Paraparaumu Beach School Wellbeing Journey 

2 April 2024

Paraparaumu Beach School Wellbeing Journey 

Staff wellbeing is important in all organisations, and for Paraparaumu Beach School this has been an area they have wanted to elevate and focus on this year. 

The school’s Board had been conducting a staff wellbeing survey bi-annually for a few years, but due to recent challenges such as the pandemic and increased numbers of students with complex needs, they felt a greater emphasis in this area was needed. The Board and senior management now do an annual check in survey with staff around their wellbeing and look at what they can do to support their staff, based on the results.  

The most recent survey was conducted at the end of 2023. Both the Board and Senior Leadership Team have gone through the results and looked to implement initiatives to help boost staff wellbeing. 

One objective to come out of the survey was to start the year on a positive note, using a teacher only day to facilitate whanaungatanga and team building activities. For the whanaungatanga activity, senior leadership ran a session where each staff member used the Te Whare Tapa Whā model to share photos or images of something that represents how they support their wellbeing under each of the four walls. Sarah Chambers, Deputy Principal said, “This was really powerful and valuable to us as a collective, because we gained insight into what’s on top for our team and what challenges they might be facing in their personal lives. It was a safe space to share, and we now have a better understanding on how we can better support each other and who might need additional check-ins.” 

For the team building aspect, Sarah utilised some of our Healthy Active Learning team to facilitate a session that involved activities including a hauora minefield, an amazing race and wellbeing goal setting. The staff really enjoyed this session and came away with some ideas on how they can continue to support their personal wellbeing. 

Another key area that staff identified was clear communication and work-life balance. One immediate action has been to implement communication boundaries, with work emails only to be sent between 8am-6pm. This applies to both internal emails and external communications, so the school community has also been informed. In exceptional circumstances when work might be done outside of normal hours, staff are encouraged to schedule emails to go out within those time boundaries. Other initiatives include one-on-one chats with the Principal, ensuring that their school Messenger group is for informal communication, whilst formal messaging goes out through emails to ensure those staff not on social media do not miss out on important communications. 

Other wellbeing initiatives include: 

  • Appreciation Jar - staff pop notes in the jar if they want to acknowledge someone for their contribution. Every fortnight on a Friday, names are drawn out and celebrated. 
  • An active social club - staff volunteered if they wanted to be on the organising team and they have a starting budget to kick start events. 
  • Staff morning teas. 
  • Professional Learning Groups to support each other. 
  • The local Kāhui Ako - Has a mindfulness and regulation focus and has provided workshops that all staff and whānau can attend. 
  • Encouraging more collaborative planning. 
  • Regularly checking in with staff.  

Sarah says, “Supporting staff wellbeing is essential for maintaining a positive school culture and enabling our tamariki to thrive. At Paraparaumu Beach School we understand that it is a whole team effort.” 

It has been wonderful to hear about all the amazing work the school is doing in this space and we encourage other schools to put more of a focus on staff wellbeing as well.