New toolkit to help schools support student well-being

A new toolkit to help schools support students’ mental well-being has been released. Sparklers is a collection of 36 activities that teachers can access online and use to help students feel calmer, happier and more ready to learn.

The collection is the work of All Right?, an initiative funded by The Mental Health Foundation and the Canterbury District Health Board to aid the psychosocial recovery of those affected by earthquakes. Sparklers, however, is relevant to all primary age children, not just those who have suffered trauma.

All Right? spokesperson, Dr Lucy Hone, says Sparklers will help young people learn the skills they need to build positive mental health.

“Sparklers enables young people to learn strategies that improve well-being and build resilience. The activities are designed to help students feel good and function well, and improve their ability to cope with change and navigate the challenges life throws at them.

“Students with high levels of well-being make better learners, find it easier to focus in the classroom and are able to build stronger and meaningful relationships.”

The activities vary in length between ten minutes and one hour, are aligned with the school curriculum, and cover a wide range of well-being topics including managing emotions, living in the moment, being grateful and showing kindness.

Dr Harith Swadi, Canterbury DHB’s clinical director for Child Adolescent and Family, says Sparklers has been developed in response to requests from schools for more support to meet the well-being needs of Canterbury students post-quake.

“Schools are crying out for more support so they can meet their students’ well-being needs. There’s a tremendous desire amongst schools to do more in the well-being area but up until now there hasn’t been a lot of practical guidance on how to go about it.

“Sparklers pulls together evidence based well-being activities in a way that’s easy to implement in the classroom. The activities are simple, easy, and proven to work.”

“We’ve piloted Sparklers in several Canterbury schools and the response has been amazing.  Schools are incredibly enthusiastic about Sparklers and the activities are making a real difference,” says Dr Swadi.

The launch of Sparklers is supported by six parenting guides which contain information about helping children to stay calm, be grateful and manage worries.

“Raising a resilient and happy child isn’t always easy but there are things parents and carers can do that can make a big difference.  Just like us, tamariki face daily demands and worries. Knowing what these are and the best ways to address them can prevent little things turning into really big things,” says Sue Turner, manager at All Right?

Click here to access Sparklers.

About Anna Clements

Anna Clements is the School News print and digital editor. She has a background in journalism spanning 25 years across newspapers, magazines and television, and spent six years working as an editorial advisor to a group of ECE centres.

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