When Terra is no longer Firma: Enabling wellbeing by helping children to be reflective, relational and resilient learners
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis focuses attention on the ongoing effects of the earthquakes on children in Christchurch. It identifies the learning and behavioural difficulties evident in an increasing number of students and cautions the use of the word 'resilient' to describe children who may be just managing. This assumption has a significant impact on the wellbeing of many Christchurch children who, disaster literature warns, are likely to be under-served. This thesis suggests that, because of the scale of need, schools are the best place to introduce practices that will foster wellbeing.
Mindfulness practices are identified as a potential tool for ameliorating the vulnerabilities experienced by children, while at the same time working to increase their capabilities. This thesis argues that, through mindful practices, children can learn to be more reflective of their emotions and respond in more considered ways to different situations. They can become more relational, having a greater understanding of others through a deeper understanding of themselves, and they can build resilience by developing the protective factors that promote more adaptive functioning.
This thesis identifies the strong links between mindfulness and the holistic wellbeing concept of Te Whare Tapa Whã and a Mãori worldview. Strong links are also identified with the vision, values and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum and 21st Century learners.
Both short and long term recommendations are made for the introduction of mindfulness practices in schools to enhance the wellbeing of children.