Building Resilience

Building resilience is part of growing up. There are many opportunities during the school day to put this into practise. In our school life students can look for solutions rather than problems. Academic and Physical learning provides times when things are hard or when things  go wrong. Rather than a…

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Kathryn Berkett, a Wellington based neuroscientist, presented to the Wairakei  Primary School staff and to the wider Taupō community about the importance of building resilience in today's young people. “It’s a matter of building up our emotional ability to cope with many mini moments of ‘tolerable stress.” she says. “For children to be resilient they need to improve their ‘red brain’ ability to know what is a life threatening situation and what are usual challenges of life.” (

Learning new skills and practising skills that we don’t feel confident doing, can provide students with opportunities to build resilience. Examples include learning to skip and practising for cross country.

I couldnt skip and I felt embarrassed. Ms Bowler and Mrs Flowers helped me to keep on trying  when I got angry. Now I can skip and I am proud of how far I have come.

At first I didnt want to try to skip  and I  just stood still. Now I can turn the rope and jump over it. I showed POWER by keeping on trying.

As well as building resilience, exercise increases the production of endorphins, otherwise known as the happiness hormone.  These hormones can boost our mood and self esteem. Exercise provides a non academic way to build resilience.

When the students first started running it was very difficult. Before our run we had to warm up the muscles and I explained that we did this to prevent injury. At first some students struggled to touch their toes and to do star jumps and mountain climbers. Now they all participate and their flexibility has increased. They persevered and showed resilience. 

After only a few weeks the improvement in running was plain to see. Students were proud of their increase in laps. They all participated at their own level and showed resilience to keep going. In fact the students' enthusiasm for training accelerated and they were excited to start running.

Within the classroom, I noticed that  students persevered  in academic areas. For example, when a student said,  I cant do this, I said, I cant do this yet. Adding the yet allows students to develop resilience, a can do attitude and self belief. 

When we incorporate multiple opportunities to build resilience both inside and outside the classroom, we help and support students to cope with the many mini moments of tolerable stress, life will throw at them.

2024 Flowers

Suzanne Flowers

My passion is to create a love of learning so my students become ‘lifelong learners’. My focus is the importance of acquiring knowledge so I can keep informed and keep my students up to date with new learning strategies.

I am a local here and enjoy all that Taupō has to offer. I love walking with my husband and dog by the lake or river, having coffee with friends, family gatherings, and gardening. When not in Taupō I enjoy being by the sea at Papamoa.


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