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Rosa Sensat i Vilà

Teacher (Masnou, 17th June 1873–Barcelona, 1st October 1961)

Rosa Sensat, a teacher and forerunner of the Catalan state school model, was an important woman in education science. Inspired by her educational trips throughout Europe, where she visited some of the most innovative schools of the day, she was entrusted with drawing up the syllabus for the Institut de Cultura and the women's library, the Biblioteca Popular de la Dona.

Rosa Sensat's major contribution to education began in 1914 with the founding of the school, the Escola del Bosc. It was an open-air institution with values that were ahead of their time where all the activities took place outdoors, including maths, natural sciences and sports classes. Concerns about children's health and their physical, social and moral condition paved the way for innovative teaching centring on the lives of people. The woman researcher Rosa Sensat made a key contribution to this field. The school stood in the Jardins de Laribal on Montjuïc, and the children were given free rein to run around in the open air and learn about life outside the classroom.

This woman scientist and educator also made a vital contribution to setting up the women's library, the Biblioteca Popular de la Dona, which was located inside the parish church of Santa Ana until 1922. It is considered the first women's library in Europe. It provided women with access to culture, education and information, regardless of their social background. The library later became part of the cultural institute, the Institut de Cultura, which was nicknamed "La Cultura".

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