Samantha Happel

“The Hundred Languages” is a term used by the educators of Reggio Emilia, Italy, to describe how children co-create and demonstrate their knowledge of the world around them.  Within the Benton Community Preschool Program, children engage in a variety of play-based centers and experiences which encourage and promote children to authentically express themselves through a variety of means, such as art, writing, imaginative play, drama, and building. 

Learning is collaborative, and children are naturally curious and communicative if we are intentional around providing an environment which supports their natural curiosity.  In a typical child-centered classroom, you may notice children working together in the Block Center to build a castle, discussing how the tower may lean if a specific block is used at its base.  You may also see children making a plan in the Art Center to create a collage out of strips of paper, beads, pipe cleaners, and white glue because “it sticks off the page.”  You may also see children discussing the rules of a game played during Circle Time, working to solve a problem of not having enough letter cards and arriving at a plan to go to the Writing Center to make their own (and making them even better by adding a “handle” to the bottom).  These are just a handful of ways in which children have demonstrated their own language of learning this year within my own classroom, and it was truly magical and humbling to witness.

“The Hundred Languages of Children” are deeply rooted in the belief that there is endless potential within children, and “multiple ways of seeing and multiple ways of being.”  We as adults may not always “speak” the language of children, but may we never stop to marvel at their natural abilities, stepping into their world as often as we can.