Wellbeing in schools and early learning services

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.

Level of compliance

Main audience




  • Boards
  • Principals and tumuaki
  • All Early Learning Services
  • Educators, teachers and kaiako
  • Parents, caregivers and whānau

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 6 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.

New Zealand Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy(external link)

Watch Minister Tinetti share her vision for the strategy(external link)

Healthy active learning

Healthy active learning is an initiative in the Strategy that supports schools, kura and early learning services to improve child and youth wellbeing through healthy eating and quality physical activity.

Healthy active learning – Te Whatu Ora(external link)

Improving pastoral care for domestic tertiary students

In 2022, the Education Act was changed 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

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.

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)

Resources that support our children and young people

Useful resources and links to further information.

Resources for teaching wellbeing and mental health

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:

Kat Wells: 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!

In 2021 we delivered hard copies of the book to schools and worked alongside the NZ 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 – NZHEA(external link)

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

Bullying Free NZ has information, resources and tools to help schools build a safe, bullying-free environment.

Prevent bullying in Aotearoa – Bullying Free NZ(external link)

The student wellbeing spotlight page on TKI 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.

Student wellbeing spotlight  TKI(external link)

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

Digital technology: Safe and responsible use in schools

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

Health conditions in education settings: supporting children and young people

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

Inclusive Education(external link)

'Meeting requirements for children’s safety and wellbeing in ECE' is an Education Review Office (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.

Meeting requirements for children’s safety and wellbeing in ECE – ERO(external link)

Melon is an app supported by the Ministry of Health that provides a safe space for people to connect with and support other New Zealanders to uplift their emotional wellbeing.

Melon – Mental health Foundation(external link)

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

Preventing and responding to suicide: Resource kit for schools [PDF, 10 MB]

The Health and Disability Commissioner's website has information providing health or disability services to students about their responsibilities under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.

The Code and your rights – Health and Disability Commissioner(external link)

'Supporting children in care guide' is 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.

Supporting children in care guide

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

Wellbeing@School(external link)

'Wellbeing for success: A resource for schools' was produced by ERO to help schools evaluate and improve wellbeing.

Wellbeing for success: a resource for schools(external link)

Resources for learners, parents and whānau

Bullying Free NZ has 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.

Prevent bullying in Aotearoa – Bullying Free NZ(external link)

Oat the Goat is an interactive, online story book, that children and parents can read together, to help 4–7-year-olds learn about the power of kindness.

Oat the Goat – Bullying Free NZ(external link)

The Tertiary and International Learners Code of Practice 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.

The Tertiary and International Learners Code of Practice – NZQA(external link)

The Mental Health Foundation has information on mental health conditions, where to get help and how to promote and support wellbeing.

Find support  Mental Health Foundation(external link)

The 'supporting young people with stress, anxiety and/or depression' guidelines were produced by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) for anyone support a young person and helping them to access mental health advice and support.

Supporting young people with stress, anxiety and/or depression – MSD(external link)

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