Sparklers offers nearly 100 strength-based activities for you to share with your tamariki, as you design your health education learning programme. These activities help tamariki gain the knowledge, tools and confidence they need to tune into their hauora and wellbeing to look after themselves and others.

Sparklers is all about helping our tamariki to be their best and embrace the things that make them unique. It is built on the philosophy that all tamariki are awesome and can live brightest when they’re feeling good.

New Zealand Curriculum links

Sparklers is designed for Years 1 to 8, although we love hearing from teachers and kaiako who are adapting the activities for high school use, too!

The activities are aligned with the New Zealand Curriculum (2007) and Mental Health Education: A guide for teachers, leaders, and school boards, years 1–13 (Ministry of Education 2022) and those who work alongside tamariki.

Each activity is explicitly linked to the NZC by strand (see pp. 59-63):

  • Ko au – personal health and physical development
  • Ko tōku tinana kori i te ao – movement concepts and motor skills
  • Ko aku hoa – relationships with other people
  • Ko tōku ao – healthy communities and environments

Aligned to the five key competencies of the NZC (see p.18):

  • Thinking
  • Relating to others
  • Using language, symbols, and texts
  • Managing self
  • Participating and contributing

Supported by the underlying concepts of the Mental Health Education guide:

  • Hauora (see also p.18)
  • Socio-ecological perspective
  • Health Promotion
  • Attitudes and Values.

Sparklers is based on the holistic understanding of hauora as described by Sir Mason Durie’s Te Whare Tapa Whā model. Activities support tamariki to look after all aspects of their wellbeing: taha tinana (physical), taha hinengaro (mental health and emotions), taha wairua (spiritual), taha whānau (social) – while also exploring the intrinsic connections between the whenua (land) and hauora.

** NEW ** Te Whāriki alignment

For the wonderful kaiako out there who teach under 5 year olds, we have now aligned the Early Childhood Education friendly Sparklers activities to Te Whāriki. You can use the filters to find what best suits the needs of your tamariki and learning environment.

Te Whāriki acts as a guide that is weaved into the culture of the centre in collaboration with tamariki and whānau. You can incorporate your learning environment's goals and aspirations. We acknowledge that the use of Te Whāriki may look different for each of you and encourage you to adapt these activities to suit.

ECE aligned activities have been mapped using the Principles, Strands, and Goals of Te Whāriki - Early Childhoood Curriculum. Activities are designed to be flexible and recognise the needs, interests, and learning dispositions of your classroom. These suggested activities support and guide sound foundations for life long learning pathways.

Learning approaches and topics

You can include Sparklers activities across a wide range of health and wellbeing learning contexts and the learning outcomes identified with each activity reflect the key learning for NZC Levels 1-4 (see Mental Health Education guide, pp. 59-63).

Sparklers activities are designed with you and your tamariki in mind!

✨ There's heaps of variety and flexibility.

✨ Activities vary in length from 10-minute focusing sessions to a ‘happy hour’ where tamariki can engage in deeper learning.

✨ Everything from quiet, reflective learning experiences to active, collaborative and participatory ones.

✨ Many of the activity titles provide an indication of the learning approach used.

To find out more about locating activities and tailoring Sparklers to meet the needs of your tamariki, check out: How to use Sparklers.

A whole school approach to wellbeing

Sparklers is designed to support the physical, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing of tamariki, as part of a whole school approach to promoting hauora (see Mental Health Education guide, pp. 28-31). There’s heaps of literature on building a whole school approach and we share some awesome case studies and info, here.

Activities are also based on Five Ways To Wellbeing – simple, evidence-based actions that research shows can strengthen the mental health and wellbeing of people, of all ages, supporting the curriculum’s objectives for lifelong learning.

Our Code Our Standards requires teachers to work in learners’ best interests ‘by promoting the wellbeing of learners and protecting them from harm’ and this practice also contributes to a whole school approach for the promotion of tamariki wellbeing.

And hopefully, it goes without saying that how you’re doing really matters, too! The school day can be super busy. If you sometimes find it hard to make time for your own wellbeing, you may like to check out Something for You wellbeing tips and Wellbeing Journal, which you can use on your own or with your wider team – giving your colleagues a boost too!

In good news, using Sparklers can benefit your hauora too! Research shows that teaching about wellbeing tends to have a positive impact on kaiako and teacher wellbeing, too!

For tips on finding activities and tailoring Sparklers to meet the needs of your tamariki, check out: How to use Sparklers.