Reggio – 100 Languages of Children

Reggio Emilia Inspired; 100 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 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 at 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
Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach

Principles of Reggio Emilia:

  • Children are strong, interested, capable and curious.
  • Children learn best working with others: with other children, family, teachers, and the community.
  • Children have “the hundred languages” through which show us what they know in many ways – they move, draw, paint, build, sculpt, do collages, act, sing, play music and more
  • Children learn from the spaces they are in – they need beautiful, orderly space where everything has a purpose and can help children learn.
  • Children are capable of long-term, sustained learning when the topic is of interest to them.
  • Teachers listen to and observe the children closely, ask questions, and explore the children’s ideas.
  • Teachers provide experiences that “provoke” children’s thinking and learning.
  • Teachers document the children’s work so that they can talk to each other and the children and better understand the children’s thinking and education in general.
  • Parents provide ideas and skills, which make them active partners in the children’s learning.

“Children have the right to be recognized as the bearers of important rights: individual, social and legal. They both carry and construct their own culture and are therefore active participants in the organization of their identity, their autonomy and their capabilities. The construction of this organization takes place through relationships and interactions with peers, adults, ideas and objects, as well as both real and imaginary events of a communicative world.”  (Malaguzzi, 1994 )

Values Cherished Through a Reggio Inspired Curriculum:

  • The child as an active participant in learning. The Reggio approach “sees a child as a very competent protagonist and initiator who interacts with their environment.”  Students are allowed to follow their own interests.
  • The significance of environment. “The environment of the school is seen as the third teacher.”  Children use these materials to represent concepts that they are learning in a hands-on way.
  • The teacher, parent and child as collaborators in the process of learning.  The Reggio approach views the parent as an essential resource for the child’s learning. To foster community,
  • Making learning visible. “The teacher observes and documents the daily life of the school to make learning visible.” In Reggio-inspired classrooms, teachers use a variety of documentation methods, such as cameras, tape recorders and journals, to track children’s thoughts and ideas as they play together or work with materials.

The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Learning is based on:

  • Child-centered learning
  • Creativity and aesthetics
  • Collaboration
  • Environments
  • Documentation
  • Working in partnership with parents


Teachers Role:

  • Build on the strengths, competencies, and curiosities of the children (the “image of the child”)
  • Encourage, support, and develop collaborative learning
  • Have less structured rooms, but carefully planned spaces and well-organized materials, so that children are free to spend more time on projects that interest them and are often able to move between activities at their own pace (“the environment as the third teacher”)
  • Offer a wide variety of basic art media, including paints, clay construction, drawing , collage (“the hundred languages”)
  • Listen to and implement children’s ideas for projects on which to work (“negotiated curriculum”)
  • Display the children’s creations and photographs, showing the children at work in the classroom (“documentation”)
  • Build a portfolio of children’s work at school (“documentation”)
  • Make a great effort to communicate with parents and to help parents feel involved in their child’s project work (“parents as partners”)
“They [children] are autonomously capable of making meaning from their daily life experiences through mental acts involving planning, coordination of ideas, and abstraction…. The central act of adults, therefore, is to activate, especially indirectly, the meaning-making competencies of children as a basis of all learning. They must try to capture the right moments, and then find the right approaches, for bringing together, into a fruitful dialogue, their meanings and interpretations with those children.” (Malaguzzi)



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