Sparklers activities align with school’s drive for kindness

‘Kindness is free. Sprinkle it everywhere.’

That was the message being shared at Chisnallwood Intermediate in the lead up to Pink Shirt Day.

On Friday 17 May 2019, school uniforms were swapped out in favour of pink tutus, scarves and LED-emblazoned hoodies.

It marked the school’s third year participating in Pink Shirt Day, as part of the national movement encouraging schools to make a stand against bullying.

In teacher Anna Duncan’s classroom of year seven pupils, Pink Shirt Day was used as a platform to complete one of the new Sparkler’s activities. 

Ahead of Pink Shirt Day, Sparklers released six new activities focused on kindness and friendship.

Anna took her students through the Empathy Effect. This activity helps tamariki to understand the interconnectedness of our communities, and through this, the power that our actions (both good and bad) can hold.

Students Zoe Croot (11), Holly Neale (11) and Corbyn McClurg (12) said they really enjoyed the activity.

“There are different sides to the story and everyone is supporting the person in the story,” said Zoe.

Corbyn said it got him thinking about the big impact bullying had on people.

“It’s important to do because if it ever happens to you, it makes you feel safe that everyone has their opinions and you know what everyone’s opinions are, so you can talk to them because you know how they’re going to treat you,” he said.

Anna has been incorporating Sparklers activities into classroom work throughout the year, with the Compliment Posters activity proving popular.

“Everyone said something nice about you. As much as people might not show that they like you, there is something that they do,” said Holly.

“You feel safe to say things,” said Corbyn.

“The other activities are really good because you always know someone is there for you,” said Zoe.

Teacher Emma Smith says Sparkler's activities have been really beneficial to the health and wellbeing of students.

She has been encouraging the use of them across the school.

“I think there is a really authentic foundation to them. They’ve been well thought out. They’re incredibly genuine and they’ve had that thought put into them around ‘what do we want to achieve’ and ‘what do we want the outcome to be'. That sets them aside from other activity books on wellbeing.”

Emma had also taken her class through the Compliment Posters activity.

She said she discovered that not all students felt comfortable openly complimenting others, but were able to do so when done anonymously.

“I had 100 per cent feedback come back, from “nice” to "it filled me with joy". So I knew that activity had made a difference.”

Emma said the newly-released Pink Shirt Day Sparklers activities complemented their school-wide initiative promoting kindness throughout the week, as well as those done alongside Kāhui Ako ki Ōtākaro members.

She completed the Culture of Kindness activity with her class. In this activity, students take home a worksheet and interview a whānau member about their own experiences of school, and what their hopes are for their child’s experience of school and education.

“Essentially, whānau want their children to be treated with respect and them to treat others with respect. This really aligned with what we wanted to achieve through Pink Shirt Day/Kindness Week, encouraging students to stand up when they saw any behaviour that wasn’t very nice.”

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“Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!”