Storytime Foundation lockdown care packs evaluation

The Storytime lockdown care packs project has been an interagency collaboration to support the wellbeing of children and whānau, during the 2020 and 2021 Covid-19 lockdowns. Whānau reported facing increased stress, including material hardship and loss of emotional supports during the Covid-19 lockdowns.


Through funding from Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Education,  multi-agency partnership work enabled through Ara Poutama Aotearoa | Corrections, and the expertise of the  Storytime Foundation,  tailored packs of books and games have supported children and whānau to reduce lockdown stress and have fun together.

In total, the 2020 Storytime Foundation project:

  • reached over 1500 children with tailored resource packs
  • delivered 685 packs to families/ whānau
  • distributed 279 packs to 673 children of parents/whānau in care of Corrections
  • distributed 406 packs for children 12 and under in families affected by family harm.

This feature provides access below to the 2020 project evaluation that explains the underpinning evidence and the strategies used under Covid-19 lockdown rules.

The evaluation provides a window into the perspectives of whānau, children, probation officers and police.

Storytime Foundation lockdown care packs project

The care packs were prepared by the not-for-profit Storytime Foundation to cater for the age, stage, and culture of the children. Packs included books, games, dice, counters, scrapbooks, and coloured pencils.

The packs included a message that ‘Reading to your children can reduce their stress and yours Research also shows that the more often children are read to, the more likely they are to do better at school. And the best part – it’s not just good for you and your family, it’s fun.’

Children described the packs as ‘awesome’, ‘tu meke’ (too much) and ‘fun’. They enjoyed playing games with their family and being read to.

Most whānau (98%) said they loved the packs, and they were well used.

‘The children enjoyed it. The scrap books are filled up, used chalk on the pavement outside and reading books, snakes and ladders with the counters. Used every bit of it.’

‘I liked that it is culturally appropriate. My grandchild is Tongan and Māori.’  

‘I think it was about reading to your kids, being a good thing to do. It was good because we spent time together not just watching TV.’

Many of the probation officers (71%) believed the care packs made a difference to their relationships with whānau.

‘For some they saw us in a different light and saw Probation as a support system who cares not only about the person in our system but their kids too.’

‘It let them know someone cared about their tamariki, a small gesture went a long way.’

Read the evaluation of the
Storytime Foundation lockdown care packs project:

The 2020 evaluation Point & Associates (Aotearoa) informed the approach to the 2021 Storytime lockdown care packs project.

An evaluation of a second Storytime Foundation Lockdown Care Packs initiative from 30 August to 2 October 2021 is underway.