Teacher Ambie Govender, who leads wellbeing at the school, says that after the pandemic, tamariki were more anxious and less resilient in class.
She set about researching what she could do to support tamariki and discovered The Resilience Programme (TRP).
Hugh van Cuylenburg developed TRP after a teaching trip to Nepal where he observed that the poorest children were often the happiest. While the children had very few material assets, they were rich when it came to possessing the qualities of gratitude, empathy and mindfulness in everything they did.
Macleans Primary School implemented the programme at the start of the year and it has already led to a shift in awareness.
“We're noticing that children are more mindful and are using the emotional literacy that underpins gratitude, empathy and mindfulness."
One of the teachers overheard a boy saying to a classmate that he should have more empathy, something Ambie says you wouldn’t expect a year 1 or 2 student to say.
Ambie says that the school curriculum emphasises academic achievement, sports and the arts, but with the introduction of TRP, there is a more holistic and balanced approach.
“Teaching emotional literacy to children helps them articulate their feelings better, and they cope with their daily challenges in a more informed way.”
Sparklers and Te Whare Tapa Whā
Ambie says Sparklers is also an important part of the school's approach to wellbeing.
“What Sparklers sends out each week is very relevant to what is happening currently, so teachers can tap into the resources and use it in the classroom.”
She says students have enjoyed Te Whare Tapa Whā and mindfulness activities.
"It's wonderful that Sparklers is a free resource, and because it’s a platform where teachers share ideas, everyone benefits.”
Long term benefits
Ambie hopes that, over time, a focus on mindfulness and resilience will become embedded from year one up to year six, impacting the culture of the school in a positive way.
“It's something that will help the children, parents and the teachers because it's strengthening key life skills.”
“We hope that they will practice this within their families and implement change in the school community!”