The Hundred Languages of Children – A Poem

Estimated read time 2 min read

I’ve just spent a magical day with my little girl outside in our garden. We had nothing particularly special planned, just a spot of gardening & free play, but as I observed her exploring, discovering, & engaged in her imaginative play, this poem by Loris Malaguzzi
came to my mind.

The Hundred Languages of Children
The child is made of one hundred.The child hasa hundred languagesa hundred handsa hundred thoughtsa hundred ways of thinkingof playing, of speaking.
A hundred.
Always a hundredways of listeningof marvelling, of lovinga hundred joysfor singing and understandinga hundred worldsto discovera hundred worldsto inventa hundred worldsto dream.
The child hasa hundred languages(and a hundred hundred hundred more)but they steal ninety-nine.The school and the cultureseparate the head from the body.They tell the child:to think without handsto do without headto listen and not to speakto understand without joyto love and to marvelonly at Easter and at Christmas.
They tell the child:to discover the world already thereand of the hundredthey steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:that work and playreality and fantasyscience and imaginationsky and earthreason and dreamare thingsthat do not belong together.
And thus they tell the childthat the hundred is not there.The child says:No way. The hundred is there.
Loris Malaguzzi Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach

I hope the hundred stay with my daughter for a lifetime!

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