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Benjamin Galvin

Elementary mentor

Benjamin Galvin elementary mentor

I come from a big family, and grew up surrounded by my older brothers and sisters, and younger nieces and nephews.

My brother taught me how to draw and make things, my sister how to change nappies and to swim. My taste in music comes from my other brother and sister, and my style of writing from my journalist parents. At the moment my nine-year-old nephew is educating me about philosophy.

After graduating from university with a Fine Art degree, I came to Spain to be with my partner, whom I had met during my studies.

I spent my first few years in Madrid, teaching English as a foreign language, translating, and eventually working as an illustrator and graphic designer for a pioneering American company that specialised in communicating complex ideas.

My partner is a secondary school teacher, and as we both planned to start a family, we began to learn about how to best educate our children. I decided that I wanted to teach.

I had a great time working as a teaching assistant in two schools in Madrid. But the more I learned about methodologies such as Montessori, Waldorf, etc., the more I realised that that was the direction I wanted to take.

During my time as a teaching assistant, driven by the hope of finding an alternative to conventional education, I studied the Forest School methodology with Philip Bruchner. I was astonished at the level of autonomy that the children there were allowed, and also at the positive impact it had on them. It was hard returning to a conventional classroom every Monday morning, after having spent the weekend in what I was convinced a real school should be. A place where children are listened to, allowed to grow, to explore, and be themselves.

When my daughter was born, I was determined to find somewhere that differed from the schools I had worked in. Then I found Mayrit, a place where each child is respected as an individual, where curiosity and exploration is nurtured, and where everybody plays an active role in their own education.

Now, I am right where I want to be. I may be far from the place where I grew up, but I am surrounded by another big family, who continue to teach me things everyday.