Gypsy the Snail
Principal theme: The meaning of home and belonging
Snail is strong and thoughtful. She is a wanderer and moves around a lot, although she takes her time and is very mindful as she goes. Snail carries her home on her back. She loves her home. It is her sanctuary. It ensures that wherever she travels, she feels safe and secure. Should a storm approach
she can retreat into her shelter until the weather improves. Should she feel disorientated, or lost she finds refuge in her shell. Carrying her home on her back also ensures storage for what she collects on her journey. Snail leaves a trail behind her that tells of her life. Should she or anyone look over her shoulder, shining in the moonlight, is clues to who she is and where she finds herself now.
Frankie the Platypus
Principal theme: Cultural identity and prejudice
Platypus was deeply sad. For as long as he could remember he had felt different from everyone else. Despite some resemblance to others, no one fully accepted him. His peers at school teased and bullied him because he looked different. He felt alone, and ashamed. Some days he wished
he wasn’t around anymore. It wasn’t until he grew older and moved to a bigger river that he found some friends and began to realise that there was strength in his diversity, as he could draw from many rich aspects of himself. After this, he came to love his uniqueness.
Jaz the Chameleon
Principal theme: Adaptability and the dynamic and shifting nature of self
Today Chameleon embraces his many-coloured selves. Once it was difficult for him. Chameleons hatch from eggs, without ever meeting their parents. They are abandoned, before birth. Without guidance and help from parents as he grew, Chameleon struggled to know how to be in the world.
He quickly worked out that blending in was his best strategy. He did this for so long he began to feel invisible. He grew to feel dull and empty. Finally, he met some friends who encouraged him to experiment bit by bit with his colours. He grew in confidence and with time and practice today he
shines as he embraces his changeable self
Principal themes: Love, Nurture and collectivism
The chick’s parents worked in pairs to incubate and then care for their child when hatched. The chick rests on the feet of the parent under layers of fat to keep warm and safe. Parents collectively huddle together to ward off icy winds as they protect their children. They take turns being on the outside of the huddle. When babies are old enough, both parents bravely seek food for their child. Upon their return they listen out to recognise amongst hundreds of chicks the cries of their own child. This is the strength of their bond.
Angela Weller is the General Manager of Therapeutic Services Program at Australian Childhood Foundation. This program delivers national therapeutic and counselling services to children and their families, who have experienced abuse and trauma. She is a Social Worker who has worked at the Foundation within both the therapeutic and professional education programs.
She has an interest in the impact of abuse related trauma on children, and in particular has been active in supporting the welfare sector to consider the needs of children who have experienced family violence.
She has a deep commitment and passion to consider ways that children can feel safe, heard and loved again after their experiences of abuse. This commitment can be seen in her work developing innovative theoretical and practice based approaches and policies to support healing in children.