The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation is an inspiring resource that combines history and early childhood education theory while addressing three important themes of the Reggio Emilia philosophy in detail – teaching and learning through relationships; the hundred languages of children, and integrating documentation into the learning process. The resource is collaboration between European and North American authors, and documents a set of schools that have evolved over almost half a century in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation is divided into four themes, each supported with anecdotes and photographs to help readers connect to the dialogue and reflections presented. Rinaldi (2001) suggests that one of “most fundamental points of the Reggio philosophy is an image of the child who experiences the world, who feels a part of the world right from birth; a child who is full of curiosities, full of desire to live; a child who is able to communicate from the start of his or her life; a child who is able to fully create maps for his or her personal, social, cognitive, affective and symbolic orientation” (p. 51). The themes are as follows:
Part I: “Starting Points”, opens with poetry by Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the municipal early childhood education system in Reggio Emilia. This section focuses on the background on the Reggio experience. The introduction is followed by an interview with Loris Malaguzzi by Italian author and teacher, Lella Gandini. The remaining chapters in this section take a closer look of what makes the context of Reggio Emilia so distinct from other philosophies of early childhood education.
Part II: “Teaching and Learning through Relationships”, discusses the role of family and community participation in the Reggio Emilia philosophy by sharing anecdotes and photographs of how teachers and community members work together to ensure quality early childhood education for all children.
Part III: “ Documentation as an Integrated Process of Observing, Reflecting, and Communicating”, explores pedagogical documentation and introduces the “pedagogy of listening”. Documentation is an important educational strategy emerging from the Reggio Emilia experience, and this section presents an international dialogue on the theory and practice of pedagogical documentation.
Part IV: “The Idea of the Hundred Languages of Children and Its Evolution”, describes the concept of the “hundred languages” and its evolution. This section explores topics such as the learning environment and technology to support innovation and creativity, the role of the atelierista (“studio teacher”), and the professional development of teachers.
The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation takes educators on a journey across national boundaries and involves them in a dialogue that moves from book to the limitless possibilities in classrooms. It is a springboard to dialogue among ourselves as educators so we can continue to explore the Reggio Emilia philosophy in our own contexts. The Reggio approach is not a model to be copied or duplicated, instead it celebrates the uniqueness of each community and views the classrooms as “a places of life for children, teachers, and families – places not only to transmit culture and support the family, but to create new culture, the culture of childhood, the culture of the child; places in which we can offer to our society a new image of the child, a new image of childhood, a new image of the teacher, a new image of the family” (Rinaldi, 2001, p. 54).
Edwards, C., Gandini, L., & Forman, G. (Eds.). (2011). Hundred Languages of Children, The: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation.
Rinaldi, C. (2001). Reggio Emilia: The image of the child and the child’s environment as a fundamental principle. Bambini: The Italian approach to infant/toddler care, 49-54.