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, 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,
do without heads,
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, Italian Early Childhood Education Specialist, 1994

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