us: the desire to give life and give roots to this educational project; together we want to continue building this Atalaya in which we pour all our learning and knowledge, all our experience and our past discoveries, our ideas, and worldviews.
In recent years we have been focusing on and getting closer to childhood through motherhood (two out of the four of us) and training.
specialized in active pedagogies. We have received training as Guides
Montessori in the stage of Casa de Niñ@s (from 3 to 6 years) and Workshop (from 6 to 9 years), as well as courses on some aspects of Waldorf pedagogy, Creative Expression and different courses and workshops on Active Education and
We believe that all the knowledge and experience we carry can serve to boost the cognitive and emotional development of the children with whom we live, as well as deepening in specific disciplines and fields of learning such as language and communication, mathematical thinking, exploration and knowledge of the world, physical development, health, personal and social development and artistic expression and appreciation.