“Ahakoa he iti he pounamu”

Although it is small, it is something precious and treasured from the heart

The Principles

Principles of the Being My Best Programme

Many of the skills and techniques taught in the Being My Best programme are associated with the following four areas.


Attachment relates to the importance of stable, unconditionally-loving relationships throughout our lives as well as choosing and maintaining healthy friendships. Another part of attachment is the understanding of feelings in ourselves and others. To recognise feelings at an early stage so that we can self-regulate, so it’s easier to calm ourselves.


The cognitive processes relate to the thoughts that we have about ourselves, others and situations we experience in our day-to-day life. Participants are taught how to change their unhelpful thoughts into helpful positive thoughts to help them cope with worrying or difficult situations. This is based on the principle that our thoughts create a feeling and that feeling then creates a behaviour or action. Therefore, if we think more helpful thoughts, we will feel good and our behaviour and self-management will be better.


Physiological relates to the physical reactions our body experiences when we are feeling worried, nervous or afraid. Some of the skills taught to help participants understand their physiological responses are body clues, relaxation techniques, deep breathing and mindfulness.


In this learning component, participants acquire new skills to cope with change and manage anxiety. Participants learn various ways to problem solve, using a stepped plan to break down difficult things into smaller steps. There is also a strong focus on being of service to their whānau, school and community. Developing and growing our virtues, which are the building blocks of our character, is an important part of learning about who we are and bringing out the best in ourselves. The virtues taught to support the skills and strategies participants learn in the Being My Best programme.

The Programme

The programme teaches children skills such as:

  • Understanding emotions in themselves and others.
  • Recognising the signs of worrying, anxiety and body clues.
  • How to regulate their emotions to help self-manage.
  • Relaxation techniques.
    Understanding how thoughts affect feelings and behaviour.
  • How to change their unhelpful thoughts into helpful thoughts.
  • Problem-solving and positive coping strategies.
  • Building positive friendships and coping with bullying and peer pressure.
  • Using the strategies to help themselves and others.

Early Intervention

Prevention programmes in Schools

“There is a high prevalence of anxiety disorders in childhood and youth, and anxiety in childhood is the most common risk factor for depression in adolescence and early adulthood. Early intervention programmes are therefore necessary and beneficial for individuals, families and communities as they help prevent the development of anxiety and depression by increasing emotional resilience and promoting coping skills before more serious emotional difficulties may occur.” (Bayer, Hiscock, Scalzo, Mathers, McDonald, Morris, 2009)

Early intervention programmes help prevent anxiety and the associated suffering of individuals and their whānau. By providing resilience programmes in a school setting, children can participate in a prevention programme, in a familiar environment with other children they may know. 

The programme becomes part of their curricular activities. Children develop mutual trust and often make new friendships with other participants in their group. Children and parents involved in the programme, begin to realise that many of them have the same worries and concerns. This helps to normalise these issues, and mutual understanding and mutual support naturally arise during the group sessions.

In our ever-changing society, we need to equip our tamariki and whānau with coping strategies to help support their emotional, mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

Being My Best Resilience Programme in Schools

The Being My Best resilience programme offers a prevention programme with each lesson linked to the New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies and the Tātaiako Key Competencies. Te Reo Maori is used throughout the children’s workbook with a whakatauki for each session.

The programme also focuses on strengthening children’s character through learning and practising virtues that support the strategies they learn. Mindful breathing, gratitude and service to one’s whanau, school and community are also a focus in the Being My Best programme.

The programme is facilitated throughout 14 lessons, with children participating in one or two lessons each week. Each session lasts for a minimum of 1 hour and a maximum of 1.5 hours, depending on the age level. 

Participants will work in a group of 4 – 8 children, of similar age, that fall within the low range of needing social and emotional support.

Children may show any of the following signs of needing social and emotional support, to participate in the programme:

  • Lacking in confidence
  • Limited social skills/maintaining friendships
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Being withdrawn
  • Exhibiting low levels of behavioural difficulties that impact themselves and others
  • Struggling to manage their own emotions
  • Experiencing low levels of worry and anxiety

Each participant has a workbook. 

The Junior workbook is suitable for children aged 5.5 years old to 8 years.

The senior workbook is for ages 8 years to 12 years old.

The Being My Best programme has been designed to be facilitated by a trained teacher who has completed the three-day facilitator’s training.

Facilitator Training

Being My Best Facilitator Training

  • To become an accredited Being My Best Facilitator you are required to be a registered teacher and complete a three-day training course with Susan Lyon or an accredited tutor authorised by Susan Lyon.
  • Facilitator training is usually during the school holidays.
  • The skills and qualities of the teachers chosen to be trained as a Facilitator are crucial to contribute to the well-being engagement and success of the children participating in the programme.
  • It is beneficial for the teachers participating in the Being My Best training to have some background in psychology and child development. Having an interest in the emotional and behavioural needs of our young people and their complexities is also important.
  • Teachers to be trained as Facilitators need to display a joyful and positive disposition, be respectful of children, kind, trustworthy, accepting of differences, encouraging and wise.
  • The Facilitators need to be able to connect emotionally with children, set clear boundaries and have positive behaviour management.
  • Facilitators must be able to maintain a positive rapport with parents and teachers and have the confidence to facilitate parent and teacher meetings.
  • Facilitators will receive a certificate of accreditation once they have completed their training. They can then facilitate the Being My Best programme in the school where they are teaching. The accreditation is valid for a term of 2 years from the date on the certificate of accreditation. After the term of 2 years, the facilitator is required to complete a one-day refresher course with Susan Lyon or an accredited tutor authorised by Susan Lyon, to remain accredited.

Resilience Strategies

For Children, Teachers and Parents

These video have been produced to provide some handy hints for resilience stratiegies.

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