Postcard packs are sent out in Term 3 each year to every school that has students in the 8-12 year age group. The packs contain a pre-printed postcard that contains a set of four simple questions children are asked to respond to in their own words. They are also invited to draw a picture on the reverse side of the postcard with many of these featured in this report.

For 2022, my four postcard questions focused on children’s views about what they thought the best thing about being a kid is, what they worry about most, what they want grownups to know, and what they think would make the world a better place.

Family and friends, caring for the environment and acting on climate change, school experiences, sickness and death, and kindness and equality, were all central to many of the responses I received from children in 2022. A total of 16,007 South Australian children aged 8-12 years completed a postcard in 2022. They came from 336 schools across the state – with this figure representing participation by more than half the schools in South Australia that have 8–12 year-old children enrolled. This is a considerable increase on the 13,868 children who completed postcards in 2021 from a total of 289 schools who participated.

There were also some continuing issues mentioned by children across multiple years of the postcards. These included the need to care for the environment and to take immediate action on climate change, with deep concerns expressed for the world and its plants and animals now and into the future. Children also wanted adults to adopt a more nuanced approach to ‘screens,’ one that reflects the complexity and often centrality of digital technology they are required to embrace as a young person growing up in the 21st century.