Not many preschoolers write a letter to the editor of their local newspaper but that is what a group of Welcome Bay kindy kids have done - with the help of their teachers.
Following a vandalism attack on Maungaarangi Kindergarten, the children put their thoughts into words.
"Poo bum", "they're naughty", "it's not ok to do it" and "we should ask the police to come and guard our kindy" were among the statements included in a letter to the Bay of Plenty Times after property was broken and graffiti drawn on the walls at the kindergarten.
Teacher Roxy Burt said she wanted to engage the children in the process and give them a voice.
Before cleaning up the vandalism she took photos to show the children so they could have a discussion about it.
"It was a real mess," she said.
Dried gourds that were hanging above the deck had been smashed to pieces, the outside walls tagged with chalk and some garden fences broken. While there was little financial cost to the kindergarten Ms Burt felt it was a good learning opportunity for the children.
"I wanted to teach them they can be agents for change, that they don't have to be victims, they can stand up and say something about it," she said. "With the White Paper coming out around child abuse ... it's really important to teach children skills to speak up and have a voice and be heard in the wider community."
The response from the children was "really emotional".
Ms Burt said the kindergarten was tagged with spray paint several months ago.
The kindergarten has appealed to the Welcome Bay community for help with looking after the facility.
"It is a special place of laughter, learning and living. If you see anything suspicious please feel free to call us," the letter said.
Photo: Preschoolers, from left, Amber Gleeson, 4, Nevaeh-Lee Matiu, 3, Isabelle Troughton, 4 and Sangreal Ekins, 3, speak out about vandalism at Maungaarangi Kindergarten. - Joel Ford.