UC Child Well-being Research Institute launched

26 March 2018

Professor Gail Gillon and Professor Angus Macfarlane officially launched the UC Child Well-being Research institute last week. Guest speakers included UC Chancellor and chair of CDHB Dr John Wood and Honourable Ruth Dyson, Labour MP. Both spoke about the importance of this kaupapa for improving outcomes for children across New Zealand. Guests were also treated to a stirring kapa haka performance by award-winning group, Te Kapa Haka o te Toi Huarewa.

  • UC Child Well-being Research Institute launched

Professor Gail Gillon, Co-director of the new UC Child Well-being Research Institute and Pro-Vice- Chancellor for the UC College of Education Health and Human Development | Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora, introduces the role and approach of the new institute which was launched last week. Professor Gail Gillon, co-director of the institute, outlines their approach.

We know in New Zealand we want to improve the wellbeing of our children.

High quality research to inform policy and practice is vital to a vision of sustainable child well-being.  Our research teams within the new UC Child Wellbeing Research Institute will actively contribute to positive growth of our children’s well-being.

This is the first research institute in New Zealand to bring together multiple disciplines, particularly across education and health, to focus on children’s well-being through a holistic, strengths based approach. The UC College of Education Health and Human Development| Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora is proud to host the new UC Child Wellbeing Research Institute.

The Better Start National Science Challenge Successful Literacy and Learning Theme will be led through this new institute- with major projects already underway that are focused on:

  • improving early learning for children entering school at five years with lower levels of oral language ability,
  • understanding how Before School Check Health data may predict children’s early learning success and
  • projects investigating better ways to support children’s learning when they come into school as children who are emerging bilingual- English and their home language or English and Te Reo  Māori

Investing in children’s educational success and healthy well-being is critical to enable our children to fulfil their potential and contribute to society.

In addition to a focus on braiding health and education research disciplines our institute will have a strong focus on culturally responsive practices. Children who are strong in their cultural identity, connected with their whānau, have a sense of belonging – are more likely to have better education and health outcomes.

New and emerging models are focusing on the child’s sense of their own well-being and moving away from more traditional measures which have focused on deficits within children – the importance of developing community partnerships to well-being are also developing and Christchurch in post-earthquake recovery is providing wonderful examples of innovation in promoting community well-being.

We are embracing technologies and working together with researchers in different ways- our institute will be where ever we are-where-ever our banners are flying- we plan to host events in the new health precinct- in the Arts Centre UC space – in community venues.

We want our research to be connected with community and therefore we need to be in the community to co-construct research with partners and to share our research findings with community. We will have a strong online presence both through the UC webpages and through social media to connect with researchers, practitioners and families in an interactive way that embraces the digital world in which we live and work.

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