Laughology’s Happy-centred school
In 2012 Laughology worked with St Matthew’s Primary School, Luton, on a 10-week pilot project, with the aim of helping pupils improve their SATs.
Whilst teachers continued to work with pupils on their academic subjects, Laughology developed and delivered a programme designed to help the children improve their confidence, focus, positivity, and happiness and support each other emotionally during what was a particularly difficult time.
The results made a compelling case for the continued development of a programme to embed happiness, resilience and well-being in the culture and curriculum of the school. All of the Year 6 children participated in the programme and by the end of their time at primary school SAT results were up by 20% on the previous year in both English and Maths. These were by far the best results the school had achieved in recent years. Whilst a strong element of the success was attributable to the efforts and hard work of the teachers, the school’s Head teacher and her colleagues were in no doubt that a major factor of this result was the more positive attitude, greater self-belief, coping skills and desire to do better that the children had developed through the Laughology programme.
Laughology is continuing this initiative and is working toward creating the first ever Happy-centred school in the UK. So what does this mean and can we be happy all the time? Of course not, it’s about balance, resilience and coping mechanisms and choosing the right behaviours that will help you feel better in difficult situations. It is the assumption of many, including the government, that children arrive in school with social skills such as the ability to sit in a classroom with other children and take direction from teachers. It is presumed that they have healthy family lives, where positive relationships and behaviours are modelled. Whilst for some this is the case, it is not the always the norm.
Children can arrive at school with personal and family issues that are barriers to learning. To even start to be able to learn they need the foundations of emotional and social well-being, they need to feel safe and confident enough to be ready to learn.
Whilst there are family centres and social services to help support children and families, the most familiar and influential environment for a child is school. Therefore, in order to get them ready to learn every day and to become young people who are able to continue learning, an investment in their emotional learning needs to take place. This needs to be a continuous process, rather than a one day or one week approach.
Creating a Happy-centred school is about investing in a programme that can be embedded in the school; where teachers and leaders have an enhanced understanding of how to model these behaviours and create a culture and ethos that is about happiness, emotional intelligence and resilience. Once you get this right the pupils will flourish in everyday life and be able to face challenges as they grow up. Subsequently this will help them aspire to achieve and give them self-belief. Further updates on Laughology’s Happy-centred school programme and our partnership with St Matthew’s can be found at the St Matthew' Primary School Website