Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Not just one language but one hundred

Anna reminded us that there are many ways to express ideas.....maybe as many as one hundred. She read a poem called the One Hundred Languages (posted at the end of this entry). This is an important tenet of our approach inspired by the classrooms in Reggio Emilia. The children represent ideas using the languages of expression. This includes wood, clay, drama, dance, math, the written work, and movement. The list is endless especially as a child. 

As ideas are represented in a variety of languages, more children join the conversation and begin to collaborate. The children think deeply about the idea because the languages they use are often multi-dimensional requiring fluidity and flexibility in thought.

Anna asked about our ideas. What have we been noticing  in the Kindergarten? 

"We think there is tree outside in the garden that is not really a tree. It has a concrete door in it."

Anna asked if we had ideas regarding how we would open the door and get inside. 
She suggested that we document our ideas on paper before we started to represent.

This is a drill.

Perhaps a key

or wave a magic wand.

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 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
Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach

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