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Laughter is the best medicine: A leavers' assembly

To consider facing new challenges with laughter (SEAL theme 7: Changes).

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider facing new challenges with laughter (SEAL theme 7: Changes).

Preparation and materials


  1. Spend some time celebrating the lives of the pupils who are about to leave the school to begin their secondary school career.

    The pupils can be involved in many ways. For instance, groups of pupils could write verses of poetry to read out at the assembly. Subjects could be:

    –  Memories: ‘When I think of my primary school, I think of . . .’
    –  Successes
    –  Funniest moments
    –  ‘Oops!’ moments.
  2. Consider the many new challenges in the years ahead as children move on to secondary school – new subjects, new teachers, new friends and new buildings. The familiar will have gone. Some things will be easy to adapt to, some things might be strange and a bit daunting.
  3. Show the ‘Loch Ness Monster’s Song’, omitting the title.

    Explain that this is a new language which you hope the children might learn. Ask for suggestions on what language it might be. Ask for volunteers to read a line each.

    Quite a challenge! Other challenges at secondary school might be algebra, woodwork, cutting up frogs in biology, modern languages and even ancient languages such as Latin.

    Now add the title of the above poem. Does this make it less daunting?
  4. Dr Seuss wrote, ‘I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.’

    Laughter does more than that. The Bible says this: ‘A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones’ (Proverbs 17.22).

    Explain that one of the most important things you would like to leave with your pupils is the importance of laughter. It is like a medicine to us and to those around us.

  5. What does it mean to have a broken spirit? It means having a heart and mind that dwell on negative things. It means thinking things such as:

    –  I can’t cope with all this new homework.
    –  Nobody likes me in this new school.
    If we live with our heads hung down, focusing on the negative, we will dry up the bones of others as well as our own!
  6. Mark Twain said, ‘The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.’

    So, when you are feeling a bit low, try laughing. You could even try reading ‘The Loch Ness Monster’s Song’! Now there’s a challenge.

Time for reflection

Spend a few moments thinking about Mark Twain’s words: ‘The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.’

If you made a resolve to go through this day with a cheerful heart, how might this change the day ahead for you?

Dear God,
thank you for joy and laughter.
Thank you that laughter lifts our spirits.
We ask that as we leave one season of our life to enter a new season,
we may face it with confidence, a sense of adventure,
and remember the power of laughter.


Download a version of ‘The laughing policeman’.
‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: July 2012   (Vol.14 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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