3 min read

Mitey: Putting emotional wellbeing first

At Springboard Trust, we understand that leadership is one of many levers for positive change in the lives of our tamariki – and many of our friends are doing vital work in other spaces with the same goal.

One such organisation is Mitey – an initiative from the Sir John Kirwan Foundation dedicated to building strong mental health education for children in years one to eight. Last year, they undertook an evaluation of their work so far, with some “mighty” impressive results!

What Mitey does for schools in Aotearoa

Mitey works with schools so that schools can deliver age-appropriate understanding, knowledge and skills for young people to nurture their own emotional wellbeing (as well as that of others). Their work, aligned to the NZ Curriculum, adopts a whole school approach that encompasses teaching, whānau and community, staff wellbeing and governance – not unlike the whole-school approach to leadership in Springboard Trust’s programmes.

Mitey provides coaching, resources, ongoing support, and helps schools develop both a mental health action plan and a deeper understanding of their strengths and needs regarding childrens’ mental and emotional wellbeing. As Nikki Flexman (Head of Growth at Mitey) notes, their raison d'etre is simple:

"I’m pretty sure everyone in NZ agrees we need to turn our mental health statistics around. Mitey is our response to that problem, and we believe it can lead the change we need."

Making an impact for our tamariki

Mitey’s interim evaluation has shown impacts for students, teachers and whole schools after just four months. Their content and tools are rapidly embeded into school curricula and confidently delivered by schools, and their Framework of Learning has proven adaptable to varied school environments.

Notably, their Wellbeing Review Tool has put the power and direction of a school’s emotional and mental wellbeing journey firmly in the hands of those undertaking it – the students and teachers.

"One of the great things about Mitey is that our coaches, work alongside each school to provide professional development for teachers in a way that works for them. We approach this in a variety of ways, whether it’s working with them in the classroom, co-teaching – or helping them identify the next steps in the learning process for their tamariki."

The evaluation indicates that much of the Mitey’s success across such diverse environments is down to the expert coaches who walk teachers through the learning.

Being ex-teaching staff themselves, their understanding of classroom environments and dynamics enabled a successful imparting of knowledge, care and understanding around how to successfully deliver mental health education - which Nikki notes has positive effects for school staff.

"Our coaches are senior teachers, they understand the pressure of the classroom and the pressure of delivering on an already crowded curriculum. They know what effective professional development looks like and how to deliver it so that teachers don’t feel like their workload is increasing."

This is an interim evaluation, but one with incredibly promising results. You can read more here, including a case study, or get in touch with them to find out more.

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