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The hundred languages of children

According to the Reggio perspective, each child has a hundred languages – a myriad of ways that they experience the world, express themselves and develop their unique strengths. This world view brings value to what the child can do and puts them at the center. The child becomes the protagonist, with an active role in the learning process. Guiding them through the learning process are three primary influences, referred to as the “three teachers”.

The three teachers

The three teachers in a child's life are their parents, the classroom teacher(guide) and the environment. The child is the focus, the main character, with the supporting roles going to each of the three teachers. The family, the guide, and environment work together to support the child's development. The child needs to have rich and meaningful interactions with all three.

The family are the experts on their child, so guides should value their role and input. Parents hold clues to the family's culture, background and dynamics. They have goals and expectations for their child and can talk about the child's interests in the home. A reciprocal partnership creates a meaningful connection between home and school – for example, by sharing photos, anecdotes or other forms of documentation with parents illustrating the child's projects from school.

The guide works with the child as a facilitator, co-learner, active observer and collaborator. By embracing the child's 100 languages, guides facilitate exploration, mistakes and the opportunity to find solutions. Learning and growth are layered in the Reggio approach, so time must be allowed for more profound knowledge to emerge. Engaging and learning with and from a child forms a meaningful relationship. Rather than direct them, guides should observe their actions to understand how the child learns.

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