An exciting new initiative focussed on enhancing physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is being trialled in 17 Hamilton schools.
Taakaro-ora - Active Wellbeing is a customised version of Sport New Zealand’s Play.sport programme which aims to improve the quality of physical education and activity, sport and play experiences at schools.
Play.sport has been trialled at 45 primary and intermediate schools in Auckland and Wellington with the Waikato chosen as a recent addition for a three-year expansion pilot.
Sport Waikato’s Taakaro-ora - Active Wellbeing Manager, Claire Rusk says they wanted to widen the scope for Waikato’s version of the programme to ensure a holistic approach.
“We wanted to address all the dimensions of wellbeing equally. It’s not just about playing sport or being physically active. We have an opportunity here to work with schools and their communities to support mental/emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing too,” she says.
Schools taking part in the programme get expert support from Sport Waikato staff, access to best practices and support networks, fresh ideas for improving wellbeing and support for integrating the initiative into the school curriculum.
“The beauty of the programme is that it’s contextualised to the specific needs of the school,” says Claire.
“Sport Waikato staff will soon be visiting schools and will work with them to come up with an individualised plan tailored to their students.”
Fairfield College principal Richard Crawford says the programme’s focus on mental and emotional wellbeing is what appeals.
“We want to help students and their whaanau be more resilient, and for that to happen, we need our teachers to be able to access the best practices...," he says.
Taakaro-ora – which represents ‘healthy tamariki who live well and grow through play’ – will complement Sport Waikato’s highly successful Project Energize initiative. Project Energize focuses on improving children’s physical activity, nutrition and overall health.
“Ministry of Health statistics show a significant improvement in child obesity in the Waikato over recent years and Project Energize has played a big role in that. We’re excited to see how Taakaro-ora - Active Wellbeing will work alongside this to improve resilience and overall wellbeing,” says Claire.