April Fools’ Day is celebrated widely throughout Western culture as a time to embrace being a little silly and laugh with your neighbour. While the origin of April Fools’ Day is not certain, the concept links back to a number of historical celebrations including the Roman festival of Hilaria, the Holi festival of India, and the Medieval Feast of Fools. This light-hearted festivity is a great way to introduce the idea of learning through laughter to the home and classroom.
Studies show that children who develop a sense of humour in younger years are better equipped to interact with others, look at situations for different perspectives and deal with challenges. Laughing has also been linked to a range of health benefits including improved appetite and digestion, sleep patterns and boosting the immune system.
‘Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.’ – Victor Borge
Incorporating humour into the learning process can be as simple as putting on a silly hat, singing a funny song or sharing a joke. Sharing humour, happiness and satisfaction strengthens children’s social and emotional wellbeing and enables them to be more confident and involved learners. When children are able to recognise and replicate humour, they are demonstrating their ability to communicate on a more complex level and showing an understanding of societal and cultural practices. These outcomes are in line with the concept of Belonging as outlined in the Early Years Learning Framework.
The positive link between laughter and personal development, particularly in young children, is clear. This April Fools’ Day, the 1st of April, embrace the power and laughter, and continue to encourage your child’s sense humour in everyday learning.