One Hundred Languages

Fostering children’s curiosity and encouraging them to wonder on a daily basis naturally sees them regularly asking questions that often ignite a rich and deep inquiry.

Providing children with multiple ways of thinking, feeling, imagining and hypothesising, allows our early learners – learning how to learn – to make wondrous discoveries.

Providing 100 languages or perhaps more, for the children to express themselves, allows for so many possibilities.

“The way we raise our children in the future must correspond to the changed and expanded rights of the child.”

“What we try to do, is to help the child to be a producer rather than a consumer.”

From Conversations with Loris Malaguzzi, Ed J. Moestrup & K. Eskesen, 2009 (published by the Danish Reggio Network)

One Hundred Languages
Loris Malaguzzi 1920 - 1994

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 marvelling, 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 children 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
Love and marvelling
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.