Creating a Sense of Togetherness through Humour and Laughter in Early Childhood Education


Research on the roles of daycares shows many benefits for children’s social competence. In the Malaysian context, where the number of childcare settings is growing rapidly, early childhood education research remains limited within the field of understanding the complexity of young children’s social competence. This study opens up this under-researched field in Malaysia through three qualitative case studies. Each case study involved video-recorded observations of the children’s interactions with peers. The aim of the study was to examine how children create a sense of togetherness and exercise social competence among themselves at their daycare centres. The observations of children’s peer interactions revealed complex negotiations by the children who were actively creating a sense of togetherness at their daycare centres through humour and laughter. In the process of these interactions, children exercised the skills of becoming socially competent participants in their centre. Considering my data from the perspective of Loizou’s (2005) the Theory of the Absurd, I was able to classify instances of humour and laughter around two very similar themes – incongruous use of objects; and making funny sounds. My findings provide a picture of how these humorous acts not only created amusement and joy in children but also constructed a sense of togetherness. Additionally, the children were able to exercise their social competence through these humorous events. This has implications for understanding the roles of daycare to children’s peer interactions and social competence as well as how caregivers can enhance children’s learning to make a social difference.


Social Competence, Togetherness, Humour and Laughter, Role of Daycare, Learning


Early Childhood Learning


Poster/Exhibit Session


  • Farhana Wan Yunus
    • Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia Malaysia
    • I am a lecturer from the Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA, in Malaysia. I am also a PhD student at Victoria University of Wellington. I am in my final year and is due to submit my complete thesis in January 2019.