Free wellbeing resource boosting mental health in schools
From innovative trust games to traditional Maori breathing and mindfulness sequences, new online resources for schools are helping to boost confidence and happiness in children.
The All Right? wellbeing campaign has launched an extended Sparklers wellbeing toolkit for teachers of year one to eight students.
The free Sparklers online toolkit is full of fun activities that support the mental health and wellbeing of primary and intermediate school-aged children. It has been developed by All Right?, a joint initiative between Canterbury DHB and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.
The initiative emerged from Canterbury’s earthquakes but was now being used by educators right across the country.
All Right? manager Sue Turner said 20 new activities had been added to the toolkit, which brought the total to over 50.
“Sparklers is making a big difference in New Zealand schools. The activities are helping tamariki develop the skills they need to manage worries, feel good, and cope with life’s challenges.”
“Following requests from schools we’ve added 20 new Sparklers activities, including ten activities specific to year 7 and 8 tamariki which focus on topics such as working together, building friendships and understanding and regulating big emotions,” says Sue.
Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said Sparklers was a game-changer for Kiwi kids.
“Sparklers is a clever resource that engages children and encourages them to think about their own wellbeing - and that of others. It gives tamariki the tools they need to build good mental health.”
“All children will benefit from these activities.”
Breens Intermediate in Christchurch were involved on the development of the new Year 7 and 8 activities.
Breens Intermediate teacher Stephanie Pole said the school introduced Sparklers' activities as part of their Breens' Values and Wellbeing programme to assist students showing anxiety and low self-esteem.
“Since the beginning, there has been a noticeable change for many of our Breens' whānau. The fun activities help boost the confidence and happiness of the students, allowing them to engage in positive learning, behaviours and friendships both in the classroom and beyond."
A just released evaluation of Sparklers has shown the activities are helping normalise wellbeing in schools, and building the social and emotional literacy of students.
Sparklers has been made possible thanks to funding from the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Trust and Canterbury District Health Board and support from the Canterbury DHB’s Community and Public Health and School Based Mental Health Team.