On visiting two Reggio Emilia schools in the past 24 hours, I cannot put it into words better than Plato!One school was a converted greenhouse the other, a house of a director that was taken over by a group of passionate women. The women managed to gain entry into the house, when in followed a beautiful butterfly, shortly afterwards it became a school and forty years later a butterfly remains the school emblem.
|One of many features in the school outdoor space
|Materials for the children to engage with
We watched children ages 3-5 years play, investigate, debate, record and thoroughly enjoy what they were doing.
A pair of 4 year old children were observing a tree coming into bloom, this tree had been under their surveillance for months! One suggested that the leaves of the tree grew at night, as it was more humid at night while the other argued that the leaves grew at night, as that was when magic could take place. The teacher was ready to receive all theories and allowed each child to put forward their case to back up their opinion. If necessary they would return to the others in the class to investigate further, in this case it was not necessary.
A wonderful negotiation to witness, despite not having an understanding of the language directly. With the hundred languages of children, when we really listen, we are open to understand on a new level.
The child is made of one hundred.
The child hasa hundred languages
a hundred handsa hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinkingof playing, of speaking.
ways of listeningof marveling, of loving
a hundred joysfor singing and understanding
a hundred worldsto discover
a hundred worldsto invent
a hundred worldsto dream.
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 handsto do without head
to listen and not to speakto understand without joy
to love and to marvelonly at Easter and at Christmas.
to discover the world already thereand of the hundred
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 childthat the hundred is not there.
No way. The hundred is there.
Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach