The Hundred Languages of Children

The Hundred Languages of Children

At GCELA children use their “hundred languages” to work through experiences and projects.

These languages are symbolic and include drawing, sculpting, dramatic play, writing, and painting etc. They are used to represent children’s thinking and theories around a topic or an encounter with a learning experience. While children work through problems and ideas, they are encouraged to illustrate their understanding using many different languages. Revisiting representations is vital in determining if they are representative of the children’s intent or if they require modification after the child had gained experience in a topic or has found new ways of thinking. As children work they scaffold their learning using prior knowledge to bridge them to a new level of understanding.

The Hundred Languages of Childhood

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,

Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach

(Source: ©2018 ReggioKids – with permission)