He hauora te taonga — health is wealth

In 1950 the World Health Organisation (WHO) selected 7 April as World Health Day. Since then, it's been used to draw attention to major world health issues.

Good health/hauora is about complete physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being. Discover resources from Services to Schools and others to support the health and physical education learning area and celebrate World Health Day.

healthy food including fresh fruits in bowls on a table
Black and red cherries on white bowl by Brooke Lark. Unsplash. Licence to use

Health in the New Zealand Curriculum

He oranga ngākau, he pikinga waiora
Positive feelings in your heart will raise your sense of self-worth.

This whakatauki is at the heart of the health and physical education learning area. It embodies hauora — a Māori philosophy of holistic well-being that is also recognised by the World Health Organisation.

World Health Day presents us with an opportunity to focus on vital health issues like:

  • healthy eating
  • healthy living
  • physical well-being
  • mental health
  • access to health care.

Resources for World Health Day

Try these activities that highlight and promote good health and understanding of its importance.

Topic Explorer

Our topic sets present multiple facets and perspectives to inspire students to ask questions and develop their own discovery paths. Resources include images, articles, videos, and links to reliable websites.

Hauora: Mental health and physical well-being — resources to support understanding of mental health issues, support agencies available, and the history of approaches to mental health and well-being in New Zealand.

Healthy living and eating — explore resources about the food pyramid, calories, essential nutrition, junk food, sugary drinks, exercise, and problems caused by lack of sleep and exercise.

Any Questions

Many Answers has a range of topics based around carefully selected websites that help students find answers to their questions.

Health and well-being (hauora) — aimed at primary school students, this topic is based on the four concepts of hauora — the physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs that everyone has.

Lending service

Services to Schools' lending service has a huge range of fiction and non-fiction titles related to health.

Here are some conversation starters for junior classes:

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle, 1999
This book will get your juniors to wave, thump, jump, or stomp the way some animals do and get some exercise in the bargain.

Happy Hat by Cecil Kim, 2014
The life story of a hat who is resilient and finds joy in every adventure that life presents him with.

Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Life by Kimberly and James Dean, 2015
Pete the Cat has quotes from Dalai Lama to Abraham Lincoln about life and feeling good about oneself.

T–Veg: The Story of a Carrot-Crunching Dinosaur by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, 2015
T-Vex, the vegetable eating dinosaur can roar, stomp, gnash his teeth and be a hero just like any other of his dino friends.

The Rechargeables: Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath, 2015
Poppy and Simon discover that the right amount of food, rest, and exercise means they feel happy and healthy.

Mindfulness: The new mantra

Mindfulness is currently a popular health movement that has been adopted by some New Zealand schools.

There are many definitions of mindfulness. This one is from Jon Nhat Hanh, Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center:

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.

Here are some online resources that offer guidelines and activities for introducing mindfulness to children and teens:

  • Mindfulness Education Group — a New Zealand education group has some free PBS (Pause, Breath, Smile) resources for children and young adults.
  • Mindfulness activities for children and teens — 25 fun mindfulness activities on the Positive Psychology Program website.
  • Mindspace — free resources suitable for schools to use to bring mindfulness, meditation, and calm into children’s lives.
  • Smiling Mind — this free app developed by psychologists and educators has short, calming-down sessions for children, teens, and adults dealing with stress or pressure.

Help for kids and teens

New Zealand also has a number of helpline services for children of all ages. These non-profit, government-funded organisations are run by qualified and well-trained professionals. Here are some contacts to call about personal and whānau emotional, mental, or health problems:

  • 1737 — free to text or call anytime to talk with a trained counsellor.
  • Healthline 0800 611 116 — open 24/7 if you need advice for children who are unwell or hurt.
  • Youthline 0800 376 633 — open 24/7 from 10 am to 10 pm. This is a service for any young person or support person who needs help with a difficult or uncomfortable situation.
  • 0800 What's Up 0800 942 8787 — run by Barnardos New Zealand. They offer counselling services for children and teenagers.
  • Kidsline 0800 54 37 54 — open from 4 pm to 9 pm on weekdays. It offers safe, supervised, and confidential counselling support for young people.

By Janice Rodrigues

Janice is a Librarian (Online Services) with Services to Schools.

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