The hundred languages of children

Symbolic languages, including drawing, sculpting, dramatic play, writing and painting are used to represent children’s thinking processes and theories. As children work through problems and ideas they are encouraged to depict their understanding using many different representations. As their thinking evolves they are encouraged to revisit their representation to determine if they are representative of their intent or if they require modification. Teachers and children work together towards an expressed intent.

The Hundred Languages

No way.
The hundred is there.

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)