“Beyond and beyond”

Jane’s comment about the children going “beyond the beyond” reminded me of the words of Malaguzzi.

“Creativity seems to emerge from multiple experiences, coupled with a well-supported development of personal resources, including a sense of freedom to venture beyond the known” (Malaguzzi, 1998, p. 76).

An exploration of shells in Jane's JK classroom.

According to Malaguzzi (2001) there is a wall, which prevents us from going beyond what we know. His poetic words tell us that, “beyond the wall there is always a beyond” (p. 6). When the Hundred Languages of Children Exhibit was in its first incarnation, it was called “When the Eye Jumps Over the Wall.” According to Malaguzzi (2001), inside the title there was a message “that the eye, when it looks beyond the wall of habit, of custom, of the normal, of the non-surprise, of assumed security” (p. 6), will find the possible. When the wall of old habits and customs is broken down the quest for the possible can begin.

A Reggio inspired philosophy at Richland Academy

The obstacle to overcome is the accepted image of the child. If education is seen as just a service offered to young children, it subjugates the child within a message that their voice need not be heard. The aim of the exhibit for Malaguzzi was to give “shape and vitality to research that vanquishes silence, that affords both children and adults a way to explore, to construct theories and ideas . . . .” (Malaguzzi, 2001, p. 6).

Teachers can choose to erect the wall that Malaguzzi (2001) calls the wall of the “finite” (p. 6). When responses to curriculum become habituated and when they are left unquestioned, the result is the continuation of dubious practice and a limited view of what is beyond the wall. If the impetus for change comes from within, teachers can have a “sense of the infinite” (Malaguzzi, 2001, p. 6).

Documentation of light and shadow investigations in JK at Richland Academy

Malaguzzi, L. (1998). History, ideas and basic philosophy. In C. Edwards, L. Gandini, & G. Forman (Eds.), The hundred languages of children: The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education (pp. 49 – 77). Norwood, NJ: Albex.

Malaguzzi, L. (2001, October). A quest for the possible. Rechild Newsletter, (5), 6. Reggio Emilia, Italy: Reggio Children.


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