Respectful conversations and kite making

By Jennifer Kent

IT may seem like an unusual pairing, but it was the perfect way to engage young minds to think about the way in which they speak to themselves and others in all aspects of life.

The pilot program was delivered by Speak Up Now – Stop Domestic & Family Violence – Maleny & Blackall Range to years 5/6 students at Maleny’s The River School last Friday, June 3.

SUP’s Val France said that they hope the message can continue to fly through the school to younger year levels and families.

Facilitator Sherryl Gregory, from Maleny Rotary Club, was enthusiastic about the program.

“Our message is simple, if we don’t start with children, we won’t get to where we want to be in terms of respect as adults,” Sherryl explained.

“None of us are experts in respectful conversations, or kite flying for that matter, but we all recognise the importance of engaging with people throughout all areas of the community.”

Sherryl explained as an ex-senior school teacher, she would often use the example of carrying a backpack of personal attributes and principles where ever we go.

“It doesn’t matter what we do, respect should always be in our backpack.” As Sherryl said the kites provide the conduit for respect. Students were given the opportunity to make and decorate their kites with words and symbols of what they felt respect looks, feels and sounds like; the kites will become a symbol for students to continue the conversation with fellow students, friends and family members. It is hoped the grassroots collaboration which extends on the ‘we can all help stop it at the start’ campaign, will be embraced by other schools.