16 August 2010

unschool monday :: one hundred

My lovely Mum sent me this poem. It was written by Loris Malaguzzi, who developed the Reggio Emilia approach to learning. I love the sentiment. Its so important to us that we help our owlets retain and express their individuality (see photo above - chalk and cheese). Its why we've chosen a natural learning approach for them....

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 marvelling 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 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 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.


  1. yes! Totally agree!! And that's been the most amazing thing about our unschooling experience - once I took myself out of the directors seat and started observing more, I realised how many different ways they've got of doing EVERYTHING! And I love it. I love watching it unfold without correcting them or telling them the 'facts'. I love seeing how laterally they can think about everything they come across... Thanks for this one:)

  2. Fantastic poem. Your owlets look very wintery indeed, such a blissful photo.

  3. Great poem pointing out the rich world of children that they are born with. They have many more ways of communicating then us, grown up 'cultured' ones. I believe in the 'secret society of children'. They have minds of their own and are very capable of teaching each other and discovering the world on their own accord without us big ones influencing them with our values and belief systems that can more often then not pollute their own development. That's why we as adults have to go back and look for our authenticity, while children just ARE authentic if we let them be. I recommend reading the book 'Island' written by Aldoux Huxley. A utopia story that deals with children making their own choices.

  4. As a non-home schooler, it was really lovely to read that poem. Such a wonderful concept. Thank you.

  5. What a fantastic post! I'm going to print out this poem and stick it on my wall somewhere...as a reminder to myself and those who enter my home as to why I keep my kids out of school!
    Rock on mama!
    xo maureen


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