I recently shared the '100 Languages of Children' poem written by Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach, on our socials and it received a lot of attention and interest so I thought I would go into more depth over here on our blog.
What is the '100 Languages of Children' poem?
I have linked the poem below for you to read in case you have not come across it before. It was written by Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the famous Reggio Emilia Approach.
In short, the Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy that values childhood, seeing children as capable and confident learners and respecting their ideas, opinions, questions and all they have to offer. There is a strong emphasis placed on families and the environment as a 'teacher.'
Have a read of the truly beautiful words by clicking here.
So, what does that mean?
I heard the poem for the first time in a lecture theatre at University and remember thinking how powerful those words were. Since then, I have found myself remembering it at random times, like in the middle of teaching a lesson, while explaining an assessment criteria to a 5yr old or asking a 6yr old to regurgitate their latest learning goal and how they can achieve it.
I remembered it when I had to tell my group of Y1s that they could only use the specific materials that were on offer for their project and that their buddy in the older grade would most likely be doing the majority of the work due to time constraints.
I also remembered it on those rare afternoons where the children had time to create, explore and wonder. When their faces would light up with such delight at what they had discovered and how their voices would get that little bit higher with pride and excitement as they shared their creations with their peers.
To me, the poem reminds us all that children have SO many ways to express and communicate their knowledge and ideas and that is so important to provide them with many different opportunities and mediums to share this.
We also have to understand that what works for one child may not necessarily work for another, but all ways are of equal value and importance.
It also reminds me to let my daughter explore and discover the world for herself. To step back and to ask her the questions rather than just mindlessly answering hers to get through the day. It reminds me to ask for her thoughts and opinions on the world around her and to take delight in the smallest things to help her see the beauty in the everyday.
I think sometimes we can get so caught up in the craziness of every day life that we find ourselves rushing our little ones along (myself included!). We hurry along their play experiences to get the next job done or be in the next place on time, or give little thought to their questions and reflections because there are always a million other things going on in our brains.
Sometimes we dread getting out the paints and the play dough and the clay and everything else that creates a mess because the clean up adds to our already never ending list of to dos. And sometimes we have an image in our head of how our child 'should' be and how they 'should' perceive the world or how they 'should' communicate and express themselves. We have to take a step back, release any expectations we have unconsciously placed on them and let their souls blossom into the marvelous little people they were always meant to be.
Being more present in my daughters play, giving her space to work things out in her own time and sharing her excitement and joy as she discovers this glorious world around her are things that I have had to make a conscious effort to do.
Childhood is such an important and meaningful time in a child's life and something to respected and enjoyed, not something to rush through!
As always, please share our blog by clicking the socials links at the top or bottom if this blog or the poem resonated with you in any way or if it inspired you to look at childhood differently.