In many schools “a hundred” is a reference to the 100th day of school project. This often translates into a less engaging project around displaying one hundred things in some way in the kindergarten or first grade classroom. As I reflect on many years in a multitude of schools, another kind of “a hundred” comes to mind: A cornerstone to progressive, student-centered education, – “The hundred languages” poem by Loris Malaguzzi.
I first encountered this poem in my graduate school program many years ago. It resonated with me because it describes in a powerful form a perspective of children as learners and individuals that demand not only our attention, but also deserve our thoughtfulness. It calls upon our readiness to engage as collaborators in their learning. It leads to the realization that reciprocity is at the core of meaningful relationships that make room for deeply-engaged learning much beyond our school walls. Sadly, “The school and the culture” that is described in this poem is a more common phenomenon than we may think-regardless of pedagogical practices or program descriptors – but I am glad to share that at Bixby School “the hundred is there”!