Sparklers: Helping tamariki live brighter

Canterbury’s had more than its fair share of challenges over the past six and a half years. The impact has also been felt strongly for many young Cantabrians who have lived through the quakes.

Two primary-school aged boys dressed as pirates with eye-patches and moustaches.The Canterbury DHB’s School-Based Mental Health Team (SBMHT) and the Health Promoting Schools staff from Community and Public Health were often being asked for tools to help schools support the anxiety and mental health issues many students were facing.

So they put their heads together with the All Right? campaign to come up with something that would help schools better support the wellbeing of their students. The result is Sparklers – an online wellbeing toolkit full of activities proven to help young people be calmer and ready to learn.

The 36 activities take between 10 minutes and one hour, and cover topics such as tummy breathing, managing worries and kindness.

Sparklers also includes six parenting guides containing information on how parents can support child wellbeing at home, as well as parenting courses and other support available.

All Right? Manager Sue Turner says Sparklers pulls together wellbeing activities that are simple and easy to implement in the classroom and proven to work.

“The activities help young people discover ways to be calmer, more empathic, and more aware of their emotions. Sparklers helps tamariki build positive mental health and cope with life’s challenges by teaching skills that help them to look after their own wellbeing,” says Sue.

Sparklers has been extensively piloted in Canterbury schools and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Pilot participant and teacher Vicki McKenzie used Sparklers with the 116 tamariki (children) and five kaiako (teachers) in her Pegasus Bay School learning community.

“We loved the activities we tried and will continue to use them next term. I tried the My Amazing Brain activity and the tamariki were really engaged and loved learning about their brain and how they have the power to change it!” says Vicki.

Sue Turner says that Sparklers is relevant to tamariki throughout New Zealand. “We think of Sparklers as a kind of gift to the nation. It’s a really positive thing that’s come out of the greater Christchurch earthquakes, and its benefits will extend far beyond Canterbury,” says Sue.

Find out more about the Sparklers online wellbeing tool.

Sparklers has been made possible thanks to funding from the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Trust and the Canterbury DHB.

Source: Canterbury DHB Well Now (Winter 2017).

Published on Friday, June 16th, 2017, under News
Page last updated: 16/06/2017

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