The Hundred 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.

This is the first stanza of a poem written by the founder of the Reggio-Emilia Approach, Loris Malaguzzi. The basis of children’s learning is of natural curiosity and wonderment, not just when society tells us to appreciate nature or milestone calendar events.

At first I did not totally understand the value and significance of his work, but now it is a pedagogy that underpins so much of my personal values and beliefs. Learning occurs best when it is integrated and participants can explore and hypothesise while learning to become comfortable with some things having no end product or specific outcome.

I have been having many conversations with parents who are compelled by gentle parenting styles, matched with ‘old school ways’ which promote the concept of delayed gratification, as opposed to instant gratification which is very much in demand with modern living.

My recent workshop, featuring nature mandalas, and my upcoming event on loose parts both concentrate on encouraging the participants to focus on the process of what they create with the materials, with less attachment to the final result.

I want to influence others in the way that I have been influenced by this beautiful and moving piece of writing and especially children to encourage mindfulness and stillness which is so needed in their busy lives.

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