Language Policy at Bambini Creativi
Language Learning at Bambini Creativi
At Bambini Creativi we believe “languages” offer a broad spectrum of conceptual learning and deep understanding of not only cultural and international appreciation, but also an appreciation for expressive languages through communication, the arts, and creativity. We believe language learning empowers the learner and provides an intellectual framework to support conceptual development, and critical and creative thinking. Language plays an instinctual role in our ability to make connections and construct meaning.
Language Learning and the Reggio-Emilia Approach
Unlike the traditional scholastic realities which tend to favor linguistics and logical intelligence, the Reggio Emilia philosophy emphasizes the importance of enhancing the “100 Languages” of the child in all areas of their learning and development.
Loris Malaguzzi, the founder and philosopher of the Reggio Emilia Approach, believes the child is endowed with the one hundred languages, which allows the child to have access to a multitude of realities and to the world. For this reason, the child must be allowed to activate a variety of expressive modalities at the same time they are exercising their hands, thoughts, and emotions. Therefore, learning opportunities become truly transdisciplinary (verbal, visual-spatial, mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, etc.), and as a result, children make cross-connections, develop a more profound understanding, are exposed to more materials and more points of views, and are capable of synthesizing their thoughts, emotions, understanding, and ideas into expansive, language-rich projects.
The hundred languages play an essential role in the Reggio-Emilia Approach. “Languages” refers to communication and emphasizes the importance of providing children with one hundred ways to share their thinking and understanding of the world around them.
The hundred languages also represent the infinite amount of potential each child naturally possesses and each child’s individual point of view of their immediate community. Supported in research and accepted by educators world-wide, children learn and construct knowledge in a variety of different ways. This understanding is the reason why we provide a multitude of tools, resources, materials, and languages for learning and exploring that is so critical in the educational journey. These means of exploration can include talking, writing, painting, coding, building, presenting, acting, drawing, creating, computing, experimenting, dancing, etc. Providing children with meaningful learning experiences encourages exploration of the child’s own interests. Therefore, we must create a safe and positive learning environment that successfully supports the Reggio-inspired approach and the hundred languages.
The Hundred Languages of Children (Poem)
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 marveling, 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, 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, the hundred is not there.
The child says, “No way – The hundred is there.”
- Loris Malaguzzi (translated by Lella Gandini)
Un Cento Linguaggi dei Bambini (in Italiano)
Il bambino ha cento lingue
cento modi di pensare
di giocare e di parlare
cento sempre cento
modi di ascoltare
di stupire di amare
cento allegrie per cantare e capire
cento mondi da scoprire
cento mondi da inventare
cento mondi da sognare.
Il bambino ha cento lingue
(e poi cento, cento, cento)
ma gliene rubano novantanove.
La scuola e la cultura
gli separano la testa dal corpo.
Gli dicono: di pensare senza mani
di fare senza testa
di ascoltare e di non parlare
di capire senza allegrie
di amare e di stupirsi solo a Pasqua e a Natale.
Gli dicono: di scoprire il mondo che già c’è e
di cento gliene rubano novantanove.
Gli dicono: che il gioco e il lavoro la realtà e la fantasia la
scienza e l’immaginazione
il cielo e la terra
la ragione e il sogno
sono cose che non stanno insieme.
gli dicono insomma che il cento non c’è.
Il bambino dice: invece il cento c’è.
- Loris Malaguzzi
Ateliers & Language Rich Learning Environments
Ateliers are environments that promote knowledge and creativity. They are suggestive spaces that provoke questions and generate evocations. Ateliers are aesthetically, inspiring environments that produce knowledge and pathways to new understanding. The atelier is the place where “the hundred languages” come to life and help us construct meaning. The culture of the atelier gives and identity and shape to the educational project of Reggio Emilia Approach, and to the philosophy of the “Hundred Languages.”
There are a variety of ateliers in Bambini Creativi’s school that students are encouraged to explore and visit each day. These ateliers are thoughtfully designed learning environments that focus on a general “symbolic language” where students are exposed to rich language, new vocabulary, materials, skills, techniques, knowledge, and understanding. For example, our Art Atelier is filled with a plethora of materials, tools, textures, colors, concepts, skills, techniques, processes, etc., that opens the door to many opportunities for expansive language learning.
In addition, Ateliers are also used to integrate academics through transdisciplinary learning. For example, if our students are studying the Human Body, they could create clay representations of the different major organs they are studying.
Additional Language & Everyday Integration
Prior to becoming an elementary and an IB Candidate School, Bambini Creativi started as an Italian Reggio-Inspired Preschool. During their preschool years, Bambini Creativi offered Italian language learning before introducing the new Spanish language learning program. As a result, the students and teachers at Bambini Creativi have adopted and continue to use everyday Italian language.
Amici- means “friends” in Italiano, but at Bambini Creativi it means more than just being friends. It means being a good person with a good moral compass. Students at Bambini Creativi refer to their classmates and student body as amici.
Bravo/(i)- means “well-done everyone” in Italiano. Teachers or students may say this to each other when they are complimenting others’ work or efforts.
Ciao- means “hello or goodbye” in Italiano. Students will often use this term to greet each other or say goodbye to visitors, parents, classmates, and friends.
Atelier- mean “working studio/laboratory” in Italiano. Bambini Creativi has several ateliers throughout the school that focus on working with a specific discipline or language. For example, Bambini Creativi has a Kid’s Kitchen, Art Atelier, Culture and Language Lab, Library, Water Exploration Room, Piazza for Movement and Music, etc. Students, teachers, and parents use the word atelier to refer to these different learning areas throughout the school.
Language Diversity at Bambini Creativi
English is the primary language of instruction at Bambini Creativi. It is the common language in which all communication and access to our educational program and curriculum occur. The ongoing support and development of English within our school is essential to the overall success of our students. English language learning is not something that happens at a specific time of the day with English language teachers only. On the contrary, English language learning happens throughout the school, across the disciplines, and is the responsibility of all of the teachers. All staff and personnel working within the school, especially the teaching team, are responsible for implementing and modeling the use of clear and concise communication and language.
All Bambini Creativi teachers have a responsibility to address the language needs of their students in the language of instruction.
As an international school, Bambini Creativi acknowledges and appreciates that many of its students will be learning in a language other than their first language. These students will need to acquire English not only to access the mainstream curriculum but also to participate in the cultural and social life of the school. Therefore, Bambini Creativi provides a variety of opportunities for students who are not considered proficient in the language of instruction with additional support and language learning resources.
Learning and the Language of Instruction
Language learning is critical to every component of our classroom learning. We encourage all of our students to generate inquiry and construct meaning as an essential goal of our educational program. Language is emphasized each day throughout the entire school. However, in the classroom, language learning is focused on during segmented times focusing on specific language skills and curriculum. For example, in our Early Year’s classrooms, students have designated times for journaling, reading books, visiting the library, and listening to stories being read. In our Elementary Program, students have an hour block each day of “Integrated Literacy” time. During this time, students may read, write, present, listen, type, view, etc. They might read or write in small groups targeting specific skills to support their deficits while differentiating the learning in the classroom so each individual child can experience progress and success. If the educational team at Bambini Creativi identifies a student who would benefit from additional language learning support, they will offer the student and family resources, materials, and outside service providers.
English as Additional Language
Bambini Creativi supports students who are non-native speakers of English with the intention and goal that they become fully integrated into the life of the school. Students who are identified as additional language learners in English are carefully evaluated during the admissions phase of enrolling in our program and school. Our goal is to identify each student’s level of proficiency and evaluate whether additional English language support is required. Teachers and parents will work together to create a comprehensive plan with well establish goals for our students who require additional language support. A comprehensive plan is individualized for each student needs to be successful in our language learning program. This plan may include specific learning materials and aids in the classroom, the use of information technology support, accommodations for outside tutors or service providers to work along the side of the student in the classroom, or at any other time of the day as needed. Teachers will decide if the student requires accommodations for standard grading and reporting, and will closely document and assess language learning and growth. The teachers will arrange with the parents additional times to meet throughout the school year to discuss progress and strategies for continued support.
In addition, Bambini Creativi will offer classroom space, language learning materials, technology, and any other additional resources for families to hire outside language learning service providers to tutor students after-school.
Language and Inquiry-Based Learning
“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.”- Flora Lewis
Bambini Creativi recognizes that in a transdisciplinary educational model, language learning is vital to an inquiry-based curriculum and the students' ability to construct knowledge. For our students to thrive in our educational program, we believe they must have complete access to relevant, meaningful, authentic experiences, social interactions, and connections to prior knowledge and all aspects of language learning. Students who are non-native speakers of the English language, and who have also been identified as requiring additional language learning support, will be fully immersed in our regular program schedule and classroom activities. In some cases, a student may be required to attend specials (art, music, and movement) taught in the English language for more English language exposure as a substitute for learning an additional language.
First Language or Mother-Tongue
“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.”- Rita Mae Brown
The term mother-tongue also refers to a child’s first or native language. The parent community at Bambini Creativi express their values and beliefs regarding their child being fully immersed in an English language-rich environment and classroom at the earliest age, and take parental responsibility to continue to practice mother-tongue language learning and development at home and outside of school. However, as research and studies show, it is essential that children continue to preserve their mother tongue language and deepen their understanding of their native language, for the continual development of higher-order cognitive skills and for the vital transmission of cultural identity. Therefore, Bambini Creativi aims to support parents in the maintenance and ongoing development of both literacy skills and native language learning.
Bambini Creativi will actively support mother tongue language development by:
recognizing and celebrating the various mother-tongue languages within our school community
enabling parents access to use school facilities or classrooms and ateliers for tutoring
offering parents access to our Information Technology resources for online mother-tongue language learning
extending mother-tongue books and resources in the library
inviting the mother-tongue language to be shared in the classroom
Learning Additional Language
“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”- Frank Smith
Bambini Creativi values the various roles of language and views learning an additional language is vitally important to the overall development of the whole child. Learning an additional language develops a multitude of language and literacy skills, as well as nurtures attitudes that enable us to communicate effectively, no matter where we are in the world. Language learning at Bambini Creativi continues to blossom through a developmental process where students scaffold language learning and understanding by building on the foundation of their prior knowledge.
The continual learning of an Additional Language provides our students with the opportunity to:
celebrate, appreciate, and respect diverse languages and cultural-linguistic
develop competency in a language other than their native language
develop skills and a foundation for future language to be learned
develop high-order cognitive skills
Additional Language (Spanish) at Bambini Creativi
All full-time students at Bambini Creativi are required to study at least one language in addition to English. Currently, in our early childhood and elementary program, students have 30 minutes of Spanish language learning four days a week, approximately totaling 72 hours of additional language learning a school year.