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Opening Doors for Children & Families

The Universal Language

I was visiting one of the ABC Head Start classrooms yesterday. Although most ABC Head Start classrooms have a high number of children who are learning English, this classroom has more than the average. I walked up to the "house" centre and peaked my head through the little window. "Hello!" I said, "Can I have some chia?" The little girls in the house all looked at each other and smiled, one shrugged. I said, "Can I have lunch?" Trying again hoping to get a verbal reply. Nothing, just smiles.

Then one of the girls handed me a frying pan full of fake vegetables. I took it from her and when I did I stumbled and the food flew everywhere. The girls burst into a fit of laughter! They hurried to pick it all up and handed it back to me in anticipation that I would do it again. So I did, and once again the girls laughed. And as simple as that I had made a connection with this group of children with the universal language of laughter.

I noticed as the morning wore on the classroom staff using humor often to engage the children. In a simple excercise the teacher was assessing children for colour recognition and following directions. She had a bag full of different coloured bean bags and asked the children one-by-one to come over and pick a bean bag from the grocery bag. As each child did she made sound effects as if the bag was slurping up their hands. The children laughed uncontrollably. And just as they would all stop she would call another child and again fits of laughter. 16 children, and it didn't lose its humour.

Do you know that a preschool child laughs 300 times a day! Do you know how much the average adult laughs?? A measly 17 times a day. There has been numerous studies about the benefits of laughter and for those of you who may have just had a good laugh I won't have to convince you. Laughter has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve brain function, increase antibodies, fight infections, the list really does go on and on. Plus it has the ability to create connections.

When was the last time you had a good laugh? One where your side hurts, you can't breathe and there are tears running down your face (sounds wonderful doesn't it.) I think we'll all feel a bit better when we do. Plus laughter is contagious - pass it on.

"We don't laugh because we are happy - we are happy because we laugh." - William James

Every dollar matters. By supporting ABC Head Start you will give children the skills they need to be successful in their educational journey and support families to transition out of poverty, become healthy and self-reliant. Donate to ABC Head Start today and start making a difference in the lives of children, families and our communities.