Kōpaki Waiora Tamaiti o Aotearoa | New Zealand Child Wellbeing Project

Type of content
Theses / Dissertations
Publisher's DOI/URI
Thesis discipline
Product Design
Degree name
Master of Product Design
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Knight, Ashley Rose

The aim of this MProdDesign project was to design an intervention product and/or service that supports childrens’ emotional regulation (ER) learning within primary education in Aotearoa. Aotearoa has cultural and environmental influences that have greatly affected our tamariki (children’s) development. Aotearoa has a history of colonization and ongoing coloniality that has caused inequities in educational and health societies that has impacted behavioural and social norms (Hobbs et al., 2019). These influences have caused wellbeing and mental health deficiencies for tamariki that may inhibit their behavioural, social, and emotional skills as they grow.

Emotional regulation (ER) is the extrinsic and innate processes responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying emotional reactions (Thompson, 1991). Thus, ER is important in aiding a tamaiti (child’s) ability to identify, understand and integrate emotional information while managing behavioural responses (e.g., anger, sadness, distress) to different situations (Adrian, Zeman, & Veits, 2011).

Progressive (and government supported) Modern Learning Environments (MLE) have shifted towards holistic pedagogies. Some holistic teaching approaches promote ER techniques to support the development of behavioural, emotional, and social capacities. One way that MLEs integrate teaching of ER skills is through the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfulness refers to a state of awareness that is focus on one’s present moment experiences, with an attitude of non-judgement. (Shapiro, Carlson, Astin, Freedman, 2006). Mindful awareness is cultivated through formal meditation practices (e.g., focusing on relaxation sounds like heartbeats, breathing patterns) and through formal practices that involve bringing mindful awareness to everyday activities (e.g., showering). Mindfulness has previously been linked to emotional regulation by promoting enhanced attention in the present moment. Mindfulness can improve an individual’s ability to attend to specific aspects of a situation, as well as aspects of their own experience (e.g., mental and/or physical awareness) (Roemer, 2015; Roemer, Williston, Rollins, 2015).

Using a product design-focused codesign framework, this project facilitated research focus groups that directed design decisions and developments from learner and education facilitator insights. As a result, mindfulness-based wearable prototypes were produced and play-tested with young learners and education facilitators over a 5-week period. The qualitative testing data conveyed what functional, aesthetic, sensorial and ergonomic aspects were successful and what were shortcomings for both young learners to use and for education facilitators to deliver within a Modern Learning Environment.

Thematic analyses of the testing data proved that the learner participants maintained consistent engagement with the prototypes over the testing period and found them an effective tool to aid in refocusing their attention to the present moment during their school day and mindfulness lessons. This project opens future opportunities to explore lesson plans and projects that are framed with both learners and their education facilitator teams to grow their familiarity and engagement with their mindfulness journeys together.

Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
ANZSRC fields of research
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