Hundred Languages

 

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The Hundred Languages Of Children

The Hundred Languages of Children poem is a metaphor used to highlight the importance of not limiting children to express their understanding only through a handful of ways; reading, writing, etc. Rather, it urges us as educators to offer children many ways to show their learning; for example, through movement, building, painting, light and shadow, oral narratives, etc.


 

We have often used this poem as an inspiring take-away gift for teachers who visit our classrooms, attend our conferences, or for the parents of our students.  Having children paint with water colour paints acts as the perfect background for this poem, printed on transparency paper and tied together with twine.


The Hundred Languages

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
A hundred languages
A hundred hands
A hundred thoughts
A hundred ways of thinking
Of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred
Ways of listening of marveling of loving
A hundred joys
For singing and understanding
A hundred worlds
To discover
A hundred worlds
To invent
A hundred worlds
To dream
The child has
A hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
But they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
Separate the head from the body.
They tell the child;
To think without hands
To do without head
To listen and not to speak
To understand without joy
To love and to marvel
Only at Easter and Christmas
They tell the child:
To discover the world already there
And of the hundred
They steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
That work and play
Reality and fantasy
Science and imagination
Sky and earth
Reason and dream
Are things
That do not belong together
And thus they tell the child
That the hundred is not there
The child says: NO WAY the hundred is there–

-Loris Malaguzzi (translated by Lella Gandini)
Founder of the Reggio Approach


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