The Hundred Languages Inspiration + Workshop Reminder!


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.

-Loris Malaguzzi
Founder of the Reggio Approach

(Translated by Lella Gandini)

Every now and again I find myself referring back to this thoughtfully written poem by Loris Malaguzzi for inspiration.  While reflecting on the hundred languages, I consider the ways that I might offer students, educators, or my own son with more opportunities to communicate their thinking.

Today I attended the closing conference for The Wonder of Learning exhibit in Toronto with keynote speakers Amelia Gambetti and Lella Gandini.  After eagerly listening to their documentation from a project about rain clouds, entitled "Rain in the city" I was struck by the children's theories.  Lella shared with us that the children's drawings were stronger than their words.  This made me wonder how often we slow down to modify the language of learning that we invite our students to explore, so that we may observe whether it is a stronger method for their communication.  Are we provoking children's intelligence as she mentioned with a variety of possibilities?  Do we see 100 languages? Or are we providing one, if not the same language over and over again to support their research?  

I connected with the notion of children sharing their learning with us, and seeing this as encountering the beauty of their thinking.  Lella referred to the languages of understanding and the capability for theories.  Throughout the project, the children were encouraged to represent their thinking about rain.  Some ways were through oral discussion, drawings with black pens, drawings with colour, experiences in the rain (specifically listening to the sound of rain - or the steps of the people in the rain), light and shadow exploration with umbrellas, etc.  Lella asked us why the Italian educators used various languages to investigate the phenomenon of rain.  Her response was that it truly opened up the children to the possibilities for learning, and enriched their opportunity for expression, hypotheses, and discovery.

In a week's time I will be offering my TransformEd Workshop on The Hundred Languages.  This session is inspired by the work in Reggio Emilia, and is intended to provoke our thinking here in Ontario rather than replicate the work from Italy.

For those who have registered, I would like to include some important details here on the blog to ensure that it reaches everyone, mainly because a few emails bounced back... It can also act as a reminder for those attending!

Dear Workshop participants,

I trust that you have had a wonderful start to your school year and perhaps might have also been exploring quite deeply the new Kindergarten Program document!

Thank you for registering to the upcoming #TransformEdWorkshop!  I simply cannot wait for our Saturday session together!  Attached you will find your official receipt, which confirms your spot. (Please email me if you haven't received an email with your receipt.)

The workshop begins at 8:30 a.m. for registration (doors will not open before 8:00 a.m. in case you are planning out your commute!) and there will be a served breakfast while I present.  The presentation begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 1:00 p.m.  with two hours of exploration, documentation, and inspiration!


The Hazelton Manor
99 Peelar Road
Vaughan, ON
L4K 1A3

Please email me if you have any dietary restrictions and we will ensure that you are provided with a meal that is equally tasty!

I have  a few exciting updates to provide but there will also be some surprises (of course!!!):

- there will be several mini ateliers (mini studio spaces) setup with some specialists to support your exploration and documentation 
- I have a nature artist, wire atielerista, pedagogista, photographer, diy stone artist who also has a loom for weaving, a yogi sharing her practice and ideas about mindfulness, and explorations of light and shadow, loose parts, food, paper, as well as a Remida inspired studio (eco art using recyclables).
-giveaways of books, paint lounge gift certificates, and Louise Kool & Galt gift certificates

Please bring with you two of your preferred languages of learning.  What do you use in the classroom, as an adult learner, or what were some of your preferences growing up?  My languages of learning were usually sketch pencils + sketch book (drawing) and anything related to nature.  I loved creating transient art in the sand or within a park.

At our session we will use this as part of a discussion/experience and you will have the opportunity to integrate your "languages of learning" within the atelier (mini studio spaces).  Every time that you move from one atelier to another your languages of learning (essentially part of who you are as a learner) will travel with you!  This will make documenting even more interesting, as the atelier spaces will never be the same.  All of your languages of learning will enhance the spaces, as will your interactions with the existing materials and the individuals that you meet.  

Be creative and have fun with this, but don't go out and buy anything!  I can’t wait to see what your preferred languages of learning will be!  We will not keep what you contribute, so don't hesitate to bring them for your own use and sharing!  I suggest 2 languages, but of course am flexible if you want to bring more!

Some examples of languages of learning: 
(Think outside the regular box of paper and pencil tasks)

-charcoal drawing
-beading with jewels, sequins, buttons 
-print making
-knitting and crocheting 
-fine tipped pens
-paper crafting
-mixed media
-flower arranging 
-graphic design
-clay sculpting
-sharpie cartooning / animation
-stained glass
-creative writing
-eco art 
-diy creations
-interior design
-sewing/fashion (fabric, scarves)
-mew media

For those of you who applied before labour day, you will be receiving a digital copy of my TransformEd Tips and Trips eResource.

In case you registered on behalf of another staff member or you used a family members paypal account, could you please contact me with the right name and email address for my records?  This is especially important for the spelling of your name on your certificate of completion.

Finally, bring with you your documentation tools (mobile device, tablet, camera, laptop, notebook, clipboard, etc.) that you can use to document learning at the atelier spaces and to share your thoughts using the #TransformEdWorkshop hashtag!  I also encourage you to have some form of technology to access our googledoc folder.  This year I will be creating a folder so that you can follow along my powerpoint slides and have them to refer back to at a later date, along with the digital handout and links.  Finally a copy of the Kindergarten Program document, How Does Learning Happen?, and Think, Feel, Act is also recommended for the session (hardcopy or digital).

See you all soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you need anything don't hesitate to contact me! (Email here.)

Warmly yours, 

Joanne Marie Babalis

P.S. I do have half a table left if you had colleagues that wanted to come with you.  Just have them email me to join us!  

My son has shown an interest in sensory experiences, especially those that include bright red.  I recognize that paint is simply one language of learning, however, found it to be a fascinating entry point into his communication.

Here are a few more photographs:

Special thank you to the Ontario Reggio Association for always supporting my learning journey.  I sincerely appreciate the wonderful opportunities that you have provided me over the years and am grateful to have registered!

To Lella, Amelia and all of the Reggio Emilia educators who continue to be a ray of light and inspiration for my teaching.  One hundred grazies for your willingness to share the possibilities of children with us.

It's all in the details:

Finger paint - @crayola

Canvas - @michaelsstores

Plastic cups - @walmartcanada (ice cream cups)

Round wooden tray - Garage sale

Provocation and photos - @joannebabalis (photos that include Joanne and Baby S were taken by her husband)

And thus they tell the child

That the hundred is not there

The child says: 
NO WAY. The hundred is there.

-Loris Malaguzzi
Founder of the Reggio Approach

(Translated by Lella Gandini)

Share your thoughts :

  1. Your post reminds me that this message about the 100 languages really needs to be spread beyond Kindergarten. What does this look like in different grades? How can we help each other understand these varied ways to communicate? Thank you, as always, for the inspiration. You amaze me, Joanne, and these photographs are fantastic! They are making me think about other classroom possibilities and what we may be missing.