By Derek Schlennstedt
Throughout the first week of December students at Gembrook Preschool have utilised a clothesline project to draw attention to family violence in their municipality.
The Wombat group at Gembrook decorated white t-shirts that were hung along the front fence of the preschool in a clothesline display.
On 4 December, to coincide with White Ribbon Day, those shirts were taken down and the students marched down the street with messages of their own embroidered onto their t-shirts.
Four-year-old kindergarten teacher Kim Busacca said Gembrook Preschool is committed to supporting all members of the Kindergarten community to experience physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing.
“Children have been taking part in what we call a clothesline project. As part of that, they create their own white t-shirt design, and the idea is to let the community know we are thinking about the importance of families looking, because there is such a high rate of family violence in our shire.”
“As part of the project, we have are walking into the Gembrook township and delivering posters to some of the businesses in the town asking them to put them up, to draw attention to this matter.”
Statistics from the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) show family violence incidents in Cardinia are on the rise, up 22.5 percent, with 1312 reported instances between July 2018 and June 2019.
Each t-shirt had a poignant personal message written on it and Ms Busacca said that to ensure the project was aimed at an appropriate level for kindergarten children, the t-shirt designs were drawn by the children and reflected positive and safe experiences with family and friends.
“Mummy and Matilda care about me and cuddle me and that makes me feel safe,” was the message on one of the students t-shirts.
Another read, “all my family make me feel safe because they love me”.
Speaking to the Mail, Kindergartener James said it was important to put the clothesline at the front of the preschool so that “everyone remembers to be kind to each other”.