100 Languages and a hundred hundred more!

Well it has been over a month since I last sat down in front of my computer to blog and it feels really good to back in 2017!  With our son's first Christmas and New Year's to celebrate, I decided to step away from social media for a little bit...
 A New Year's resolution that I have for myself is to be more mindful/present, and this means that I may not always choose to share every special occasion or aspect of my personal life on the blog.  There is something to be said about really living these moments, rather than feeling the pressure to have to capture them in photographs and words!

Normally I write about my highlights from the year and goals for the next, but my list of pending post ideas keeps growing, and I want to give you richer content!  Instead I will offer you a window into my last face-to-face workshop on the topic of The Hundred Languages.  To date, this workshop is one that I am most proud of!  I truly feel that it brought to life some of the inspiration that I have received from the Reggio Emilia approach.

During our time together instead of speaking about integrated learning, I had participants really experience and reflect about it.  I invited them to bring a couple of their own preferred languages of learning (e.g., a paint brush, wire, camera, etc.) into our session to include into their experience of the studio spaces.  With a group of sixty plus participants we easily had over 100 Languages represented that morning!  I found it of particular interest to document how the languages of learning were integrated into the existing ateliers and how the materials changed the learning.  Every time someone moved to a new area, their language followed them and interacted with other participants' languages.

Throughout the venue there were several different atelier spaces as I described above with the following languages represented: 

It is important to note that each space was inspired by the expertise of an atielerista from our community who specialized in a language(s) of learning.  These artists brought forward their understandings and experiences to co-construct learning with us.  What I admire from Reggio Emilia, Italy is how they reach out to their community partners.  They don't claim to be experts or know everything about education.  If a project emerges that could use the knowledge from an engineer/architect/mathematician/etc., then they aren't afraid to seek one out!

As a Reggio-inspired educator and person I have certain strengths, however, I knew that I could not be everything to everyone on the day of the workshop.  I also recognized that it would be nearly impossible to facilitate the learning in a thoughtful and in-depth way at each space on my own.  For this reason, I drew on my resources and came up with quite the team of creative collaborators!

Here were the partners in case you would like to reach out to them for future events, products, or questions:

Louise Kool & Galt - Loose Parts and Light/Shadow

Lana O'Reilly - Wire

Acorn Collaborative Consulting - The language of food

Indigo Wild - DIY stone art and weaving

Once Upon a Mat - Yoga and Mindfulness 

Sarah Kraftchuk - Author

Niki Belegrinis - Nature

After communicating with these artists, and knowing that the educators who attended would have the opportunity to explore, I thought what might be missing? Children!  So, for the very first time, I invited some families with their young children to freely flow throughout the space and bring the learning to life!

Here are a few photographs and video clips from those who attended along with their very thoughtful testimonials:

At today's Hundred Languages, #TransformEdWorkshop hosted by Joanne Babalis I was reminded of what it felt like to be a 5 year old again.  The magic that was woven throughout the whole workshop was unbelievable.  I left with so many new and wonderful ideas to bring back to my classroom.  Thank you Joanne for always inspiring me.  Even after 30 years of teaching you can never be too old to learn new things.

-Maureen Cicinelli

Another amazing workshop from beginning to end! I have attended many of your workshops in the past 3 years teaching FDK, and they continue to leave me inspired.  Having the opportunity to learn more about what the 100 languages looks like in practice, along with being able to talk with other educators is so valuable.  I am looking forward to learning more from and with you! 

-Jessica Jacobson

#TransformEdWorkshop learning opportunities never disappoint.  I always leave with more questions and wonderings that push my thinking and my teaching practice.  Thank you, Joanne.  I look forward to more workshops in the future! 

-Antonella Fabbro

What a wonderful way to network and spend time focusing on specific spaces that can be set up in your classroom.  Thank you for being a natural voice that makes people inspired to become more well-rounded educators.

-Kelsey Raithby

I learned the importance of taking risks and allowing the students to be the drivers of the learning.  Being mindful of the environment/learning materials to engage students.

-Vanessa Pietropaolo

An absolutely amazing workshop! My mind felt like it was going to explode with inspiration!  A wonderful space and time to discuss with and meet other FDK educators.  I would attend a future workshop and recommend to friends.  Thank you so much!

-Amelia Cerisano

A great workshop that left me energized!

Joanne offers her beliefs and ideas in a caring environment and it is evident that she is passionate about the hundred languages and sent us off with lots of ideas! 

-Susan Coyne

Thank you Joanne for providing such an inspiring session today!  The experiential nature of today truly allowed us to engage and explore!  We learned more about our creativity and how to take this into our classroom.  I was the student today!

-Maria Marinuzzo

This workshop let me see creative resources through the eyes of a child.  It opened my eyes to the language of learning spaces, as well as utilizing natural resources in a meaningful way.

-Andrea Maddan

I've admired Joanne's work via social media for some time now.  It was so inspiring to meet her and her workshop colleagues in person and to explore so many different languages of learning.  The workshop was thoughtfully set up and planned with intentionality and care.  I am grateful for the opportunity to slow down and engage with the materials in a meaningful way and to view them in ways my students might!

-April Dekkema

 I always leave Joanne's sessions feeling renewed, refreshed and inspired.  I appreciate the value Joanne places on ensuring that the space is warm, welcoming, and encourages learning.  If you have a chance to hear her speak, please take it!

-Darci Gallinger

It is with great pleasure that I write my thoughts on the 100 Languages of Learning workshop graciously given by Joanne Babalis of TransformEd Consulting Services. I looked forward to attending the workshop for weeks and thought carefully about which languages I would bring. Of course I chose visual art materials because of my art background. So with my Copic sketch markers, Carré conte crayons, Prang watercolours and watercolour paper I drove 4 hours to attend the workshop and be inspired. That rainy Saturday morning did not disappoint. The space at Hazelton Manor was transformed into a wondrous place of possibilities. The various ateliers were set up with beauty and aesthetics in mind. I could not wait to explore. The two hours we were given to play and explore with our "languages" flew by and I appreciated the opportunity that Joanne and the lovely hosts of each atelier created for us. As I took my art materials to each area and I interacted with the materials provided. I was inspired to draw. I then took that drawing and used it as inspiration to create with wire. Next I bought both pieces the drawing and the wire piece to the loose parts table where I placed the wire on the mirror and added gems to create a new piece. I photographed each step of the artistic transformation. I concluded my exploration by taping the wire work and adding food dye from the food atelier to my paper. What stands out most for me however is not my artwork but the interaction that occurred with the people and their materials or "languages" as I explored with mine. The communication between ideas and the shared expression that resulted was indeed inspirational. My own experience was enhanced through all these relationships. I took back to my classroom and learning space an experience and understanding that gives value to what I aim to create for my own students. I have a better understanding of the 100 languages having experienced it myself. Fantastic job Joanne and many thanks to all the atelier creators and hosts.

-Michelle van Heugten

In less than a month, I will be presenting something similar (it can never be replicated identically) in the Niagara Region with the ECCDC.  If you might be interested in coming with me on Saturday, January 21st, 2017 and setting up an atelier (mini studio space), or know of someone who might and lives in the area please email me at joannemariebabalis@gmail.com.  This will be an opportunity for you to be creative and inspire so many others in the process!

I know that we have over 50 participants, but believe that they are still accepting a few more if you visit their homepage and wish to attend.

Thank you again to everyone who made this workshop an unforgettable one!  It was such a privilege to facilitate the magic that unfolded when we embraced uninterrupted time!

For those of you who registered early, a copy of my "TransformEd Tips and Tricks: Planning that Supports Integrated Learning" package will be available in Spring 2017 and emailed to you.  I will be using your wonders from the session to ensure that it reflects your genuine curiosity on the topic.  If you attended the session or have your own questions about integrated learning, please don't hesitate to send me an email or leave your comment below.

Happy New Year everyone! May 2017 be another learning filled year!

Please stay tuned for information about my York University Kindergarten AQ course offerings (new course begins in late January), #CTInquiry network sessions, online eWorkshop series, and a few face-to-face sessions that will celebrate family and parental involvement with our ever-changing educational methods, going deeper with inquiry based learning and project work, iPhoneography and making learning visible part two, infants/toddlers and the capabilities of our earliest learners, as well as creativity and the learning process! 

If this Hundred Languages workshop or any listed above interest you and you would like to bring something similar to your conference, school/board, or daycare feel free to contact me!

Again, wishing you the very best that 2017 has to offer and I hope that it gives you many more reasons to smile!

Although the Reggio experience has become internationally known, 
it has not become simply a slogan or formula, a recipe, or a commercial commodity, or a fad or fashion.
It has not (indeed cannot) be thought of as any kind of quick fix, because quick fixes never work in education, and moreover, programs and models from overseas can never be transplanted wholesale from one cultural context to another without extensive change and adaptation...
... Instead, what we have seen and learned in Reggio Emilia has become a source of energy and inspiration.

- Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 2012, p.15
(The Hundred Languages of Children)

Share your thoughts :

  1. Dear Joanne,
    I am an early childhood education major in my junior year of college. In my classes I have seen a few examples of Reggio Emilia classrooms. After reading through your blog posts I have come to the realization that we have many of the same ideas. I also believe that teachers cannot have a successful program if they do not focus on the interests of the children and the environment around them. I found what you did at your latest workshop interesting. All the activities were different and had components that were interactive for the children. I personally believe children learn best through exploration and by interacting with what they are learning about. In a few of the photographs, I see that elements of nature were incorporated into the activities. I have learned that by having nature in activities and throughout the learning space, it can create a sense of calmness. It is important to bring nature indoors for children to explore since getting outside is not always easy. Every station pictured showed how the children could work with the material around them to try to understand the learning spaces. I think it is important for teachers to collaborate and share ideas in order to better their teaching practices, especially in workshops like the one you held. I hope to bring some of these ideas into my own classroom someday.