A splash of pink for a cause

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Ashburton Montessori preschoolers and teachers support national Pink Shirt Day and stand together to stop bullying.

Ashburton Montessori preschoolers learned about being kind last week in support of nationwide Pink Shirt Day.

The preschoolers, infants and their teachers wore pink, some dyed their hair pink while others had pink painted nails. Their classrooms were decorated in pink balloons and streamers in support of the annual event and its anti bullying message.

They also had stickers, pink Play Doh, put pink icing on biscuits and had a collection for Pink Shirt Day fundraising.

Head teacher Aimee Edgar said children were never too young to learn about being kind, and Pink Shirt Day was a way to reinforce messages of kindness, diversity and inclusiveness and to

Aimee, decked out in a Pink Shirt Day t-shirt and bright pink wig, said the 25 kids were learning about being kind, and in general helping to raise awareness of anti bullying.

It generates lots of conversations, she said.

Pink Shirt Day is run by the Mental Health Foundation who say young people who are bullied are more likely to experience mental health issues like depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

“Bullying in Aotearoa is a real problem. Studies show that we have the third-highest rate of school bullying out of 36 OECD countries.”

Rainbow, or LGBTQIA+ students, faced even higher rates of bullying, and seven out of 10 teens nationwide had experienced at least one type of unwanted digital communication in the past year.

Nationwide New Zealanders in schools, workplaces and communities joined together for the day to take a stand against bullying and show it was a country where diversity was celebrated and people could feel safe, valued and respected.

While preventing bullying takes more than one day, there are anti bullying resources, tools and tips available online at pinkshirtday.org.nz