‘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

make a craft: flower word families

flower word families - ourschoolathomeblog-wordpress-com. . . . . . . . . .

our writing corner is a popular space at our school. it is designed specifically for one person and is a language rich space to do some journaling, explore words and language, or simply take out a white-board and create what you need to.

recently we’ve been adding words and “word families” to the repertoire of sight and spoken words, specifically for our older children to incorporate into their journaling, but for everyone to experience. we find ourselves singing many “rhyming words” with claps, stomps and often much laughter. we find the rhythm of rhyming in our stories and poetry read during our days together, in our songs and chants during many chances to sing and dance.

Reading Rockets (a program of WETA) has a wonderful article on Phonelogical Awareness as well as the importance of the pre-reading skill of Rhyming Games. So why go through all this chanting and rhyming and general silliness over words like rat, hat, cat, mat, {and} pat? Well … it’s so vital and so important! Reading Rockets nicely states: “Developing a child’s phonological awareness is an important part of developing a reader. Young children’s ability to identify rhyme units is an important component of phonological awareness. Research shows that students benefit from direct instruction on rhyme recognition paired with fun activities that target this skill.”

and, so, we chant and march, we rhyme and clap … and we sing often very off-key (and enjoy each moment!) …
and we make flower word families together! 

:: make a craft: flower word families

materials: 
:: brown paper bags
:: paper in varying colors (I used card stock and vellum because I had it on hand)
:: wooden popsicle sticks (I used ones 6 3/4 x 1/16″ found at a craft store)
:: scissors
:: markers
:: glue

how to: 
:: I used a 3 1/2″ punch-cutter for the flower center (it’s quicker than I can cut on my own) and free-hand cut the petals
:: I asked the children to help the assemby of the flowers — using tape to adhere the petals onto the flower, using markers to color the popsicle stick stems while I quickly cut flower-pot shapes out of a grocery store bag
:: once the flowers were assembled, I marked each with “_____ xx” for our word family “base” (in our case, we used “__ed” “__ap” “__op” “__ug”) and then asked the children to listen to the sound of the “base” and then asked if we could start rhyming (and entered each word spoken on the petals)

:: what language rich activity can you do today? have you marched and rhymed today? (try it … it’s such fun!)