‘the hundred languages’ {of reggio emilia}

why do we play, observe,  listen and explore together? why do we champion the notion that ‘teacher is co-learner’ in our space? why do we encourage cooperation, collaboration, connectedness?

this, this is why.

“In 1946, Malaguzzi enrolled in the first postwar psychology course in Rome – and this marked the beginning of the Reggio Emilia adventure.

It started in a little town called Villa Cella in the northern region of Italy known as Reggio Romana. In the political and economic chaos that followed the fall of Fascism and the German retreat from Italy, the villagers, including children and parents, had collected stone, sand, and timber to build a school. Loris Malaguzzi rode his bicycle to the town to have a look and was so impressed by what he saw that he stayed.

The first school was financed by selling a German tank, nine horses, and two military trucks. According to Malaguzzi, “It was the women’s first victory after the war because the decision was theirs. The men might have used the money differently.” That first school still exists in the countryside 20 minutes from the city of Reggio Emilia. 

… The vision of Reggio Emilia schools is always evolving. However, what is constant about the philosophy is best described by Malaguzzi himself: “What children learn does not follow as an automatic result from what is taught. Rather, it is in large part due to the children’s own doing as a consequence of their activities and our resources.”

{Dr. Carol Brunson Day, CEO of the Council for Professional Recognition, May, 2001, Early Childhood Today}

now, it’s up to all of us to continue to explore and journey and create … with all hundred languages and hands and thoughts and joys and words and hundreds upon hundreds of many hundreds of smiles and laughter.

:: today, stop … listen and look. breathe deep the activity around you. watch the faces and hear the words and see what hands are doing.  these many moments make up the journey and we all have so much to learn from each other … no matter our age. :: 
. . . . . . . . . . . . 
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 Emilia approach

charting, counting, categorizing

“Reciting one, two, three, four, five, and so on, is fun for a child, but it is not really learning math.

Math starts with the excitement of moving and touching real objects, gathering them into groups, counting each one, one at a time. It is exciting to discover that these words stand for quantities of like objects – buttons, peas, spoons, family members, stars in the sky – and later to realize that these concepts are used and understood all over the world.”

– Susan Mayclin Stephenson. The Joyful Child. Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three

and so we count, we sort, we categorize and we even graph and chart our results. the simplest of which is to do so naturally, daily and have it naturally build month after month. that’s right, you guessed it, we do so with the weather! in our morning meetings we have a lovely large bank of windows where the weather is easily observed and beautifully reported. ‘numeracy‘ is an important concept: sorting, categorizing, counting, patterns … it’s truly a vital piece of our cognitive development.

calendar - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com

we use the pocket calendar chart from Lakeshore Learning and I cut 3×3″ squares out of sentence strips to fit each pocket. clip-art was my source for the weather pictures and after some cutting and pasting and writing a set of weather was created to be used with each day of the month. this process is also easy enough that if we need additional weather options — like our six day stretch of a heatwave {like no other!}, it is exceptionally easy to add these options.

calendar 2 - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-combut the piece that grows and grows all month long is the chart we create every month. cutting 2×2″ squares out of construction paper {which, when we’re done, gets recycled in the collage bin in the art studio!} are added to simple column footers. every day we add one more block. every day we write a number on this addition and compare, contrast, hypothesize and observe the pattern that’s emerging in front of us.

we also use language with all ages to talk about what we see and to ask questions such as: “which weather type has more?” “which has less?” “how many can we count to in the ‘hot’ category?” and so on. during the month we make projections — “which weather type do you ‘project’ to have the most? the least?” and so on. the possibilities to weave into the natural language of the day is entirely endless.

calendar 3 - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com:: today, in your adventures with your child, how can you weave in counting, patterns or categorizing? when you take a nature walk, how many trees can you count? acorns? steps from one space to the next? what about in the kitchen … this space seems to so beautifully and effortlessly lend itself to numeracy (and literacy!) in any age child. 

{themed curriculum} ‘things that grow’

things that grow - page one

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every theme gets posted and distributed to our school members and gives us a base to what you can expect to see during our exploration of this time together. we differ somewhat, at our school at home, that we don’t list daily ‘lessons’ but instead allow the children to guide us {given the environment and materials to explore}. the theme can last a couple of weeks, a month or even longer, depending how much the group wants and needs to continue exploring.

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would you like your own copy of our theme-based exploratory curriculum?
:: click here {our theme – things that grow} to save a pdf file on your local computer.
:: or sign up for them to be delivered automatically using the form below