Valuing Children’s Hundred Languages

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The Multiple ways of Connecting.

“Our task is to help children communicate with the world using all their potential, strengths and languages and to overcome any obstacle presented by our culture.” -Loris Malaguzzi

The Reggio Emilia philosophy underpinning our daily practices and rituals at Bear Park, emphasizes the importance of facilitating opportunities for tamariki to experiment with multiple expressive languages as they discover who they are and find innovative ways to share their evolving thoughts and understandings with those around them.

Within our classrooms we ensure that we provide a wide range of ‘languages’ for our children to become confident and capable communicators through. Some may be drawn to artistic languages such as paint or clay; others will feel more themselves when they hear music or can create their own sounds to accompany an experience; still others will find their language in the formation of loose materials in the construction space.

Each of these languages and the way individual children approach them, tells us something about the way their minds work, about how they make sense of their world and the underlying learning dispositions that
they bring to experiences. Through careful, professional observation and assessment, teachers are then able to identify ways of supporting each child to use these languages to promote their learning further.

With each thought communicated, verbally or non-verbally, visually or through an audio channel, we gain a deeper insight into our children’s thoughts, thus strengthening our relationship with them. This provides
a safe, trusting foundation upon which we can then support our tamariki to share further ideas, thoughts or working theories with us: these can occur spontaneously but are often shared through thoughtfully planned investigative learning opportunities.

Each day as tamariki are welcomed into our classrooms, they are greeted by opportunities to revisit the languages they are drawn to; to try new strategies with the ‘tools’ of their language; to explore new techniques with which to express the same thought they had yesterday; to observe how another friend uses the ‘tools’ of a specific language: to become more practiced, more skillful, more confident, more expert. Alongside passionate, knowledgeable kaiako, our tamariki are able to extend on their learning, develop more complex strategies for communication and appreciate the power in being able to express an opinion, thought or feeling, all while being valued for the individual interpretations they bring to an experience or resource.

“If you just communicate you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.”- Jim Rohn