The 100 Languages of the Child

In Reggio, the child has “100 languages” through which they can express themselves and their ideas –

expressive | communicative | symbolic (drawing, sculpting, dramatic play, writing, and painting) | cognitive | ethical | metaphorical | logical | imaginative | relational eg. words, drawing, numbers, dance, painting, building, sculpting, shadows, imaginative play, collage, drama, music and so much more.

The Reggio approach is highly acclaimed across the world for its focus on human potential, children’s rights, active learning, participation, relationships, research, innovation, creativity, critical thought, sustainability, inclusion, diversity, organisation, reflective practice and professional learning.  It has been hailed by Newsweek magazine as being amongst the best forms of early childhood education and its principles have inspired education from birth to 99 in many countries worldwide.

Every child has the capacity and the right to learn using many different languages The learning/direction the day/week/month takes is led by the children, things that interest them are then explored with the teacher, and documented so the learnings can be understood, and interrogated as to encourage further learning.

In a traditional preschool classroom

  • Topics of study determined by teacher
  • Teachers acts as knowledge holder/director
  • Children participate in adult directed activities to gain new information
  • Emphasis placed on children expressing what they know verbally

In a Reggio Emilia classroom

  • Topics of study based on children’s interests, along with teacher and parent input
  • Teachers are co-learners, facilitators and resource guides
  • Children discuss, explore, design experiments, hypothesize, collaborate and research to answer questions they have about the world
  • Children use their “100 languages” to construct and communicate their knowledge

Setting up for Reggio

  • The Reggio Classroom has natural elements, is fun, interactive, calm, follows the children’s interest
  • Implementing Reggio requires a mindshift
  • The first change is ‘bringing out’ versus ‘filling up’ – asking questions and exploring answers as opposed to ‘teaching’
  • No commercial posters, numbers and letters fill the walls but rather, the children’s documentation. Reggio doesn’t require many resources, a lot of discovery and learning can be done with recycled materials, and the main tools are the environment and documentation tools like paper, writing instruments, paint and various mediums with which to paint, clay, wire and dough
  • Our class will be a maximum of 12 children with a child/teacher ratio of 4 : 1