Voice of children heard and acknowledged, through Centrecare Inc’s latest offering

29 Apr 2021

By Amanda Murthy

The Valuing Children Initiative launched a four-pillar book series on 22 April at the Boola Bardip Museum to support children’s literacy and to provide parents and teachers with opportunities to connect and discuss important issues with children. Photo: Supplied.

The Valuing Children Initiative, have last week launched a four-pillar series children’s book series, as part of their on-going efforts to inspire Australians to value all children.

The Centrecare Incorporated program works to create a better understanding that a child’s wellbeing is the shared responsibility of the entire community and to ensure children are at the forefront of our considerations, as part of their Valuing Children’s Initiative (VCI) (established in 2016).

Using delightful Australian native animal characters; Kelvin the Kangaroo, Kooky the Kookaburra, Ellie the Echidna and Summer the Swan, each book in the series explores one of the VCI’s four core pillars of Listening to children, hearing the Voice of children, and ensuring the Safety and Growth of children. Its’ mission – to support children’s literacy and to provide parents and teachers with opportunities to connect and discuss important issues with children.

The book launch, held at the Boola Bardip WA Museum on Thursday 22 April, gained much moral and financial support from many local dignitaries, including those present.

Minister for Child Protection, Women’s Interests, Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence and Community Services Hon Simone McGurk MLC, Samantha Rowe MLA and VCI ambassadors; Commissioner for Children and Young People Colin Pettit, Dr Sandy Chong, Adj Prof Anita Ghose, Claire Orange – with speeches delivered by Distinguished Research Professor Fiona Stanley AC FAA FASSA FAHMS, Director of Centrecare Incorporated and Founder of the Valuing Children’s Initiative Adj Prof Tony Pietropiccolo AM and the books’ author, Natalie Caudle.

In his opening address, Mr Pietropiccolo thanked everyone who played a role in the development of the books, especially author Ms Caudle and illustrator Aleisha Zappia, and offered his hopes that the series will kickstart a culture to ignite individual and collective responsibilities from the WA community, to ensure all children are valued, prioritised, and heard.

“Today, close to three quarters of a million children still live poverty in Australia, with 100,000 of them living here in WA,” Mr Pietropiccolo said.

“The VCI recognises that children have no choice about the circumstance of the birth or their childhood, and we know that childhood experiences shape adulthood.

“Therefore, it’s incumbent upon adults to nurture protect and listen to our youngest citizens. Children rely on us adults, and we should all be advocating with and for them,” he cited.

Valuing Children Initiative founder and Centrecare Director Tony Pietropiccolo said the VCI four-pillar book series launch on 22 April at the Boola Bardip Museum, that it is incumbent upon adults to nurture protect and listen to our youngest citizens. Photo: Supplied.

Mr Pietropiccolo said the books sponsored by Centrecare, Tony Fini Foundation, Westbooks and Unleished Art have received positive feedback from both adults and children and have opened many doors for the VCI, with a distribution of 4000 books as a resource to primary schools across WA, 1000 books donated to WA libraries, 400 books donated to the Perth Children’s Hospital’s School of Special Educational Needs, and the State Library has placed the books in the heritage section, (meaning that the books will be enjoyed for generations to come).

Upon officiating the event, Prof Stanley said the VCI is ‘bigger than just children who are here now and need us so desperately’, it is about creating an equitable and sustainable future for our children, and future generations to come.

“The fantastic thing about these books is that there’s the Geraldton Wax, the pictures of the WA bridge – local elements which makes the story more familiar, engaging and the readers will feel a part of the book,” Prof Stanley said.

“The other thing is that, as much as the books are advertised as kid’s books, these are books for adults. Because when a parent reads this book, they will be tuned into the kinds of things that are important for their children, and that is where the true impact of this book lies.

“The books are also beautifully written and illustrated, they are the right size, and make the perfect gift for any occasion,” she concluded.

Westbrook set up a booth at the launch event of the VCI four-pillar book series held on 22 April Boola Bardip Museum. The books are available for sale at selected bookshops or can be purchased directly from the Valuing Children Initiative for $12 each or $38 per set of four books, not including postage. Photo: Supplied.

An advocate of acknowledging children’s big feelings, curious and questioning nature, strong will for independence, and their normal but challenging boundary testing behaviours – Ms Caudle said it was through the eyes of parenting her two daughters, that inspired her ambition to pen down her thoughts, and share it with like-minded people.

“Thanks to everyone involve for your commitment to creating a community where our kids truly thrive, and where what they learn today, empowers them as the parents of tomorrow.”

For more information, go to: http://valuingchildreninitiative.com.au/valuing-children-four-pillar-book-series/

To purchase the book, email mmcleod@valuingchildren.com.au