Sept. 17, 2021

isPodcast - Episode Six

isPodcast - Episode Six

School Library Association of Victoria Chief Executive Susan La Marca tells Mike Broadstock about a new program that helps school librarians build the reading culture at schools. Natalie Moutafis speaks with Enlighten Education CEO, Dannielle Miller, about how we can support our kids through another lockdown school holiday. ISV Chief Executive Michelle Green chats with Shane Green about the work of the talented young poets who took part in our student poetry competition, and we listen to the award-winning Awaiting Spring, by Year 6 Harkaway Hills College student Grace Sudjono.

Mentioned in this episode: 


A Tempest, by Emily Dickinson:  

2021 Poetry Competition winners

Grace Sudjono reads Awaiting Spring 

Harkaway Hills College 

The Parents Website super list of great ideas for kids at home 

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Headspace: 1800 650 890

Enlighten Education

Enlighten Education's 21 Day Gratitude Challenge:
Enlighten Education 21 Day Gratitude Challenge

Dannielle Miller has a one-hour webinar available for schools and businesses on making Term 4 count. Email her at to enquire about having her deliver this for your school or workplace community. 

You can also find isPodcast Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon music, and Google podcasts


Note: isPodcast is produced for listening and is designed to be heard. We encourage you to listen to the audio, as it includes emotion and emphasis that’s not on the page. While every care is taken, our transcripts may contain errors.

Michael Broadstock: 
Hi everyone, and welcome back to isPodcast, ISV's show for schools and the wider community. I'm Mike Broadstock.  

Today, I talk with School Library Association of Victoria Chief Executive Susan La Marca about Shelftalkers, a new program that helps school librarians build the reading culture at their schools. Natalie Moutafis speaks with Enlighten Education CEO, Dannielle Miller, about how we can support our kids through another lockdown school holiday. But first, ISV Chief Executive Michelle Green chats with Shane Green about the work of the talented young poets who took part in our student poetry competition. 

Shane Green: 
Welcome back to isPodcast, Michelle. 

Michelle Green: 
Thank you, Shane. It's always a privilege to be here. 

Shane Green: 
Well, today we thought we'd talk about what's quickly becoming a highlight in our arts program, the student poetry competition. 

Michelle Green: 
I'm really happy to talk about the student poetry competition. Do you know? Just our second year and we had 350 entries compared to 300 last year. And the great thing about the competition is that it's open not just to Independent schools, but it's really inclusive, so students from all sectors submitted poems.  

The other great thing about it is that our Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, James Merlino, not only recorded a video message congratulating our winning poet, but he's also very keen on reading all of the winning poems and the themes from the poetry.

So, one of the things that I was so impressed with was the talent and the enthusiasm of the young poets. And it's really great for me because we don't hear a lot about poetry in today's world, and it's really good to know it's alive and well. 

Shane Green: 
Michelle, some of our winning poets were really exceptional. 

Michelle Green: 
Yes, they were. We awarded six prizes in age categories across primary or secondary. And we had an optional theme of joy, but students could write on any subject, but many of them did write on joy. And they had so much, not only energy in the poems, but also the light and the shade.  

We all know COVID, lockdowns, students dealing with some very different and difficult situations, but the maturity and the resilience of the students who wrote poems struck me, it kept coming through. What I was really happy about was that the students had the strength and the confidence to not only identify that they were sad, that they were experiencing difficult times from COVID, but they were really optimistic as well.  

And so, the light and shade that came across the poems was fantastic. And also, the rhythm of the works, you could almost hear as you read the poems, their authors speaking the words.  

And I'm really pleased to know that many of them have sent us their videos reading their poems and they're really great too. 

Shane Green: 
Michelle, I know there was one poem in particular that really moved you, and that was Awaiting Spring by Year 6 student Grace Sudjono from Harkaway Hills College. Let's listen to some of that now. 

Grace Sudjono:
The buzzing of insects, 
The optimistic birdsong, 
Enlivens all hearts. 

Spring rests her rainbow palette, 
And sends her rain 
To kiss the rich, brown soils; 

To awaken tiny seedlings 
And sing to them as they grow. 

Michelle Green: 
What I loved about Grace's poem was how she reflected on the rhythm of the seasons. She writes of hope, she writes of anticipation. What I was saying before, this is this encouraging message of confidence and optimism. Seasons change, the world continues, and we look on the world with fresh eyes. And in Grace's poem you can see that. 

Shane Green: 
We'll play the full recording at the end of the show. Michelle, on a personal note, poetry is very important to you? 

Michelle Green: 
Poetry is a passion of mine. Shane, I know that you know this. And I was reflecting earlier about poetry and poems that have affected me in my life and there are so many of them. But during lockdown, I am in country Victoria, and we've had some massive storms around our little house in country Victoria.  

And it's been reminding me a lot of Emily Dickinson. A favourite poem of mine is Emily Dickinson talking about a tempest. So, I pulled it out because I always remember these words: 

An awful tempest mashed the air, 
The clouds were gaunt but few; 
A black, as of a spectre's cloak, 
Hid heaven and earth from view. 

But here's the stanza that I love:  

The creatures chuckled on the roofs 
And whistled in the air, 
And shook their fists and gnashed their teeth, 
And swung their frenzied hair. 

So, the last stanza:  

The morning lit, the birds arose; 
The monster's faded eyes 
Turned slowly to his native coast, 
And peace was Paradise! 

And let me tell you some of the storms we've had just in country Victoria not only echoing what's happening in society, but also making you wonder what's happening with the elements. 

Many times, I've thought about Emily Dickinson and the creatures chuckling on my roof and swinging their frenzied hair. So, poetry means so much to so many people and bits of poetry stay with you throughout your lives. And I think parts of the poems that our students have submitted for this poetry competition are going to stay with me for a very, very long time. 

Shane Green: 
Michelle, I know you were really impressed by the young American poet, Amanda Gorman? 
Michelle Green: 
Oh, yes. And wasn't that wonderful, a young poet at the inauguration. Do you know what? It reminded me was that poetry has always been a spoken word thing; that is people would stand and declaim.  

When you saw that as performance poetry at the presidential inauguration, it showed you the power of the spoken word and it showed you how the power of her images – the power of her lived experience – translated itself to across the generations, to people not only her age and younger, but to those of us who've had more lived experience in a different world. So, it wasjust  so moving and it was also something that made me feel as though poetry is very much alive in this unusual world in which we live. 

Shane Green: 
Michelle, it's hard to believe we're at the end of Term 3 already. We've seen schools, teachers, students, and parents having to deal with extended lockdowns and remote learning yet again. As we head into the term break, what's your message for everyone? 

Michelle Green: 
Well, have a rest, I think. What an incredible effort! Everybody, teachers, parents, students, most particularly, we've all been under strain. The toll on schools and school communities has been very high.  

I hope that people are able to go into the holiday knowing that vaccination rates are rising, knowing and hoping that Term 4 will be more normal and thinking that maybe this is a time to recharge and rejuvenate.  

So that's my message: Take a break, try to recharge, try to think that as Spring comes that we can spring with it. 

Shane Green: 
Michelle, thanks for your time. 

Michelle Green: 
You're very welcome, Shane. I enjoyed it. 

Michael Broadstock: 
Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges said he always imagined that paradise would be a kind of library. School libraries were certainly my sanctuary when I was young, especially on rainy days, and I was good friends with all my school librarians. So, it's a pleasure to welcome our next guest to the program, the Executive Officer of the School Library Association of Victoria, Dr. Susan La Marca. Welcome Susan. 

Susan La Marca: 
Thank you, Mike. 

Michael Broadstock: 
So, did you spend a lot of time in school libraries when you were young? 

Susan La Marca: 
Actually, I didn't so much because when I was first at school in the '60s and the '70s they were only small. I do have very fond memories of the libraries that were in both of my schools, but I think I probably spent more time in the public library. There was a new one not far from my home and it was a very beautiful place and I loved my time there. 

Michael Broadstock: 
So, school libraries today, they're a bit different to how they were when you or I were in school, are they still relevant to students in a digital age? 

Susan La Marca: 
Absolutely. Probably more so than ever, I think. It's a bit of a misconception to decide that we have all of the information we need. I think libraries of all kinds are very much about helping us find the right information and helping us find accurate information. Helping us understand how to use that information wisely and ethically, and also giving us these wonderful opportunities to immerse ourselves in beautiful books and wonderful reading opportunities, all of those things happen in libraries. They are amazing places, really exciting places, I think.

Michael Broadstock: 
So, hard copy versus digital. Does it matter how kids read? 

Susan La Marca: 
It's a very interesting question, Mike. Look, ultimately, I think most of us would agree that it doesn't matter in that a good story is a wonderful thing no matter how it comes to us; it could be audio, it could be an eBook, it can be in old-fashioned paper.  

That said, there is quite a deal of research now telling us that we do read in different ways depending on what the platform happens to be so that we actually take information from paper in a different way than we do if we read it on an eBook reader or if we listen to it in audio.   

So, even though a good story is still going to be a good story no matter how we experience it. If we're actually trying to learn from what we're reading, and we're reading for maybe an exam or to study something, there is a place for perhaps reading in different ways. They tell us that we pick up the information differently if we engage with it on paper. 

Michael Broadstock:
What makes school libraries important?   

Susan La Marca:
They’re a place in a school that is inclusive, it is a place in a school that's open to everybody, it's a place that supports learning of all kinds and also operates as a space that welcomes people in all kinds of situations. 

I don't think there's any other place in a school quite like a school library, and I think that's what makes them important. They're not just about information and reading, they're about experiences, they're about learning of all kinds. Nowadays, they're often the centre of celebrations and all different kinds of clubs and experiences, places to meet people and interact and make things.  

So, I think they are lots of different things to lots of different people. And that's what's also exciting about them, the fact that they can be all of these things, they're often the only big open space in a school. And I think that's a really important thing. 

And nowadays we're seeing them, I think, as a place that supports wellbeing as well, all kinds of other elements of what we're trying to undertake in our education, offering cultural diversity. All different kinds of options in the way we build collections, so they're all kinds of things.  

But they're also a virtual space nowadays as well, a place where we can access all kinds of information outside of the school building. So, your library is not just a physical space but a virtual one too. 

Michael Broadstock: 
So to follow on from that, what makes school librarians important? 

Susan La Marca:
Because we're wonderful people! (laughs) I think we have a lot of different skills. In any library nowadays you'll find people of all different kinds of qualifications. Some of them will be teacher-librarians, so they'll actually have a teaching degree and librarianship qualifications. So, that ability to understand what's happening in curriculum, but also understand the underpinnings of how we develop collections and curate resources that a librarian's main role is.  

And I think when you've got that kind of person in your school library, you've got someone that really can help you with all aspects of your studies and all aspects of your learning, and that's a vital support, I think.  

Teachers are busy and they're time poor, they need that support and so do our students. But in libraries, you'll also find a range of other staff with other skills, but they're all there to support you and help you find the right information and the right resource that's going to help you no matter what it is you're looking for, and that's important. In a time when we have so much stuff bombarding us, it’s often really difficult to find the right thing. 

Michael Broadstock:
We've invited you on the show to talk about your new initiative for schools, Shelftalkers. What is Shelftalkers? 

Susan La Marca: 
Okay. Shelftalkers is a website and it's been developed by the School Library Association of Victoria. And its main aim probably is to provide a space where students can submit reviews, have them published. So, we're enabling them I think to have a voice, to have a say in about what they read and to share that opinion and that idea with others. So, it really was established for that idea predominantly to give students a place where they can have their voices heard and share them with other people. 

Michael Broadstock: 
What are you looking to achieve with the program? 

Susan La Marca: 
Predominantly very much to begin with giving the students that space. But we ultimately also want it to be something that school librarians and English teachers, all different members of the school community could also share with their students, so that they can see the opinions of others.  

We're very interested in the ways we build a reading culture in schools and beyond. And this is a way, I suppose, of allowing schools to show their students the opinions of others outside.  

Obviously, there are lots of other forums for that nowadays online and in various ways, but I suppose we're offering a format that is moderated by us at least to some extent and gives that facility. 

We're also offering schools the opportunity to participate in the program by registering with us so that their students can then receive advanced copies and free copies of books from publishers to review.  

So that's an extra incentive, I suppose, to really be involved in the program because we really want to give schools that opportunity to support the skill of writing a review and thinking about the structure of review. It's a real skill to write a good review. We're requiring the students to only write 100 words, so to do that does take some thinking.

And offering the students in the schools the ability to access books directly from the publishers means they can be reading new things that are coming out, and it all goes towards supporting that idea of a reading culture, a reading community, that the schools are part of. 

Michael Broadstock: 
Who's it aimed at? Primary? Secondary students? 

Susan La Marca: 
It's actually for everyone. We have had a number of primary materials submitted from publishers. Initially, we were thinking it would be only of interest to secondary, but the primary certainly seemed to be keen too.  

And there's a lot of really wonderful primary material out there and the publishers are willing to share that. So, everyone is welcome, all levels as long as they're prepared to write us a review, anyone could participate.  

Michael Broadstock: 
Do you have a favourite review?  

Susan La Marca: 
No, not really. I think that would be a bit hard, that's like asking you to choose, isn't it? I like the reviews that are fairly open-ended that don't spoil the story for you, but make it intriguing, make you want to seek out the book. I think anyone that achieves that in a review has done a great job. 

Michael Broadstock: 
So how can schools take part? 

Susan La Marca: 
The program is predominantly open to members of our association, but that actually is most schools in Victoria. So, if they contact us through their school library and the school library will probably already know about the program and we can certainly register them if they're keen to receive copies from books from publishers.  

But even if they're just writing reviews of books, they happen to have read, students can submit those as well. So, they don't have to be registered for the program. They can just submit any review that they happen to have written. 

Michael Broadstock: 
So, can any student, anywhere, pop onto the site and submit a review? 

Susan La Marca: 
They need to do it through their school librarian. 

Michael Broadstock: 
I see. 

Susan La Marca: 
So, the starting point would be to contact the school librarian first, they're mediating the process for us. 

Michael Broadstock: 
Beautiful. We'll put details of the Shelftalkers website in the show description. Thanks very much for joining us, Susan. 

Susan La Marca: 
Thank you very much for the opportunity, Mike. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
Dannielle Miller is the co-founder and CEO of Enlighten Education, a provider of in-school workshops for teens. She's also a best-selling author, teen educator and expert in girls’ self-esteem and body image. This year, she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to education, to women and youth.  

Dannielle joins us today as many of our children facing another school holiday break in lockdown. Hi, Danni, and welcome to isPodcast. 

Dannielle Miller: 
Thank you for having me. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
So, Term 3 is about to end for many students, and they are looking at either some or all of their break occurring in lockdown. There has been and continues to be so many reports in the media on how for teens particularly the lockdowns, remote learning and all of the other restrictions are impacting their mental health. What are you hearing from schools that you've been working with in this regard? 

Dannielle Miller: 
They are absolutely are finding this a difficult time, and we all are, aren’t we? I mean, I know for me personally, my business has virtually shut down overnight due to the lockdowns here in Sydney, we're all in isolation.  

The difference with teens is that they don't yet have that prefrontal cortex capacity to maintain a sense of calm for a long period of time, and they very much don't have the capacity yet to fully regulate their emotions. So, they feel these things very deeply. And for them, this does feel like a permanent state of being rather than a stage that will pass.

We know, too, that for teens, often those adult responsibilities and those adult fears and worries that we have can get passed down within our homes. Even if it's inadvertently, they do tend to carry that worry and they feel that their parents or the adults around them might be experiencing. So, it is a really trying time. 

Certainly, my schools are telling me that some of their kids have coped really well with learning from home and have coped really well with the isolation. But certainly, the research does clearly show that there are high levels of psychological distress amongst teens, and lots of parents are really worried. And I think we'd be silly to bury our heads in the sand around that, we don't want to become alarmed, but we definitely want to be alert. 

Natalie Moutafis:
I know as the teenagers are seeing these reports. They're not oblivious to what's going on in the media, so do you have any tips or tricks on how parents can address this with their kids? 

Dannielle Miller: 
They absolutely are seeing this, you're quite right, and they're feeling it from their peers, right? So, we know that if a young person is struggling, they're actually much more likely to reach out to a friend or a peer than to an adult in the first instance. And so, teens do tend to carry the burden, not only of their own emotional worries, but of the emotional worries of their friends as well.  

So that's why it's really important that we give our young people some skills during this time around mental health literacy. We've had RUOK? Day and we've had Suicide Prevention Day just recently. I think this is really timely to have honest authentic conversations with teens about how we manage these kinds of conversations. Asking if your friend is okayias one thing, but knowing how to respond if the answer is “No, I'm not really” is another entirely. 

Natalie Moutafis:
It's so hard as a parent to just imagine how to deal with that, on top of everything else that's going on. And we know that we're going to go out of remote learning for a bit for the school holidays. And with that, we lose that structure of the day where the kids have been going to their classes because they've got this schedule of day in day out, they know what's coming.  

But now we've got to move to that stress where parents and really the whole family have to switch gears and go from the structured learning of online classes and Zoom, into this kind of free time, but they're not actually free – we're in lockdown. So, I guess, how can we address that? 

I know when the pandemic started, The Parents Website had its super list and it's got all these ideas for all different age groups on things you can do at home with your family, just to kind of give you something to look forward to do that day when you're bored with your walking around the block or whatever it may be. But it's not easy, particularly with teens, to give them something to do or suggest go have a look at this list and find something to do because when’s a teen going to listen to their parent to do something like that. 

So, I guess what can we do to help with school holidays where they're craving this kind of connection with friends and family, they're missing out on the things like going to the movies and having sleepovers and just hanging out. So how can we help our kids with their mental health and have those meaningful connections with their peers when they can't physically go and do all those things? 

Dannielle Miller: 
You’re right, Nat. And what I hear, in your question, is also worry – worry about teens, worry about your kids. And can I just reassure you by saying that as someone who has worked with young people on wellbeing for over 30 years, when I hear a parent who's worried about their teen, I don't feel as worried about their teen.  

And let me explain to you why I say that. One of the key things that we know is protective for young people is an adult in their life who notices them and who cares for them and wants things to be okay for them.  

So, the fact that we've got a lot of parents worried at the moment is actually a good thing, it shows that we're noticing we're paying attention and we're trying to wrap them in this protective circle. So that is a real positive. 

We know that there can be post-traumatic growth then after times of trauma. In fact, we can actually look back and realise that it was formative, if we use this as an opportunity to maximise our care, our support to listen to that pain and to provide some structure and a bit of a scaffold for the way forward.

So, in the school holidays, you've mentioned the fact that there won't be that routine and you're right. Your instincts are spot on that that can be concerning, so routine is a good thing for all of us. So, I would suggest stick to some type of routine in the holidays, especially about getting out of bed otherwise they would just sleep the entire time.  

So it might be that as a family, you commit to you know what? At nine o'clock, I mean, I wouldn't be too ambitious and try and make them start the day too early, but you know what? At nine o'clock, we're going to go for walk to the local cafe and we're going to get coffees every morning depending on the age of your child and your preferences around caffeine or a hot chocolate or a smoothie or whatever it is that you think you'd like to do so that they know that's the structure, gets them moving for the day, gives them something to look forward to. 

The other thing I like about doing that is that when we're walking we're side by side. When you're side by side with someone it's often actually easier for them to open up to you and talk to you because they don't have to make eye contact.  

It's why a lot of parents don't mind being the taxi driver because they find that they can get a lot out of their kids when they talk to them in the car. If I want to talk to my teens, I often do a Macca's run because I know that they'll get chattier once they're in the car with me.  

So routine is really important. And you’re right that they can't do the sleep over in the outings to the movies and all the things they used to do, but we can create really sort of fun moments that they can look forward to throughout that school holiday break. 

It might be as simple as creating a movie experience at home and you make it an experience rather than just watching telly, by the props that you use. The popcorn, the Maltesers, maybe ordering some fun, little cuddle blankies.  

When you’re picking a movie, I would suggest go for something nostalgic. So, there's a lot of research that shows when we tap into things that meant a lot to us in previous years some of those good warm feelings are returned.  

So, my daughter is now 22, but one of the things that we did during lockdown was binge watch all the Twilight films again. And that was a lot of fun because she'd been young when they came out and full of excitement about Edward and Jacob. And all of that sort of funny dialogue came back to us both, and it made us both feel pretty warm. 

You can create other school holiday fun moments and opportunities by perhaps getting them to host a trivia night and challenging another family that you're all close to. There is some great templates online on Canva, if you Google trivia quiz, that you can use as templates, and you can organise that as a family, something to look forward to.  

Bring the sleepovers! I mean, it's not quite the same, but you know can have a sleep over in the lounge room, even as a family. I'm a single mom, but my son, well, he's now 19 and my daughter is now 22, but at Christmas, one of the things we do to make Christmas Eve fun, is we all go to a hotel Christmas Eve. And the reason we like that is really it's like a sleepover with the three of us all in one room, which we'd never usually do. And we wear daggy Christmas pyjamas and we watch Christmas movies and eat stuff in bed and have a giggle.  

So, you could bring that kind of idea into your home space as well and create a bit of a night of it.  

We know that doing things for others always fills up our own happiness cup. So, I'm a big believer in the power gratitude. I actually wrote a book on raising more thankful, grateful kids, and I'm doing a lot of work with my schools on gratitude at the moment. So, you might get your teens to look at a local charity that's really struggling at the moment and see how they might be able to help out. 

Dannielle Miller: 
I also do a lot of work with Women's Community Shelters – I'm their director of education – and I support nine refuges for women and children fleeing domestic violence. And this month in September, we've got our ‘chores for a cause campaign’, where we're asking young people to volunteer to do some chores around the house for a couple of bucks and donate that to their local shelter. So maybe teens might enjoy doing something like that as well. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
They all sound like really great ideas, they're not only going to help the kids. They're going to help the parents to give that sense of wellbeing and it's that moment of sitting on the couch, watching a movie together, especially if it's that nostalgic one.  

It's almost like a form of self-care taking you back to those times when it wasn't lockdown and it was happy and fun and you were a different version of yourself almost. I really think that's some great tips.

The other thing you mentioned with the gratitude, I was on your Enlighten Education website, and I'll include a link in the show notes to that website, but some of your articles on gratitude are really interesting. And I was reading one about the benefits of practising gratitude, talking about how there's that joy and the reduced depression and all these benefits that you can get out of it, which I had never really considered to that degree. 

And then I stumbled across this concept of a 21-day gratitude challenge, and I think you might've shared that in one of your newsletters. But basically, I thought, well, that's perfect, it's like the perfect timing 21 days for a school holiday break, might be a little bit too long for some people. But why 21 days? And how can kids and families take those challenges and just find one little thing a day to do to help make them more grateful for what's going on, but also reduce the boredom of lockdown by doing something in that regard? 

Dannielle Miller: 
Wonderful question. And I've been running sessions for parents on helping their child through this difficult COVID time. I've been doing some with schools regarding how to prepare them for the school holidays and I'll be doing a lot more with schools and parents about preparing to make the most of Term Four.  

And the 21-day gratitude challenge has been – interesting that you've mentioned that - one of the strategies that parents have said they love the most that I've shared – so here's the premise behind that: Why 21 days? Because we know in positive psychology that it takes around 3 weeks or 21 days to form a new habit. And that's why when you start something new at first you might not like it. If you think about maybe going to the gym, the first few times you went probably felt like a chore, but after a while, if you keep going, you really enjoy it and you miss it if you can't go for some reason. 

So, we try and stick to 21 days to form a new habit around gratitude and being thankful. And this is such a good time to practise this skill, because it does increase happiness, increase joy, but it also improves the quality of our sleep, it builds stronger connections, it's even being shown to help us manage pain. So, it's just such I can see why there's so much interest in the area.  

So, the 21-day challenge that I've put up and it is available on my website, and I'll send you the graphic as well, Nat, so you can share it on your website if you like or in the show notes. But every day for 21 days, I've listed things that I'd like us to be grateful for, to really focus on. 

So, day one, a friend, think about a friend in your life that you are really thankful for. Perhaps think about how you could express that gratitude. Write them an email, send them a text, make a phone call, let them know how much they mean to you. And I tell you, if lockdown has taught us nothing else, it is the power of human connection, and how valuable those connections are and how much we miss those people when we can't see them.  

So, expressing that can be such a healthy tool. And it goes right through to even thinking about a place that you're really grateful for, that you're really thankful for. And again, lockdown has made us miss places and made us appreciate sometimes the spaces that we have as well. So that could be a lovely little tool for families to do – a nice positive one and incredibly cost-effective. I know at the moment, some of us are really struggling with finances and that's tough too. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
Well, I'm going to leave it there, Danni, not take up too much more of your time. But thank you so much for joining us today. And as we mentioned, we'll share the links to the page in our show notes. 

Dannielle Miller: 
Can I just offer one more tip for parents, if that's all right? And that will be to put on their own oxygen masks first at the moment, right? So, self-care isn't just about thinking how we can look after our kids and their well-being, it's also about modelling that by looking after our own. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
I love that, that's a great tip. 

Dannielle Miller: 
Thanks, Nat. It's been a pleasure talking to you. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
If this discussion raises any issues for you, you can find support at Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 and Headspace on 1800 650 890. We'll also provide links to these in the show notes. 

Michael Broadstock: 
And that's it for Episode 6 of isPodcast. As promised, we're going to leave you with Awaiting Spring by Harkaway Hills College year six student Grace Sudjono.  

Awaiting Spring won the Year’s 5-6 category in this year's poetry competition. The judges said, Grace's ‘beautiful, lyrical poem, with its waterfall of vibrant words, is a joyful ride through the four seasons’. If you'd like to hear more, you can find all the winning poems and our young poets reciting them on The Parents Website. 

Grace Sudjono: 
Hi, my name is Grace Sudjono. I am in Year 6 at Harkaway Hills College. My poem, Awaiting Spring, is about the transition of the four seasons in the joy of spring after a dark gloomy winter.  

I hear the voice of Summer; 
Pinnacle of life for all seasons. 
Calling me outside, 
Into the glorious sun, 
Wrapping me in her warm, brilliant rays. 

The sunlight illuminates the ancient gums, 
Radiating its glory. 
The wattles sway 
And trip in the breeze. 

The kookaburras chuckle, 
Galahs and Lorikeets galore 
Join in the chorus, 
Singing to the tune. 

Summer, who took the throne, 

Her sister takes her place. 
Lush, verdant greens, 
Turn to vivid hues 
Of orange, ochre and gold.   

An old, dry, sharp, prickly smell, 
Hovers in the air. 
The warmth lingers;  
A persistent reminder 
Of the cold that is to come. 

Autumn falls into a slumber, 
Giving herself over to Winter. 
She sends sharp warnings to stay inside, 
Howling from the eaves. 

A mantle of frost, 
Covers the dry, dead leaves, 
That crunch like sugar underfoot. 
Beneath bare trees; naked from winter’s rasp. 
The wind bites! 

The air is frozen lace on my skin. 
The sea has surrendered her blue, 
Ocean stones are darker than ever. 

Spring melts Winter’s icy bouquet, 
Her parade in bright bloom. 
Banksias step delicately onto the stage, 
Honeysuckles soon follow. 

Trees rise to the occasion, 
Donning their best verdant hues. 
The buzzing of insects, 
The optimistic birdsong, 
Enlivens all hearts. 

Spring rests her rainbow palette, 
And sends her rain 
To kiss the rich, brown soils; 
To awaken tiny seedings 
And sing to them as they grow. 

Natalie Moutafis: 
isPodcast is brought to you by Independent Schools Victoria. It's produced and recorded by Greg Lawrence and Duncan MacLean, and presented by Michael Broadstock, Shane Green, and me, Natalie Moutafis. Our podcast theme was composed and performed by Duncan MacLean. You can find transcripts of our shows with links to what we've discussed at

You can find isPodcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.