Supportive environments: Asking for help
- Mental health
- Physical activity
- Healthy Communities and Environments
- Health promotion
- Relationships With Other People
- Years 5–8
- Years 9–10
Asking for help identifies people and agencies that can provide guidance and support when ākonga are facing relationship problems or conflict, and examines existing school policies that address interpersonal relationship issues for ākonga at school. Ākonga then develop a plan to inform all tamariki at their school about support people and helping agencies.
Possible learning activities
Ākonga anonymously write down difficulties or issues that they, or others, experience within the classroom or school environment and 'post' them in a postbox. The kaiako collates and sorts them, identifying common themes, and if necessary rewords them to protect ākonga’ identities. Ākonga then discuss these issues and categorise them as:
- difficulties that ākonga could solve themselves with the help of the class
- difficulties that ākonga could solve with help from kaiako or other helping agencies.
Ākonga then group together similar problems from the latter category and brainstorm about people or agencies who could help and discuss telephone helplines that are available for anonymous assistance and advice.
- Ākonga could search online for helping agencies and discuss how agencies can help young people. They could also invite members of the wider school community such as the principal or guidance counsellor to join the class to talk about how they can help ākonga.
- Ask ākonga to identify school policies and practices that support ākonga, such as the school charter, a bullying policy, a drug policy, or a peer mediation programme.
- Ākonga can discuss appropriate ways of responding when a friend shares a problem with them in trust, for example, maintaining confidentiality and supporting them to seek help.
- Ākonga can then collaborate to develop an action plan to advertise to the whole school how all ākonga can obtain support for their problems. They could, for example, design a graphic to be displayed on the school website, make a video, make a poster, or present a talk at assembly.
Cultural and diversity considerations
All ākonga are part of wider whānau, hapū, iwi, and other community groups. Culturally capable kaiako and tumuaki know, value and integrate the cultural capital of their ākonga into the work of creating positive classroom communities. Classroom programmes dealing with mental health should be sensitively developed so that they respect and reflect the diverse values and beliefs of ākonga and the whole school community.
In this activity, it may be necessary to discuss with ākonga that some problems can be solved only on a national or international basis and that not all problems can be solved (at least for the present).
Focus inquiry questions around the learning outcomes before and after the activities to support ākonga to reflect and think critically about the activities.