Friday, May 30, 2008

The Hundred Languages Of Children - A Poem

My, my, my it's been a late night with her. So, I'm just going to post a poem - my favorite poem. I always get a bit of a lump in my throat when I read it. The poem, "The Hundred Languages of Children" was written by Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the 'Reggio Emilia' approach to childcare. My brain is too mushy tonight to explain this approach well enough but, I've found a site that explains it fabulously:

I had the opportunity to work with an educator who was learning about this approach and practising it in her classroom. It was the most amazing experience I've ever had working in childcare. The children were so stimulated, curious - they were little scientists!

Our role as teachers was basically that of facilitator. We observed, recorded, and documented their play and provided whatever it was they needed to take it a step further. Projects could go from a few days to over a month.
It is absolutely amazing what children are capable of if we back off and give them the space and opportunity to really explore their interests.

The Hundred Languages Of Children
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 at 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)


  1. Mum and soon to be teacherMarch 25, 2010

    So beautiful!

  2. Marveling is spelled wrong!!!

  3. Hello, I do not agree with the previous commentator - not so simple

  4. I worked as a teacher in a reggio based school and LOVE their philosophy creative thinking should be nurtured not killed

  5. AnonymousMay 17, 2012

    No, it's not simple. Good teaching is an incredible amount of hard work. However, it is an act of love for your students. Environment, documentation, project work based on an image of the child that is competent, strong, curious, intelligent and capable brings joy into teaching. Relationships are essential for inquiry based learning. Being a part of the children's journey as they grow and learn is amazing and worth every sweat drop, minute of time and ounce of effort. When this takes places in a classroom it is simple to do one thing - find the joy.