Q: What is the meaning of the phrase “the hundred languages of children?”
Educators in Reggio believe that children have the right and the ability to express their thinking, theories, ideas, learning and emotions in many ways. Therefore, Reggio educators provide children with a wide range of materials and media, and welcome a diversity of experiences, so that children encounter many avenues for thinking, revising, constructing, negotiating, developing and symbolically expressing their thoughts and feelings. In this way, teachers, parents and children can better understand each other. These languages can include drawing, paint, clay, wire, natural and recycled materials, light and shadow, dramatic play, music and dance. They can also include expression with words through metaphors, stories or poems of the children’s interpretations and reflections about their experiences or through special design, such as maps and three dimensional constructions. In fact, there is not a separation between what it is considered traditionally artistic expression and academic education in the schools of Reggio Emilia. All are considered part of the one hundred and more languages of learning. Teachers in Reggio often encourage children to represent their ideas on a particular topic in multiple languages, and find that the process of moving between languages supports children in their understanding and learning.
To learn more about the role of languages in children’s learning and relationships, read:
- Children, Art, Artists: The Expressive Languages of Children, The Artistic Language of Alburto Burri
- The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach – Advanced Reflections
- In the Spirit of the Studio: Learning from the Atelier of Reggio Emilia
Q: I understand that the Reggio approach is not teacher-directed. Is this true?
The Reggio educators believe that children, teachers and parents are partners in learning, and that children have the right and the ability to construct their own learning with the support and participation of teachers and parents. Reggio educators use the term progettazione to describe the evolution of learning that results from the processes of observation, interpretation and documentation of the experiences of children, teachers and parents together. At the basis of this process is the pedagogy of relationships and listening. In order for children and adults to construct learning together and find meaning in the world around them, reciprocal dialogue and interaction must be established and maintained throughout the school community.
To learn more about progettazione and the processes of observation, interpretation and documentation, read: