The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking
The definition of the word Language according to Merrian Webster not only refers to the sounds we articulate but also to "the suggestion by objects, actions, or conditions of associated ideas or feelings".
Children have so many avenues to express themselves, whether through painting, dancing, sculpting etc.. These languages represent their thought processes and theories. When they are investigating various ideas they are asked to use these languages to communicate their perspectives. Unlike some schools who see the arts designated to an arts and crafts center, the belief is that these are indeed languages and weave themselves through all areas of thinking. As children both mature and as their ideas change so do the way they interact with these languages.
How does language develop?
We first begin communicating our needs as infants with gesturing and imitating sounds we hear. As we progress our language develops into communicating needs and feelings, for this to happen a thought process must precede what is vocalized.As we all know these changes are not immediate and take time as children make observations and soak in the world around them.
How is this applicable to the materials we use in preschool?
If we see materials as languages then the same progression must apply. When paint is only put out as a special guest on an occasion then the children never progress past the babbling, gesturing phase. By giving the students ample opportunity to explore materials and when provocations are presented to them in order to urge them to a higher level of technique and imagination, communication begins taking shape.