Adding Humor to Your Classroom

Oct 17, 2016
Adding Humor to Your Classroom

When I was a teacher in the infant classroom in a college demonstration preschool, there were moments every now and again when all eight babies in our class cried at the same time.

humor young children

Now you know what happens when you hear ONE baby cry – those beautifully designed cringes/impulses to do anything you can to make that baby stop crying kick in and your comfort, feed, rock, walk – whatever it takes to soothe them. I love this instinct adults have and see it as a divine plan to create a relationship between parents/caregivers and young children.

Anyway, in those moments of unified crying, as my co-teacher and I met the needs of each baby individually, we would laugh and say, “it’s a choir!” Eventually the volume and intensity of the choir would decrease and peace would resume… usually replaced with gentle sounds of sleep and full tummies.

The Value of Humor

Humor is a wonderful way to reduce stress. It puts things in perspective and lifts the spirits. It gets you through difficult moments. It creates a shared experience that binds us to one another. It fosters friendships and social interactions. And children are just naturally funny – that’s probably one thing that draws you towards them.

Here’s a video example of the sense of humor of an 11-month old.

Bring Humor into the Classroom

In addition to the fun factor, humor is an effective way to engage children and activate learning. Many experts are now advocating adding humor to the classroom.

“We’re finding humor actually lights up more of the brain than many other functions in a classroom,” says May Kay Morrison, author of Using Humor to Maximize Learning. “In other words, if you’re listening just auditorily in a classroom, one small part of the brain lights up, but humor maximizes learning and strengthens memories.”

Download the PDF: 8 Ways to Bring Humor into the Everyday

Let’s explore ways you can intentionally bring humor into your classroom… and fill the environment with laughter!

One way is to know your children – their interests, their quirks, their experiences. Use this information to relate to children and laugh with them. There are developmental stages of humor – babies and toddlers laugh at certain things, preschoolers another. School-agers get jokes the younger kids don’t. Figure out what tickles the funny bone of your children and run with it.

Another thing you can do is talk to preschoolers about laughter and humor. When they laugh, ask them what they find funny. This kind of discussion helps you see their perspective and understand them. As they become aware of what makes them laugh, they’ll repeat it because it’s so fun!

Just a word of caution before we go. Sometimes humor is in the eye of the beholder and it can be easy to take things too far. Remember that humor at the expense of another is never okay!

In everything you do with children, promote kindness. That’s how you make a difference in this world.

Download the PDF: 8 Ways to Bring Humor into the Everyday

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