Cristina gutiérrez lestón, the director

About me

I define myself as an optimistic, persevering, proactive and hard-working person. My vision of innovation is to create new solutions for the educational difficulties that I encounter on a daily basis with children and young people. Throughout my career I have led the creation of the La Granja Method, based on emotional education and tested for 15 years with over 18,000 students from 3 to 14 years of age, who attend school camps every year at La Granja.

The La Granja Method is not only a form of education, but also a 4 month training period for teams to become emotional educators who can develop the Method with rigor and scientifically proven results. I consider myself first and foremost an Emotional Educator, although I am also the director of La Granja, a media promoter and a writer of books and educational stories, with the intention of sharing what I know and how it works for me with children to help modify their attitudes and behaviors. I am also in charge of the Emotional Management Program for children with neurofibromatosis at the Sant Joan de Déu Children’s Hospital in Barcelona, ​​and I am a member, through La Granja, of the Masia 360 emotional education project at FC Barcelona. I am also an Advisor to the Andorran Department of Education in the new Education Law, and editor of the publication “Va de Educación” since 2004.

You can click here to see an example of my lectures “Aprendemos Juntos” de BBVA.

Three things I have learned:

1- Children are the essence of humanity.

Yes they are. I see it every day because I am also lucky to see them interact with nature, animals and horses …and this is when they feel more in harmony, calmer, as if they were finally where their childlike nature tells them to be, the forest, without haste, feeling the cool breeze on their faces, the smell of fresh leaves… and the silence that allows them to listen to their inner self. I realize that understanding and knowing children makes it easier for me to understand the essence of  being human, and to see clearly what it is that moves us; the curiosity that leads to discovery (although the educational system has often crushed these natural inclinations as we grow).

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When we cease to feel this curiosity, this inclination to feel surprised, to daydream, it is like falling asleep, as if we stopped being ourselves to become someone we do not know. Someone who spends his life in a hurry, running to get to a place on time that someone else has decided for him, although sometimes forgetting to tell him “what for”. And slowly, without realizing it, we substitute dreams and passion for anguish, as if this were what is “expected”, forgetting that our essence is discovery and curiosity, and the creativity needed to becoming ourselves, as unique beings, with a special role to be played in the world, a role that is exclusively ours … one that we often have not yet discovered. Worst of all is that we often insist that this pattern be repeated in our sons and daughters…

2- If something doesn’t work for you, change it. Children are a mirror.

I still remember my feeling of helplessness when I felt that I wasn’t achieving my goals with the children. Anger, sadness, frustration, blaming others (society, parents, television, politicians …). But the complaint was not effective at all since the problems were still there. Until one day I stopped complaining and asked myself “what can I do that has not yet been done, that I have not yet tried, what can I do differently?” And a window suddenly opened in front of me, I started to act and train. I started trying everything, until something worked for me. Children are like a mirror, where everything you are is reflected: after being with children for a while you find an answer. I like to remember feeling, although my window was very small, that the sky continued to feel just as big. In other words, children helped to make my window big … so that I can jump outside, and this is what I do: I jump thanks to them!

3- The amazing capacity that all children have to think and deduce.

An 8 year old girl told me once: “I have left fear behind me in the forest, I don’t want it with me”, another 10 year old boy asked me “what is the meaning of life?” … I have dozens of questions like these … how many adults have not been able to ask themselves questions like these? Children have this capacity, I see it every day when given enough time and space. The day I stopped talking and began to ask instead, my life as an educator changed forever. This was the secret, and it is the secret of La Granja, we don’t speak, we ask and thus turn the children into the main characters of their own life. It is then that the unpolished gems become diamonds, letting out the treasures that are hidden inside. That’s when I realize that I have the best job in the world!