Healthy Humour

The high prevalence worldwide of depression among young people … argue that the skills for happiness should be taught in school. There is substantial evidence that skills that increase resilience, positive emotion, engagement, and meaning can be taught to children. – Martin Seligman

The ability to recognize and produce humour are skills that are increasingly more important in our society as they require intelligence, social awareness, and communication. Programs such as [this] that foster these skills directly, can have profound benefits for the students involved. These include increased learning, self-esteem, problem-solving, interpersonal relationships, resilience, and an overall improved quality of life.  [This] project is especially innovative and has the potential to be a life changing experience. –Dr. Brian King, author of The Laughing Cure

 Our focus is always on healthy humour which involves laughing WITH people and genuinely enjoying their company.  It also lets us have a good healthy laugh at ourselves from time to time.  Unfortunately, what we too often experience is hurtful, unhealthy humour such as bullies use as put-downs, or sarcastic humour where the laughter is directed AT people instead of WITH them. 

 Our Four Key Objectives 

  • Our programming engages participants in conversations about well-being through a performing-arts forum 

Well-being is a combination of four aspects of health: social, emotional, mental and physical.

  • Our programming develops healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and anxiety while promoting kindness and inclusion

Reinforcing and developing skills around kindness, inclusion, and respect has never been more important in this challenging global world.  Social media enables connectivity around the globe where we are exposed, more than ever, to different ways of living and thinking. “Respect for self and others” is an attitude that needs to be developed and practiced.  Teachers confirm that young people often find life stressful.  Bullying and cyber bullying, peer pressure, uncertain job markets, access to more information than ever before in history, confusion around paths to success, and many other issues result in student anxiety and an increased need for effective stress management.   Keeping issues in perspective and being able to laugh at oneself and situations are important life skills.

  • Our programming builds the specific character strengths of humour, bravery and confidence, gratitude, forgiveness and creativity through personal storytelling and healthy humour (Visit www.viacharacter.org for an explanation of all 24 character strengths)

A parent of a girl in our 2019 summer FunCamp program put it this way, “The open communication strengthened my daughter’s confidence and being able to express herself and how she feels about herself. Having others laugh with her brought joy to her natural self.” (Bethany Nurse)

  • Our programming develops written and oral literacy skills in a fun environment

Let’s have FUN – and learn at the same time!  This programming aligns with the curriculum and enables the development of language and communications skills in an engaging format that students and teachers love!  They write about and perform their own life experiences.

 

Teachers appreciate the opportunity to inject fun into learning and confirm that the development of transferrable life skills such as problem solving, collaboration and public speaking is highly valuable and that our program enhances social skills which reduces conflicts among students.  

“In our 21st century world,  media, particularly social media, guarantee that today’s children are bombarded with serious and even frightening issues they need help navigating. Bullying, gangs and even terrorism were unimaginable for most of today’s adults when they were young. Yet, most of us who deal with kids on a regular basis tend to focus on these matters to the exclusion of things that make life lighter and provide balance.” – Sue Stephenson, author, Kidding Around: connecting kids to happiness, laughter and humour

Up to 70 percent of mental health problems begin in childhood or adolescence. As many as one in five people in Ontario between the ages of four and 16 experience some form of mental health problem at any given time, yet fewer than one in six children and youth receive the specialized treatment services they require. – Child and Mental Health and Addictions in Ontario, MHASEF – ICES 2015