The Hundred Languages

Jul 8, 2011 by

Today I am sharing a poem by Loris Malaguzzi who was the founder of the Reggio Emilia philosophy in Reggio Emlia, Italy. This poem has been translated from Italian, and you will find it in most every book (at least that I have found) that discusses Reggio.  I find it sends a powerful message about children and is a reminder to me to give TB the room he needs to express himself and explore the world around him with wonder and awe.

February 2011 Watching airplanes take off and land

The Hundred Languages

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 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 Approach

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