Wellbeing in education

Education plays a critical role in promoting and supporting the wellbeing of children and young people.

This page outlines our commitment, and provides resources for educators, learners, parents and whānau to help support the wellbeing of children and young people.

COVID-19 and wellbeing

The Ministry has a range of resources and information for early learning services and schools, and for families, caregivers and whānau, to help them support children and young people’s wellbeing through the COVID-19 emergency.

COVID-19 and wellbeing – Te Mahau(external link)

New Zealand Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy

The strategy’s vision is for New Zealand to be the best place in the world for children and young people.

The strategy uses six outcomes to describe what wellbeing means for children and young people.

Having access to quality education, health and social services, housing and food, as well as feeling loved, safe and secure within your whānau, family and community are all essential to the wellbeing of every child and young person in Aotearoa.

Healthy Active Learning

New Zealand Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy(external link)

Watch Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern launch the strategy(external link)

Improving pastoral care for domestic tertiary students

The Minister has announced changes to the Education Act to allow the creation of a code of practice for the pastoral care of domestic tertiary students.

Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021

Ka Ora, Ka Ako | healthy school lunches programme

The Government is implementing the Ka Ora, Ka Ako | Healthy School Lunches programme to provide a healthy daily school lunch to primary and intermediate aged students in schools with high levels of disadvantage.

Ka Ora, Ka Ako aims to reduce food insecurity by providing access to a nutritious lunch in school every day. Around a million lunches are provided each week. By March 2022, over 45 million lunches have been delivered in 921 schools to over 211,000 learners, and 62 million lunches will be delivered in around June of this year.

Ka Ora, Ka Ako | healthy school lunch programme

Curriculum Leads – Wellbeing

New Zealanders identified wellbeing as a priority in Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, and COVID-19 further highlighted the importance of supporting happy, healthy and connected learners.

Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation(external link)

A culturally responsive inclusive local curriculum or marau ā-kura that supports the identities, languages, cultures of all ākonga also supports ākonga wellbeing. Wellbeing weaves across all curricula.

We have established new Curriculum Lead positions to provide frontline support to schools, kura, early learning services and ngā kōhanga reo.

Curriculum Leads – Wellbeing

Wellbeing resources – supporting our children and young people

Useful resources and links to further information.

Wellbeing and mental health teaching resource for teachers 

A mental health education and wellbeing resource for teachers has gone out nationwide, to schools whose students are Year 7 and up, including Teen Parent Units, Activity Centres, Alternative Education providers and RTLB Clusters.

'Mental Health Education and Hauora: Teaching interpersonal skills, resilience, and wellbeing' is a practical resource for teaching about mental health, including lesson ideas and activities.

To find out more, here’s Kat Wells, co-author and health teacher from Lynfield College in Tāmaki Makaurau:

Mental Health Education and Hauora

Nau mai, afio mai, welcome!
Kia ora, ko Kat Wells tāku ingoa and I teach at Lynfield College in Tāmaki Makaurau.
We’ve been using this book with our students ‘mental health education and hauora, teaching interpersonal skills, resilience and wellbeing’. We know that young people who are happy, healthy, feel safe and confident in themselves, learn better. However, current research tells us that young people in New Zealand are experiencing unprecedented levels of loneliness and stress.
Schools can’t solve the mental health crisis alone but they do have an important role to play by checking in with students and supporting them through difficult times. As teachers, we can empower and equip young people with the skills and knowledge to navigate through challenges, changes and relationships.
This book can help support you and your school with this work. It’s a resource for teaching about mental health, including lesson ideas and activities, in areas such as hauora, resilience, identity, interpersonal skills, and wellbeing. The feedback I’ve received is that students really valued and enjoyed exploring these concepts.
Schools from Year 7 and up will all receive a hard copy along with two ideas for teaching units, it’s also available online.
Nō reira, kia kaha, mauri ora!

The Ministry of Education has delivered hard copies of the book to schools, working alongside the New Zealand Health Education Association (NZHEA) to provide additional resources supporting its use.

Teachers can download their free version of Mental Health Education and Hauora and supporting resources from NZHEA.

Mental Health Education and Hauora: Teaching interpersonal skills, resilience, and wellbeing(external link)

Resources for early learning services, ngā kōhanga reo, schools and kura

Bullying Free NZ(external link): information, resources and tools to help schools build a safe, bullying-free environment.

Curriculum resources: spotlight on student wellbeing(external link): This spotlight supports teachers to explore and implement effective wellbeing practices for their students. It provides videos, questions, group activities, and opportunities for personal reflection to help teachers grow a culture of wellbeing at their school.

Digital Technology: Safe and responsible use in schools: a guide to support schools in managing the safe and responsible use of digital technology for learning.

Health conditions in education settings: supporting children and young people: Guidelines to help early learning services and schools support learners with health conditions, including tips about drafting health care plans, handling medication and where to go for more information on specific conditions.

Inclusive Education(external link): practical guidance to help New Zealand’s teachers and educational leaders recognise, plan for and meet the learning and wellbeing needs of diverse learners.

Meeting requirements for children’s safety and wellbeing in ECE(external link): ERO report highlighting how early learning services keep up to date with changing regulations and legal requirements to help manage children’s health and safety effectively.

Melon manual(external link): supporting teenagers’ emotional wellbeing. A kete of mental health resources for 13–18-year-olds.  Supported by the Ministry of Health, the website provides downloadable videos and worksheets and shareable social media illustrations that secondary teacher can use.

Preventing and responding to suicide – Resource kit for schools: practical information and guidelines for schools to help them create a positive and safe environment and respond to suicidal behaviours.

The Code (of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights) and your rights – Health and Disability Commissioner(external link): information providing health or disability services to students about their responsibilities under the code.

Supporting children in care guide: a guide to help educators understand and respond to the challenges that children and young people in care may present with because of their possibly traumatic early experiences.

Wellbeing@School(external link): a free survey tool to help schools find out what children and young people think and feel about their school environment.

Wellbeing for success: a resource for schools(external link): produced by ERO to help schools evaluate and improve wellbeing.

More wellbeing resources for early learning

More wellbeing resources for kura and schools

Resources for learners, parents and whānau

Bullying free NZ(external link): information, resources and tools to help support students, parents and whānau affected by bullying, understand what they can do about it and how to help build a safe, bullying free environment.

Caring for International Students – The Code of Practice(external link): the Code describes the minimum standards of advice and care that international students can expect, and provides a complaints procedure if they have concerns about their pastoral care.

Mental Health Foundation(external link): Information on mental health conditions, where to get help and how to promote and support wellbeing.

Oat the Goat – Bullying Free NZ(external link): an interactive, online story book, that children and parents can read together, to help 4–7-year-olds learn about the power of kindness.

Supporting young people with stress, anxiety and/or depression(external link): guidelines produced by the Ministry of Social Development for anyone support a young person and helping them to access mental health advice and support.


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