The Creation of Sparklers

Sparklers developed in response to the impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes on rangatahi

Conversations about supporting children and young people’s mental wellbeing started late in 2014. The School Based Mental Health Team, the Health Promoting Schools Team at Community, and Public Health (both from different parts of the Canterbury District Health Board), the Mental Health Foundation and counsellors at Hillmorton High School were keen to develop a resource for teachers and other professionals working in schools to support children.

The Sparklers development group was committed to working in a strengths and evidence-based way at a population level.

It was really important to create an accessible resource for all children, rather than just for more ‘difficult’ children. Research shows that all children can benefit from learning early about managing wellbeing, emotions, and relationships.

Initially, it was thought the Sparklers resource could be developed similar to the Tiny Adventures packs (now an app), as simple ideas for parent and child play times.

Sparklers began to develop differently and emerged as a digital classroom toolkit of wellbeing activities aligned with the New Zealand education curriculum for year 1-8 students and to Te Whāriki.

Sparklers was launched on 20th June 2017 at Kaiapoi Borough Primary School and quickly took off with kaiako around the motu. In the 6 weeks following the launch, there were over 10,000 Sparklers page views on the All Right? website, with widespread interest from teachers.

User comments are regularly integrated into the activities to improve their interface and usability. Sparklers continues to be actively developed and a full evaluation with schools is planned for late 2017.

Sparklers was born to help tamariki live brighter! We hope you agree.

Ngā mihi to the many kind people who contributed to the development of Sparklers.

  • Kaiako who enthusiastically answered our questions and engaged.
  • Shout out to Kaiapoi Borough Primary, Te Kōmanawa Rowley School, Torbay School, Riccarton Primary, St Albans Primary, Breens Intermediate, and Lyttelton Kidsfirst Kindergarten for allowing us to collaborate by testing out resources and capturing videos/photos.
  • Our amazing kaiako, health promoters, educators, and school adjacent Sparklers Advisory Rōpū members.
  • The legends who contributed to the mahi of Sparklers in the background.
  • All of you, Sparklers Champions that promote the mahi and provide testimonials and feedback.