Dear Friend,

Bennett - December 30 009Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were full of friends and family, joy and laughter.

Is there any happier sound in the world than a child’s giggle? Nothing entertains me more than hearing my nine-month-old son, Bennett, let out a good laugh (especially if I’m the reason for it). He’ll often giggle if you blow on his face, tickle under his arms, or when he sees a dog. Playing a little “peek-a-boo”—occasionally hiding a simple object, instead of my face—is always good for a laugh or two.

Of course, “peek-a-boo” helps infants develop “object permanence,” the understanding that something exists even if they can’t see it. If his obsession with our cordless phone is any indication, I’m pretty sure Bennett developed object permanence months ago. If I place the phone on the floor and cover it with a cloth, he looks everywhere for it. However, Bennett hasn’t quite figured out that if he just moved the cloth, he’d find the phone.

More often than not, though, I cover and uncover my face when we play “peek-a-boo.” Bennett never seems to tire of the game and his laughter is infectious. And as long as it keeps him (and me) giggling, I have a hard time stopping. What’s surprising to me about the game is that we’re both laughing, but there isn’t anything jokey or witty about our play. According to scientists like Dr. Robert Provine, laughter isn’t about humor; it’s about relationships between people.

So how do we promote laughter at CMEE? This is a question that staff, trustees, and advisors have discussed as part of our new strategic planning process. Instead of viewing laughter as merely the end result of amusement, we realize that laughter is a vital means for extending play, fostering social bonds, and promoting learning. All of which are essential to CMEE’s mission.

If you have any suggestions about how we can inspire more laughter for families at CMEE, at home, in school…wherever you think it belongs, please let us know! Feel free to share on our Facebook page, send us a tweet, or email me directly. Your voice is important and we want to make sure you are heard.


Steve Long
Executive Director