No way. The Hundred IS There.

The story of Italy’s now world famous Reggio Emilia city-run nurseries and primary schools is fascinating and unique, but their award-winning holistic approach to early years education is inspiring more and more schools throughout the world to notice, respect and nurture the multitude (“and a hundred, hundred, hundred more”) ways a child interacts with and makes sense of the world.

Loris Malaguzzi, founder and first director of the Reggio Emilia municipal early years program from it’s conception in 1945 to his death in 1994, wrote the following poem as a powerful manifesto of the values embodied by the Reggio Emilia approach. I love its defiant defence of children’s plethora of ways of knowing and understanding and the unflattering light it shines on the obtuse dualism of grown up wisdom: work versus play; reality versus fantasy; science versus imagination; sky versus earth and reason versus dreams… Why must one preclude the other? Why should they even be considered separate phenomena?? The text in the photo is miniscule, so I’ve written it out fully below for you to enjoy.

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 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

(Original Italian version translated by Lella Gandini)

Taken from pages 2 and 3 
in Edwards C., Gandini L. and Forman G. (2012)
The Hundred Languages of Children - The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation , 
published by Praeger

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