Tamariki turbo-charged for learning
Racing from one end of the hall to the other, a group of tamariki let off steam while laughter echoes round the room. These students from Te Kura o Wairua (Somerset School) in Palmerston North are taking part in the THINK Hauora Wellness Academy, a pilot initiative run by Pasifika health co-ordinator Pele Aumua. “This is not classroom-based learning,” Aumua says. “We play games, talk about kai and the impact it can have on how we feel, talk about what we’re grateful for and what goals we want to set ourselves for the future.” The programme is based on the Te Whare Tapa Wha¯ framework, a model that incorporates physical, spiritual/cultural, mental and wha¯ nau aspects of wellbeing. It includes elements of Pasifika and Ma¯ ori culture and values to help tamariki understand more about health and wellbeing. Aumua includes activities that help the students learn about meditation and breathing techniques, rest and recovery, gratitude, selfawareness and strong family values. “I believe building the capacity for leadership and ensuring these students have the right tools to continue growing as good people is the key to creating brighter and better futures,” Aumua says. Tamariki benefit by learning in a way they can relate to. Sometimes it could be a game of touch rugby, where teamwork, agility and purpose are crucial skills to master. Other times, the group may enjoy karakia or explore the role of mentors and traditions. Te Kura o Wairua principal Teena Johnson says the programme has had a huge impact. “The biggest changes have been around the students’ ability to adopt new learning to the point where they can support each other and lead. Now the students know the expectations and the values that encompass the programme and are able to showcase the skills and strategies they have been taught during their time with Pele.” The Wellness Academy is just one way tamariki in our rohe are learning more about wellbeing. THINK Hauora has teamed up with Manawatu¯ Rugby to develop videos and materials that help kids think about their wellbeing in terms of “how I feel”, “how I move” and “how I fuel my body”. Kids can see how the Turbos practise mindful box-breathing, do some warm-up activities with friends, or even create a turbo-charged breakfast. Back at Te Kura o Wairua, the students are warming up for their latest session, proudly wearing their group T-shirts. Johnson says the most rewarding part is seeing them adopting and applying the learning. “Some students have even taken the next step and joined other initiatives like the Mauri Sports programme. The students are comfortable in their own skin and having a voice has encouraged their growth and improvement in their behaviour because they can talk about it and see it for what was.” Go to thinkhauora.nz/ wellbeing-for-kids for a downloadable action plan and access to the Turbo-Charged Wellbeing for Kids videos.