The Image of the Child
Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves. – Ernest Dimnet
Children must be taught how to think, not what to think. – Margaret Mead
At CCPRE, we believe that children are born strong, capable, and ready to learn, with the knowledge and the motivation to grow and develop. Children are born confident, competent, and curious. Children are capable of constructing their own learning as an active participant. They are driven by their interests to understand and know more. Children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with adults, other children, and the environment. Children are oozing with potential, and interested in connecting to the world around them.
At CCPRE, our educators are deeply aware of children’s potential, and they design the environment, and construct experiences appropriately. We know that children are communicators and that communication is a process, a way of discovering things. Children are encouraged to use language as play, to investigate and explore, to reflect on their experiences.
At CCPRE, there is a strong focus on social collaboration, working in groups, where each child is an equal participant, having their thoughts and questions valued. The educator is not the giver of knowledge. Children search out the knowledge through their own investigations. Children are listened to with respect, because we believe that their questions and observations are an opportunity to learn and search together. It is a journey; a collaborative process. Rather than the child asking a question and the educator offering the answers, the search is undertaken together.
Children are capable of taking an active role in the school. At meal times kids help prepare their place at the table, wash their hands and clean up after the meal. Children get out materials and put them away with no help from adults. Children express their needs, wants, thoughts, and emotions using the entire myriad of “languages” that they possess.
The Hundred Languages of Children
The child has a hundred languages. - Loris Malaguzzi
Children communicate what they like, think, know, wonder, discover, and feel in a hundred different ways – maybe more! They communicate not just through words, but through drama, laughter, sculpting, writing, facial expressions, painting, exploring, crying, storytelling, pretending, singing, dreaming, loving, fantasy, creating, etc.
At CCPRE, children are constantly encouraged to depict their interests, learning, and understanding through one of many symbolic languages, including drawing, sculpture, dramatic play, experimentation, and writing.
In the Makery and in the creative spaces within the Exploritorium or Imaginarium, the child’s creations are an integral part of the symbolic expression of the learning process. In the fine-motor area of the Imaginarium, as children proceed in an engineering investigation, generating and testing their creations they use these languages to express themselves. The educators use these creations as a springboard to pursue thinking and related or deeper concepts. In the Exploratorium, teachers foster children's involvement in the processes of exploration and explanation of science and nature to advance their learning.
These hundred ways of communicating can inform teachers and the children themselves about the learning process, their projects, the environmental design, and the creation of curriculum. Educators can use these languages to design novel ways to stimulate thinking, constructing, solving problems, revising, negotiating, and expressing thoughts and feelings.
Each of these hundred or more languages - drawing and dancing, sculpting and singing, painting and pretend play, movement and music… must be valued and nurtured. These languages, or ways of learning, are all a part of the child. Learning and play are not separated – not dichotomous; hands-on play and discovery are the essence of childhood learning.