The Hundred Languages of Children
by Loris Malaguzzi
translated by Lella Gandini

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.

When we carefully observe children, we can find plenty of examples of the many ways they come to know and understand themselves, others, and the world around them. There is not just one way of knowing and there should be sufficient support in the learning process for the various ways children perceive what is meaningful at any given point in time. Howard Gardner describes the existence of multiple intelligences as the underlining reason for differentiated instruction. Loris Malaguzzi expounds this idea through the words of his powerful text, The Hundred Languages of Children.

Edutopia hosts the video, posted below, of Gardner talking about his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. This critical educational theory supports effective and equitable educational practices toward helping students achieve authentic and meaningful learning.

You will find the transcript for this video and access to other educational videos at Edutopia.org