My work is for schools and students who want develop leaders with stability, compassion and hope for their future. This requires self worth and belonging. It starts with knowing your values and strengths, and understanding emotions and energy; belonging to yourself first and having a toolkit for what I call ‘stability before agility’. In many cases practices to intentionally foster this type of authentic, courageous, leadership are not taught in schools—or in homes. The clients I work with are some of the exceptions. This is Pinehurst School’s story.
What they asked for:
Pinehurst School has a vision of Global Citizenship constructed around the concepts of belonging, significance, and freedom to lead and express oneself authentically. One of the challenges to growing future leaders is the intrinsic conditioning and beliefs, and the ability of young people to regulate their emotions. Pinehurst School identified a cohort of students for whom these needs appeared strongest, and I designed and delivered a programme for this.
What I facilitated:
- Strengths-based leadership – discovery of students unique talents with the Gallup StrengthsFinder, for a deeper awareness of identity and diversity
- Mindfulness – non-judgmental awareness, non-attachment to outcomes, responsiveness vs reactivity
- Emotional agility – understanding the nervous system, emotions, practices in regulation and accessing the energy of strengths to build confidence
- Resilience – techniques in neuroplasticity to re-wire the brain for resilience
- Connection and compassion – toward the self and other
Show up Stand tall – a 6 month programme
Students were selected in Term 1. The programme ran across Term 2 & 3, with Term 4 an opportunity for students to show up, stand tall and be seen for all that they are. The programme comprised 3 components:
Personalised discovery and coaching for maximising each student’s unique talents
To share personal discovery, practice with partners, and cultivate collective resilience
Guided practices in-person & as audio files to keep, for installing new beliefs
What they said…
Parents and staff reported noticeable changes
“Tui designed and ran a bespoke resilience and personal leadership programme for Year 7 students in 2019. Parents and staff reported noticeable changes in our young people, including: increased self-agency, self-belief, mood change from variable up & down to even-keeled, reduction in anxiety and self-judgement, increased courage in and out of the classroom, and improved sense of belonging. Tui’s programme proved to be a success so we have re-engaged her to repeat it in 2020 and extend her reach into other year groups.
Worldwide, one person dies every 40 seconds from suicide. In New Zealand, 54 people attempt to take their life every day and every 16 hours someone succeeds. Increasing numbers of children and young people are self-harming and showing signs of mental distress. Children live with burnt out parents. With pandemics and weather events, we are all living with uncertainty. Self-esteem levels plateau between age 11-15 and it’s this inner stability that keeps us steady in times of change. Our young people have four basic needs:
- Safety – including feeling safe and love in their own bodies
- Belonging – to self and the collective
- Significance –a deep sense of self-worth
- Agency – freedom to make choices, take risks, learn and grow
I create spaces where students can slow down, reconnect with themselves and each other, understand and develop their strengths, discover and embody their authentic leadership. Coming from a family of teachers and health-workers, and with two tweens of my own, I understand and relate easily to young people. It is my deep desire for all of our children to know and love themselves, and fulfil their potential without compromising wellbeing.