Working with Pause Breathe Smile – A teacher’s perspective


Rebecca Lock works with the Horowhenua Kāhui Ako as an across schoolteacher. She has been delivering the Pause Breathe Smile wellbeing programme since 2019 and did an inquiry into the impact on the students that same year. We’ve asked Rebecca to share her thoughts on the training and delivery of this programme to help inform others.

“I remember the feeling after [training], of buzzing, and I guess it was refreshing to go to a professional development day that wasn’t just about academics. I remember being shocked by the statistics about flourishing and languishing in New Zealand. But mostly it was a feeling of fulfilment, and that I was so excited to implement the programme with children.

We weave Pause Breathe Smile (PBS) in with growth mindset concepts, especially when children are frustrated with something or if they are in conflict with each other. I retaught the full programme again this year (2021) in Term 1. It’s really good because Horowhenua is quite transient, with children moving around a lot. That’s why we want to get heaps of schools doing the training, because there are new kids each year.

It’s about training the thoughts. We use it to help children persevere with their learning. For example, we were reading a book about a family, and the mum in it got really angry, and in the story she thought about it and took a breath. One of the Year 4 learners said, “she dropped her anchor,” making the connection back to the idea of dropping anchor that they learned in PBS, way back in Term 1.

You’ve got nothing to lose doing this training. Not every child is going to take the same things away but the important thing is that all of the children learn something, and it’s worth it. PBS isn’t a magic potion, but if you’re giving them the tools, they may turn to use them down the track somewhere. You might also get some aspect from it for yourself.”