Toi Te Ora Public Health (Toi Te Ora) is launching an important online tool to support early learning services (ELS) to improve and sustain the health and wellbeing of tamariki. Building Blocks for Hauora (Building Blocks) is an interactive tool that takes ELS on a journey, with input from their whānau and community, to establish and build healthy foundations for lifelong wellbeing.
Building Blocks is a free tool that focuses on nine blocks that each represent an aspect of hauora: healthy eating, physical activity, breastfeeding, oral health, sun safety, smokefree, communicable diseases prevention, engaging with nature and mental wellbeing. ELSs achieve Building Blocks accreditation on full completion of all nine blocks.
Dr Lynne Lane, Medical Officer of Health at Toi Te Ora, says research consistently shows that healthy development in the early years provides the building blocks for lifelong health and wellbeing. “The first one thousand days of a child’s life are when they experience incredible growth and develop much of their potential,” says Dr Lane. “Early experiences, relationships and opportunities develop the brain and create a foundation for later health, social and emotional wellbeing.”
Building Blocks is underpinned by mātauranga Māori. It is guided by a pūrākau (story which gives meaning to the importance of the Building Blocks process) adopted in consultation with Kaumatua and Kuia Ngamoni Huata who is of Te Arawa Tuhourangi and Tuhoe Mataatua decent. The pūrākau is based on the significance of the harakeke (flax plant) representing the strength of whānau and the importance of nurturing all parts of the harakeke to ensure survival and wellbeing. Like the outer leaves of the harakeke that intertwine around the most inner leaf, grandparents and parents provide the love, support and protection for the child.
Early learning services play a pivotal role in the education, health and life of young tamariki and make a big difference to the health and wellbeing of our families and future generations, says Dr Lane. “Early learning services can use Building Blocks to weave strands of knowledge, whānau values and aspirations into the culture and environment of their service.”
The Building Blocks online tool was developed collaboratively with the ELS community, ensuring it meets their needs and supports the health and wellbeing of children, parents and whānau. Users can journey through Building Blocks independently, although advisors are available to provide guidance along the way to ELSs in Bay of Plenty and Lakes regions. While it is currently only available to over 400 ELSs in these two regions, there is potential to make it more widely available in future.
The early learning sector is invited to join in a virtual tour of the website on Thursday 19 May from 12.30pm to 1pm or on Monday 23 May from 3.30pm to 4.00pm. To attend please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Early Learning Services that sign up to begin their journey with Building Blocks for Hauora before 30 June 2022 will go in a draw to win a hamper for their centre.
To find out more about Building Blocks or to sign up visit www.buildingblocks.health.nz