top of page

Dialling up our strengths

Activity all about discovering and acknowledging our strengths and how we can use them to support us, no matter what the occasion... Since we all have strengths, sometimes we just need to remind ourselves what they are

Firstly, the science...

Here we draw on the work of Dr Martin Seligman and VIA Strengths where it’s been identified that we all have 24 universal strengths to draw upon. If tamariki are 8 years or older they can take the quiz to determine the order of their 24 strengths, otherwise once tamariki are aware of their strengths then there are heaps of ways this can be utilised to support them.

All of the research behind this mahi can be found on the website here

Why this activity?

It supports tamariki self confidence to know their strengths, and that they can draw upon these when times are challenging. It supports them to develop their growth mindset, gives them strategies to use when they need to be resilient or overcome conflict, and can shape their day. We’ll take you through it.

You'll need

Your awesome tamariki, access to the VIA strengths website and quiz (this can take a bit of time to set up, and familiarize yourself with, so just factor this in!) and you might like also to print off our Strengths Reminder Worksheet.

What to do

There a many ways to utilise VIA Strengths - here are some of the ways we know and love:

Learning your strengths

​Head to the VIA Strengths website and complete the quiz if you haven’t already. As part of this it will allow you to set up an account and if your tamariki are 8 or over they can also complete the quiz (a shorter version) using your account, and discover their strengths too!

The website and account mahi can take a bit of time, but it’s totally worth it when your tamariki all know their strengths - it’s a real confidence boost!


Once they’re complete, kōrero about the strengths and their meanings (sometimes people think judgment and prudence aren’t great strengths, but they’re as valuable as all the rest) - talk about how. 


Kōrero about how knowing our strengths makes us feel and can support us. 


For younger tamariki - simply print off the 24 character strengths and talk about how they all have these strengths. Tamariki might choose what they believe their top strengths are, or you might let them know what strengths you see them use often!


Using your strengths to try new things, or persist with challenging tasks

When tamariki are coming to something challenging, or new, ask them which strengths they can use to support them. You might ask them what it might be like to come to athletics day feeling nervous AND brave! Or read out loud feeling apprehensive AND with perspective. Or try that tricky maths question with curiosity.

Using your strengths to set your day

You might like to project the strengths up to your shared screen or have tamariki get out their Strengths Reminder Worksheet and ask tamariki what strength they’re going to dial up today. Praise them for their choices and kōrero around how this strength will support them, and how they will remember. 


If you use a karakia or whakataukī to set your intentions for the day, kōrero about the strengths inside of this whakataukī and how you can all hold these tight today to support you all.

Using your strengths in conflict

Sometimes to support tamariki who find conflict situations difficult or become dysregulated really fast, it can help them to think of a strength that can support them in those times. 

When they’re calm, and perhaps before a time that can be challenging (lunchtime, on the school bus), ask them to think of a strength that will support them if they start to become upset, frustrated or angry. Ask them what it might feel like to dial up this strength when they’re feeling challenged, and what it might look like - what might they do differently? This can really help tamariki to feel a sense of autonomy in managing their emotions, and what’s occurring. 

Check in with them regularly to see how it’s going, and whether another strength might better support them, or praise their efforts. 

Dialling up strengths that we don’t rely on

Kōrero with your tamariki about the strengths they don’t rely on as much - bearing in mind they are all strengths (even if they’re number 24 on the list!).

Ask them to reflect on when they might dial these up - what this looks like, and feels like? 

This can remind them not to overuse their top strengths and that sometimes their top strengths aren’t always a good match for the situation, e.g. humour in a serious situation. 

The more you keep their strengths front of mind with kōrero and reminders, the more tamariki will activate them. 

Whānau engagement

Introduce whānau to VIA Strengths - let your tamariki talk them through it.

And to add to this...

To further the kōrero around our strengths try Compliment circle, this activity can be an awesome opportunity for tamariki to acknowledge each other's strengths through compliments.

Curriculum links

Health and PE Curriculum

Personal health and physical development: A3 - Safety management

Personal health and physical development: A4 - Personal identity

Relationships with other people: C1 - Relationships

bottom of page