Tuesday, July 1, 2008

100 Languages of Children

One of the most important poems ever written about young children's creativity, Malaguzzi's ideas (1993) have significance when teachers are thinking about visual art education for young children in ECE settings.

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.


Malaguzzi, L. (1993). No way. The hundred is there. In C. Edwards, L. Gandini, & G. Forman (Eds.), The hundred languages of children: The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education (p. vi). Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing.
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