A hundred languages

Published by Lori Pickert on October 10, 2008 at 05:13 PM

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.

— Loris Malaguzzi

*Translated from the Italian by Lella Gandini

the hundred languages exhibit


Comment by Eren on October 10, 2008 at 07:52 PM

Aaack! I just read this about an hour ago. Im still rolling it around and around my brain.

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 10, 2008 at 08:24 PM

eren, the “hundred languages” is why reggio educators make such an effort to give the children an enormous variety of high-quality art supplies, among other things. :^) keep rolling it! xoxo

Comment by AmyDe on October 10, 2008 at 10:23 PM

YES!!!! People ask me all the time "What curriculum do you use?" I HATE that question! Like some program that comes IN a box will allow my child to be anywhere but IN that same box. No thank you! We use the library, the internet, the museums, the zoo, the backyard, our bicycles, our grandparents, our friends, our church, and our imaginations and through it all we learn so much more than we ever thought possible!

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 10, 2008 at 11:44 PM

"canned curriculum" -- that's the phrase i use. of course, you can rip a canned curriculum to shreds and use it in your own way, but that begs the question of why purchase a canned curriculum in the first place — because you can just find your own pieces!

the problem with a canned curriculum is its built-in limits — it defines what is to be learned, therefore it hems in a child with “stop here — you’re done”. it predefines not only what a child is going to learn, but when they are going to stop learning.

limitless learning has a starting point only — no end point. that’s the curriculum *we* use. ;^)

Comment by Michelle on October 11, 2008 at 03:14 AM

Just wanted to say thanks for an inspiring blog Lori. I've been reading for some time and mulling it all over. The project approach to learning gives me that 'aha' feeling I haven't found in other 'schools of thought' on education.

Comment by Nancy on October 11, 2008 at 03:38 PM

This is awesome, Lori. My kids so clearly know that "the hundred is there." Sometimes I'm pretty sure it's me who needs to rediscover the 99 I've lost -- one of the great joys of homeschooling lies right there. I love my head swimming with these ideas -- does it ever all feel clear and somehow well executed? I'm one of the lucky ones who lives with very little doubt or questioning of my homeschooling, yet the moments that I really feel like I'm spot-on doing it beautifully aren't that frequent. I may have stopped making sense. I just really want to see us work into a "project" and haven't managed it yet . . . my kids seem to flit. Stopping here. Indeed, great poem. --Nancy in NC

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 11, 2008 at 04:46 PM

michelle, thank you so much. the project approach also gave me that “aha” feeling .. and then, when i’d been studying it for a year, i came across the reggio approach and felt like all the stars were aligning. ;^)

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 11, 2008 at 05:26 PM

nancy, i know what you’re saying! they talk about “deschooling” — i think we need a reintroduction to the 99. ;^)

those moments you’re talking about — that’s exactly what it’s all about for me, just increasing those moments, making them last longer, making them happen more frequently.

i think a big part of being successful in facilitating children who are doing project work is stopping focusing on them and focusing on yourself — just let it alone and observe, document, work on your own stuff. sometimes leaving them alone is the best way to really accurately see what is working, what needs help, how well things are actually going. i trained teachers to do a week of silent observation and it about killed them. ;^) but i think it’s impossible to accurately gauge what’s happening without stepping back.

thank you for your great comment!

Comment by Estea on October 13, 2008 at 07:03 PM

so wonderful

Comment by Molly on October 13, 2008 at 08:56 PM

Thank you, Lori. That's going on my wall.

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 13, 2008 at 09:03 PM

thank you, e ;^)

it’s on mine, too, mol! :^)

Comment by Megan on October 14, 2008 at 05:13 PM

This post in combination with our "science experiment" morning has got my mind reeling... how to let go of my own agenda... I never thought of myself as controlling... but I am finding this very difficult to do... treasuring and supporting the myriad of ways my kids learn and communicate...

Lori: I think I will go into more detail at Peanut Butter Toast, but I would love your opinion and advice.

Comment by Lori Pickert on October 14, 2008 at 06:11 PM

Giving up control can be hard. I’ve walked teachers through this process who felt they were losing their very identity by not continuously leading their class.

The more you control, the less they control. I want my children to know that they own their own learning. I want them to *own* their learning skills and know that they can apply them to learn anything they want to learn.

If you hand them the reins, are they going to drive you straight into a ditch? There’s only one way to find out. ;^)

Comment by Megan on October 14, 2008 at 06:24 PM

we might have less arguing in the ditch...


Post new comment