Monday, June 28, 2010

The Hundred Languages of Children

A parent recently shared that she wanted to know more about the "Hundred Languages of children", a phrase coined by Loris Malaguzzi, founder of Reggio preschools, recognizing the infinite potential of children and the methods in which they express themselves. Here are his inspirational words:

The Hundred Languages

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 at 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 (translated by Lella Gandini)


  1. An exhibit with the same title was organized by Loris Malaguzzi and has been traveling the world since 1981 to help make the underpinnings of the Reggio philosophy visible to interested learners. Here is a link to the Wonders of Learning site which explains the history of the exhibit and where you can see it next!

  2. AND, the BHCP library has multiple copies of the book, The Hundred Languages of Children, which tells more about the history and perspectives of the Reggio philosophy. You may preview the book at: