SPARKLERS / Strengths


Celebrating our strengths and being unique.
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki understand what makes us unique and our own personal strengths.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

Many tamariki see their differences as a negative thing and this can affect how they see themselves and their self esteem.

This activity helps our tamariki find pride in what makes them unique by reframing their differences as strengths.

Read or watch: I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont.

  • What is the story trying to tell us? That it’s good to be unique and like the things that make us different.
  • Why is it important to like ourselves? We feel happier and braver; we can think and do things no-one else can.
  • What would the world be like if we were all the same? Not nearly as interesting! Plus, we all have different strengths, so we can combine our skills with others’ to be even stronger together.

Mention that sometimes we think things about ourselves that aren’t actually true. E.g. That we’re not good at sport, or we’re not smart.

But we might have hidden strengths we haven’t even discovered yet, and can only discover by trying things, again and again, until we get the hang of them.

The most important thing is to be happy with the strengths we have and open to the ones we might not have found yet.

Hei mahi - What to do

If you suspect some tamariki might struggle to identify their strengths (or feel uncomfortable doing so), complete our Compliment poster activity, so they can draw on this for ideas.

Explain that these compliments are super powers others have noticed, and that being humble or modest, is a strength in itself.

Whether using the poster or not, ask your tamariki to write down:

  • some things they are good at
  • some things other people have praised them for
  • some things they do to make people feel good
  • some of their invisible super powers that we might not necessarily see from the outside.

Then have students draw or paste a picture of themselves in the middle of a piece of paper. They may like to add their name and some superhero elements, like a mask or cape.

Finally, ask them to write or draw 2-10 of their best qualities, strengths or super powers around the picture.

You could:

  • Have them complete these in an exercise book – and encourage them to add to the picture each time they think of something new; OR
  • Have them create a poster to either showcase on your class superpower wall, or take home to share with their whānau.

Another idea - create a web of compliments

Instead of writing the strengths, qualities and super powers down, ask tamariki to sit in a circle and give one student a ball of wool. They hold the end of the string and roll or pass the ball to a peer that they'd like to compliment, they do this, and the game continues to create a web of compliments.

What next?

We love the work being done by teachers to encourage more positive interactions and feedback between students. These are some examples we've found along the way:

With younger tamariki

Watch What I Am by (Black-Eyed Peas) with Sesame Street. This could be a song you learn and perform.

With older tamariki

Challenge students to choose something they’d like to get better at and give them a timeframe to try it (i.e. one week to learn a magic trick, learn to juggle, try a recipe, etc). When everyone shares how they got on, reinforce that whether they’ve mastered the skill yet or not, it’s the trying that counts.

Check out the Sparklers at home activity Discover Your Strengths and the wonderful guide How to help your kids with differences

Looking after you

Foster the hauora of your kaiako and team

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