18 October - 27 October 2024


Children’s Week presents the Meerilinga Podcast: Positive Childhoods

Welcome to our Children’s Week podcast: Positive Childhoods.

Join us each Children’s Week as we explore the Children’s Week Themes.
This year’s Article 31 is:
“All children have the right to relax play and take part in activities they enjoy”

In 2023 we came back for Season 3! You can listen to all episodes below:

You can listen to all episodes below:
(If you have any issues with the podcast player, you can also listen to the podcast here):

Goya Zheng, the WA Manager of PlayMatters

Goya Zheng is the State Manager for WA working for Sing&Grow – Play Matters Australia. She is a registered music therapist who first became involved with Sing&Grow as a student in 2014 before coming on board in 2016. She enjoys working for an organization that is all about the ‘heart and science of play’.

This conversation with Goya is a delight! We hope you enjoy learning more about the Sing and Grow program and how it helps children and communities.

Sarah Quinton, Development Executive at the Valuing Children Initiative

Sarah is a former journalist turned political campaigner, community organiser, media adviser and strategic communications specialist and has worked for Government Ministers and Senators, unions and the not-for-profit sector. Most recently she campaigned for greater funding into community mental health supports managing the Prevent Support Health campaign for the WA Association for Mental Health and ending homelessness with the WA Alliance to End Homelessness.

As a storyteller, Sarah has used her skills to develop podiums for children to have a voice in public education, mental health and suicide prevention, and housing and homelessness.
As a local government councillor, Sarah advocated fiercely for family and children services in her community, including safe spaces for new parents and playgrounds for children.
This conversation meanders through lots of stories and a fascinating look at how children’s voices are central to developing progressive systemic change.

Ed Gonzalez, The Bridge Project:Dads

Ed is a passionate father of four children, two teenagers and two under-3’s. Founder of The Bridge Project: Dads, a space where he dreams of, creates and facilitates experiences for new and becoming dads.

He’s also a professional counsellor specialising in relationships and a parenting facilitator.

This conversation with Ed focuses in on the experience of Dads, and how we can support them in their vital role in their children’s lives.

Robyn Monro Miller, CEO Play Australia

Robyn is CEO of Play Australia, an organization that works to protect the rights of children to play. She’s also World President of the International Play Association (IPA),  and is an outstanding leader and advocate of play.

This conversation is full of fascinating science about the power and importance of play.

David Zarb, CEO PlaygroupWA

Since 2008 David Zarb has been the CEO of Playgroup WA, an organisation focussed on developing positive social connections through play. Initially qualified as a social worker he has worked with children, families and communities for over 30 years. This work has informed a passion for supporting and acknowledging the role of families and communities in the nurturing of healthy and happy children. Over the 17years he has worked exclusively in the early years, including managing two WA Communities for Children sites. David has served on many Boards and advisory groups at local, State and National levels.

This conversation with David is a delight, although the sound quality isn’t great – apologies for that! We hope you’ll love hearing David’s stories and his wealth of knowledge.

In 2022 we came back for Season 2! The new theme was “Children have the right to a standard of living that is good enough to meet their physical and mental needs”, this time with SEVEN new episodes and EIGHT new guests. These episodes are airing during Children’s Week 2022 from 24 October until the 4 November.

In 2021 we launched Season 1 of the podcast, exploring how “Children have the right to choose their own friends and safely connect with others”. We heard from guests Dr Emma DeCicco, David Walker, and Devinder Singh.

The production of this podcast is kindly sponsored by the Western Australian Department of Education and Lotterywest.


Episode One with Nola Allen - Early Literacy Expert

Nola Allen has worked in the library and education sectors for almost 40 years, specialising in services for children and families.  From 2004 to 2013, Nola was the Program Coordinator of the State Library of Western Australia’s Better Beginnings Family Literacy Program.  In this role she collaborated on the initiation, development and implementation of this award-winning state-wide literacy initiative which promotes reading and book sharing with children from birth.  With a special interest in the fields of children’s literature, literacy and reading promotion, Nola has co-authored two children’s books and writes for professional journals and publications.  Nola is a long-standing committee member of the Children’s Book Council of Australia and a past CBCA awards judge. Nola has recently worked as a research assistant for ECU on an early literacy initiative and currently consults to local governments and libraries on community publishing projects and library programming for families and young people.

If you’d like to contact Nola for further information, please reach out to marketing@meerilinga.org.au for her contact details.

Nola has also provided us with some recommended books and further reading that can be downloaded here.

Share that love that you have of the book with the children that you’re with – and be genuine about it

Read the transcript for Episode One here.

Episode Two with Dr Daniel Moss - Emerging Minds

Dr Daniel Moss has been working as a manager in Workforce Development at Emerging Minds for five years. Previously he worked as Assistant Director, Performance, Reporting and Evaluation at the Department for Child Protection. In this role, he worked closely with the Early Intervention Research Directorate to explore the social determinants of child disadvantage and child protection involvement.

Dan has also worked for Uniting Communities for fifteen years, as a practitioner, supervisor, and senior manager in a range of services with children, parents and families dealing with the effects of family violence, child sexual abuse, mental health conditions and drug and alcohol use.
Dan’s PhD thesis included research on approaches to men’s behaviour change programs and a creative writing component.

Read more about the work of Emerging Minds here: emergingminds.com.au

Our hope is that every child has the opportunity for someone within their lives… who has a real eye to their mental health

Read the transcript for Episode Two here.

Episode Three with Dr Kelsie Prabawa-Sear - Nature Play WA

Dr Kelsie Prabawa-Sear has spent her life in roles dedicated to conservation, supporting children, and building community in State government, consultancy, and work with various not-for-profit organisations. She has completed a Master’s in Environmental Education for Sustainability and a PhD on The Impact of Culture in Environmental Education in Java, Indonesia.
She’s recently taken up the role of CEO at Nature Play WA and is passionate about the health and well-being of the children of WA.

Find out more about the work Nature Play WA is doing here: www.natureplaywa.org.au/ 

“More recent research is showing us around how time in nature can set us up– time in nature as a little one can set us up to be more resilient as an adult.”

Read the transcript for Episode Three here.

Episode Four with Veronica Metcalf - Anat Baniel Method Neuro Movement

Veronica Metcalf lives on a small farm in Crossman, near Boddington WA with her husband, three kids, and a menagerie of animals. While looking to help their eldest so Toby, who has cerebral palsy, Veronica discovered the Anat Baniel Method Neuro Movement, and ended up taking the training and becoming a practitioner. She has a passion for the natural environment and is currently addicted to weaving baskets from both recycled and natural materials

Find out more about the Anat Baniel Method here anatbanielmethod.com, or through the WA Facebook page

“They need to have connections with themselves first and then anyone around them and place, a connection to place, and they need space to be them. I think a lot of us are on that bandwagon, and I’m equally to blame, you have a vision of what your kids are going to be as they grow up and that’s fine. But they’re actually them

Read the transcript for Episode Four here.

Episode Five with Emma Cross - Curtin University

Emma Cross is a PhD candidate and the Course Coordinator for the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at Curtin University and is also a researcher with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child. Her research interests include leadership structures and how these lead to the empowerment of Early Childhood educators, resulting in quality outcomes. Emma also actively researches the digitisation of childhood and how this influences young children’s creativity. Emma is a Western Australian ECA Branch committee member and co-chair of the Leadership in the Early Years sub-committee. Emma is also the Secretary for OMEP WA. Emma utilises social media to promote equitable access to research and evidence across the sector

Read more about Emma’s work here: www.digitalchild.org.au/

It is really important that we give children a voice and allow them to make decisions on matters that affect them

Read the transcript for Episode Five here.

Episode Six with Thomas Docking and Alan Wolfe - Dads Group

Thomas Docking is the founder and the CEO of Dads Group, a charity set up to bridge the gap between what’s provided for new mothers and what’s provided for new fathers in the perinatal space.

“There’s so much learning that happens there [at Dad’s Groups] but from a really kind of healthy, community, shoulder-to-shoulder in a men’s health approach so to speak.”

Alan Wolfe is a proud father of two children who started a Dads Group here in Perth WA. This has evolved into the creation of both the Belmont Dads and Hilton Dads groups.

“You’re not only connecting with your other fellow dads, you’re learning and you’re sharing the journey. Within our community, we then make wonderful connections with our families, so our partners get to be in touch.”

Thomas and Alan are both very passionate about supporting fathers so they can, in turn, be the best support possible to their spouses and families.

Read the transcript for Episode Six here.

Episode Seven with Carole Parker - Accredited Dietician

Carole Parker is an accredited practicing dietitian who holds a Masters degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. Carole has worked in the field of nutrition since 2009. She currently works as a mobile private practice dietitian and supporting families under the NDIS and Community Diatects. She’s also a guest presenter at Meerilinga Training College, presenting nutrition in the early years to the students studying Diploma or Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. Prior to this, Carole was also involved in the development of Meerilinga’s Toddler Tucker Project, a nutrition program for Aboriginal families and their carers.

We want [children] to develop healthy habits that may continue through their life

Read the transcript for Episode Seven here.

Our thanks to the Western Australian Department of Education and Lotterywest for their support of Season Two of the Positive Childhoods podcast.


Episode One with Dr Emma DeCicco - BPsych, Psy.D, MAPS

As a passionate advocate for proactive mental health measures, Emma’s focus is on providing the highest standard of evidence-based practice, which is always founded on building a strong relationships.

I have training in lots of acronyms, be it CBT, ACT, EFT, DBT or EMDR and they certainly come in very handy! Underneath it all, however, is one human holding a safe space for another human, walking alongside them for that time in their journey, helping them along the way.

Read the transcript for Episode One here.

Episode Two with David Walker - Community Fathering WA, The Fathering Project

David is a father of five and works for The Fathering Project here in Western Australia, managing the Community Fathering program in Armadale. David works closely with 11 schools in Armadale to help create activities that help fathers and father-figures to build stronger relationships with their children via activities in the school.

We don’t have all the answers. As our children develop and grow in age we need to develop and grow our parenting skills as well. Being around a community of other dads – having a group of other men that you can reach out to, to ask questions – is really important.

Read the transcript for Episode Two here.

Episode Three with Devinder Singh - Creative Director/Podcasting Hub Australia, Strategic Advisor for Disability Services

Devinder moved to Australia 11 years ago and is a single father to a three-year-old daughter. Growing up in India, he is fluent in four languages, the fourth being English. Devinder works in the not-for-profit sector as a Strategic Advisor around disability services and is the Creative Director at Podcasting Hub Australia.

The first thing that was very in my face was the colour of my skin when I landed [in Australia]. And it still is today. But I see is the difference in the young people and children of this world, they don’t see colour. And that’s very powerful.

Read the transcript of Episode Three here.

The production Season One of this podcast is kindly sponsored by the Western Australian Department of Education and Lotterywest.