Hundreds of artwork ‘hands’ painted by pre-school and primary school children were planted on the grounds of St Stephen’s Cathedral today in a promotion of reconciliation.
The ‘Hands of Commitment’ were all produced by Catholic Early EdCare students and drew upon the “Be brave, Make Change” theme of National Reconciliation Week 2022.
Senior Archdiocesan staff acknowledged and gratefully received the creative artworks from Catholic Early EdCare staff before they went on display in the Cathedral precinct.
Catholic Early EdCare General Manager of Program and Practice, Kirsten Holland, said the event was a way to join in the reconciliation conversation and to take action alongside our young children.
“National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia,” Ms Holland said.
“The peak body Reconciliation Australia challenges all educators to ‘Be Brave’ in their teaching and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so we can ‘Make Change’ in our early learning services, and in our communities.
“The hands are part of the ‘Make Change’ – highlighting what change we will commit to towards the business of reconciliation.
“For educators it is about ‘Being Brave’ – and learning what information our children seek to know more about, how this can be embedded into our programs and why it is important.”
In Australia, National Reconciliation Week starts on May 27, the anniversary of the 1967 referendum to change the constitution**, and concludes on June 3, the date of the 1992 High Court decision in the Mabo case, overturning ‘terra nullius’.
Ms Holland said the initial inspiration for the ‘Hands of Commitment’ event came from Canada’s “Have a Heart Day” in 2014, where children sent a heart with a message inside to be placed on the steps of the national parliament highlighting injustices to First Nations peoples.
“It was such a special event, and as some Catholic Early EdCare services have laminated the hands, we need to think about what we do with them to honour the children’s work and the wishes on them,” she said.
“I hope by highlighting our commitments to National Reconciliation Week and discussing these with our children and educators we will work towards building positive, respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.”
Catholic Early EdCare educates over 30,000 children in kindergartens, Outside School Hours Care and Long Day Care services across south-east Queensland.
The Cathedral precinct sits on land traditionally under the custodianship of the Turrbal peoples.
Catholic Early EdCare’s Executive Director Alana Crouch (left) and General Manager of Program and Practice, Kirsten Holland, on hand to see the artwork received in the Cathedral Precinct, May 30, 2022. (Photos courtesy of Mark Bowling at The Catholic Leader)