Pat Cronin Foundation educates children on use of violence with set of story books - Education Matters Magazine
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Pat Cronin Foundation educates children on use of violence with set of story books

The legacy of Coward Punch victim Pat is set to help educate young people in feeling empowered to ‘Be Wise’ and never use violence.

In August, the Pat Cronin Foundation is set to launch three story books written for primary school-aged children that it hopes will be shared with every young student in Australia. Each book includes teacher notes and classroom activities.

Matt Cronin, Pat’s father and Founding Director of the Pat Cronin Foundation, said it is very important that from the earliest possible age, children are taught and learn to understand that physical aggression is never okay.

The three books are written by Maureen Hyland who taught at Pat’s primary school and was inspired by Pat in creating the characters, colours and commentary. They feature expressive illustrations by educational illustrator, Bruce Rankin.

All profit from sales of the books will go to the Pat Cronin Foundation, which honours Pat by providing an optimistic voice to awareness, education and research about the Coward Punch.

Each book includes a story around Patch, a boy who goes to Searchers Road Primary School, starting with him in early-, mid- and upper-primary. Teacher notes and activities that are age specific are included at the back of each book and via a website link.

The first book called The New Playground revolves around children desperately wanting to get into the new school playground and how one child makes a wrong choice in pushing a playmate off the slide because he wanted to be first.

The second book called The Four Square Challenge centres on children playing a ball game, which leads up to a challenge that takes an unexpected turn in the final practice game and leaves one girl learning an important lesson.

The third book called Footy Fever covers an important Aussie Rules football match in which Patch is captain of the Rockets and Maya is captain of the Sharks, both players in year 6. While everyone on the ground was well behaved, one player wanted to make a name for himself at all costs and soon learnt a valuable lesson about teamwork.

The story books form a critical part of the Foundation’s Be Wise Education program by introducing children to its important messages of ‘Be wise, think carefully and act kindly’.

“The books were specifically written to help reinforce that we all need to Be Wise when interacting with others and we need to think carefully before we act,” said Matt Cronin.

“The sooner children learn our Be Wise message then the sooner we will achieve our mission to ‘End the Coward Punch’. Cultural change starts at a young age.”

General manager of the Foundation, Geoff Smith, applauded Matt and Robyn Cronin who are determined that Pat’s life be honoured and that no other family should face the devastation of losing their son in such a senseless way.

“Pat was a normal kid brought up in a normal family living in a normal suburb. If this tragedy can happen to them, it can happen to anyone,” Smith said.

“While we have an active secondary school program that informs students about Pat and his story, these story books are designed to reach out to primary school students to help them reflect on attitudes and behaviours around anger and aggression. The aim is for students to feel empowered to develop their own action plan to ‘Be Wise’ and to never use violence.”

Following the launch, the books can be purchased from and are priced at $20 each or $50 for the set of three. A 20 per cent discount applies for any schools.

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