Monday, September 8, 2014

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 Hundred Languages of Children is a fundamental point of reference for the Reggio Emilia approach to early education. It symbolizes the many ways in which children express themselves. From birth till age six, young children are encouraged to explore their environment and express their understanding through various modes of expression or 'languages', including verbal communication, movement, drawing, painting, sculpture, shadow play, collage and music.
Teachers provide children different avenues for thinking, revising, constructing, negotiating, developing and symbolically expressing their thoughts and feelings. They work together towards the resolution of problems that arises. The intent is for the adults and children to better understand one another. 
Often in our daily lives, we take our children for granted and forget the importance of early years in the formation of their personalities. The hundred -language approach reminds us that children are going through a fascinating period of their lives in these years during which their imagination is beyond any control. It is important to tap their colorful imagination and provide them with avenues to unleash their ideas. Exploration and discovery, as a method of education, fosters the child's confidence and over-all development.
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It was started by Loris Malaguzzi and the parents living in the villages around Reggio Emilia in Italy after World War II. The destruction from the war, parents believed, necessitated a new, quick approach to teaching their children. They felt that it is in the early years of development that children form who they are as individuals. This led to creation of a program based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.

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