I’m sorry I haven’t blogged much recently, been very busy preparing to take a year off next year. However, I’ve been working hard with some colleagues at several universities and one has thrown up a really amazing find. I’ve just discovered the Reggio Emilia approach to education. It was developed in the town of Reggio Emilia in Italy after the second world war by Loris Malaguzzi. It’s an educational philosophy built on several key assumptions. These are:
- Children should have control over the direction and content of their learning.
- Children must be able to learn through all their senses, that means catering to auditory, visual and kinaesthetic learners.
- Children learn in a relationship with other children. Thus, it supports a social construstionist view of education.
- Children need to be provided with endless ways to express themselves and multiple opportunities to show the what and how of their learning to facilitate their own exploration.
To my mind, this supports the unschool way of learning quite closely. Although, it is somewhat more structured than radical unschooling, it does facilitate the child learning at their own pace and in their own way.
Loris Malaguzzi wrote a poem that he felt described the way that children learn. It is central to the Reggio Emilia philosophy and is known as the 100 languages of children. I feel that home educators will find a resonance with the last 16 stanzas of the poem, it does with me.
The childis made of one hundred.The child hasA hundred languagesA hundred handsA hundred thoughtsA hundred ways of thinkingOf playing, of speaking.A hundred always a hundredWays of listening of marveling of lovingA hundred joysFor singing and understandingA hundred worldsTo discoverA hundred worldsTo inventA hundred worldsTo dreamThe child hasA hundred languages(and a hundred hundred hundred more)But they steal ninety-nine.The school and the cultureSeparate the head from the body.They tell the child;To think without handsTo do without headTo listen and not to speakTo understand without joyTo love and to marvelOnly at Easter and ChristmasThey tell the child:To discover the world already thereAnd of the hundredThey steal ninety-nine.They tell the child:That work and playReality and fantasyScience and imaginationSky and earthReason and dreamAre thingsThat do not belong togetherAnd thus they tell the childThat the hundred is not thereThe child says: NO WAY the hundred is there—