100 Languages

hundred1Howard Gardner has given us the useful notion of multiple intelligences — that being smart encompasses music, movement, social skills, self-awareness, spatial reasoning and artistic expression, as well as logic, mathematics and language. More poetically, Loris Malaguzzi has given us the phrase “The Hundred Languages of Children,” which refers to the virtually infinite numbers of ways that children can express, explore, and connect their thoughts, feelings and imaginings. These expanded ideas of intelligence empower children and adults whose strengths too often go unrecognized, and remind teachers that a narrow curriculum neglects the full range of significant human capacities. At Children First, we offer a rich variety of opportunities for representation every day, and encourage the children to try their hand at many different materials and experiences.

izzy eno drawing

clay girl

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 handsowen rainbow blocks
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and 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 Maliguzzi, founder Reggio Emilia preschools