Children and young people are experiencing an extraordinary period of history. The Ministry of Education recently produced a series of resources, entitled He Ara Hauora, aimed at supporting students in their transition back to school after Covid-19 and time at home learning.
Psychologists at the Ministry of Education have released four booklets for schools to support students at Early Learning Centres, Primary, Intermediate, and Secondary levels. The resources are intended to guide tikanga for schools to move forward with wellbeing, grounded in a shared awareness of the needs of our students.
The Ministry offered funding for schools or Kāhui Ako interested in sharing the resources in He Ara Hauora with their staff and communities. As an ACCoS Across School Leader I was fortunate to attend two training sessions with MInistry of Education psychologists. I created slideshow presentations of the information and resources available from He Ara Hauora for schools that were interested within our Kahui Ako.
The most protective factors identified for emotional wellbeing of children after stressful events are secure and ongoing attachment relationships. Children need support to build self-regulation skills in order to maintain a sense of agency.
The Te whare tapa whā model is a framework for wellbeing that can be used to assess and build protective factors in our classrooms. The model approaches wellbeing with consideration to four dimensions: spiritual, physical, social and emotional. All four dimensions are attended to in the He Ara Hauora resource, with some valuable links to support agencies in our communities.
The He Ara Hauora resource challenges schools to take a phased response to supporting their students, acknowledging that students do not all share the same needs. Although we are all in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. Covid-19 has had a different impact on young people, depending on the risk and support factors surrounding them. Whilst the immediate medical threat has settled, the economic fallout is just starting to be felt for some of our families. Therefore ensuring all students have access to stress reducing activities and that those students who require extra support have their needs identified and attended to is critical.
The most striking message, for me personally, was the central thread running through most of the information offered in He Ara Hauora- to support people through stressful situations we need to look carefully at how to decrease the demands placed on them, and increase the support offered. The challenge lies in identifying those that need support the most and how to support all people in the school community.
The He Ara Hauora resources have been shared with representatives of schools within our Kāhui Ako. Their Leadership Teams will decide how best to unpack the information and recommendations with staff. These resources provide our Kāhui Ako with a shared language and framework for moving forward and supporting our students with their wellbeing.
By November of 2020 our Kāhui Ako will identify the most
valuable aspects of the resource and explain how the information has been shared with students and staff.