We love hearing from schools all across Aotearoa to hear of their amazing mahi, so we’re excited to share how St Martins School in Ōtautahi has taken their Whare Tapa Whā mahi to new heights.

Susie Keenan, a teacher at St Martins School, says the resources Sparklers send out each week have been powerful tools for their teaching of Whare Tapa Whā.

“In the past, we have referred to the 5 Ways to Wellbeing but this year we can't get enough of Te Whare Tapa Whā! It's so fantastic to be connected to resources aligned with the Māori worldview.”

“Sparklers gives us, as teachers, the background knowledge to teach about these dimensions and the engaging activities for tamariki help them become more powerful in nurturing and navigating their own wellbeing.”

Susie says they are using a variety of Sparklers activities to boost their learning about wellbeing.

“We have used your resource "Discover Your Strengths" a few times now to springboard into helping tamariki get to know each other and understand what makes them special.”

“We’ve used the Whare Tapa Whā activity this year to jump into learning about our hauora. We discussed the model being a guide for our personal well-being but also our well-being as a collective - our collaborative spaces are like one big Whare Tapa Whā and as a whanau, we play a part in the Hauora of others.”

St Martins tamariki blew Susie away with their understanding of Whare Tapa Whā.

“It was wonderful to see the conclusions they came to about what Taha Wairua could encompass. They were able to connect our school values and character strengths to this which was really valuable.”

“Some extra learning that led on from our initial focus on Whare Tapa Whā was connecting to our wairua - discussing our turangawaewae as a school and as individuals.”

Susie and her tamariki have added their unique features to the wall display.

“The stars around our model are character strengths we identified we would like to grow in as individuals this year - an aspirational goal!”

“We also made an avatar of ourselves to use in our reflections around our hauora. Tamariki pop their avatar on a dimension of our Whare Tapa Whā they would like to build up and we have some great discussions around how they could do that.”

The Whare Tapa Whā display will stay up for the year as a tool for reflection and their next teachings.

“Over the next few weeks of this term we are exploring Growth Mindset - this connects well to Taha Hinengaro and Taha Wairua. We plan to spend a bit of time learning about our brains and our emotions, and the power of mindfulness.

“I would also really like to build on the concept of Kaitiakitanga and helping our tamariki connect to our wider community/environment. It’s really exciting stuff to be teaching.”

Susie says tamariki have learnt there is so much more to their wellbeing than just eating well and exercising.

“They are beginning to understand there is so much more to their health and wellbeing. Also that having an understanding of well-being is for everyone. That connecting to each part of their hauora, exploring it and growing it makes them super powerful and gives them tools they will need as they grow up (and throughout the rest of their life).”