Behind closed doors unfolds a story of neglect. An eight year-old girl lives alone with her mother and dreams of a better life beyond the walls of their small and dingy apartment. Isolated and lonely, the girl's only friend is her doll, Polly.
From her window she can see other children playing happily in the park and desperately wants her own mother to take her to the swings. But hopes for a normal childhood collide with the reality of her mother's dark world.
Her mother works nights and sleeps by day, and despite best intentions, struggles to properly care for her daughter. As each day passes the girl is increasingly exposed to the destructive forces in her mother's life.
When an invitation arrives to a family picnic in the park, it seems like the perfect chance to get out of the apartment and do something with her mother. Her mother promises to take her – but so far life has been a series of broken promises. Maybe this time things will be different.
This study guide to accompany Polly and Me, a short fiction film by Shark Island Productions, the makers of the documentary The Oasis, has been written for senior secondary students. It provides information and suggestions for learning activities in English, Drama, Health and Human Development, Media, Religion and Society, VCE VET Community Services and curriculum projects exploring social justice issues in contemporary Australian society.
Polly and Me could also be shown to teachers as part of professional development sessions addressing student welfare and pastoral care. Some of the questions and activities in this study guide will be of use to organisations, community groups and counselling services that protect children who have been neglected and abused.
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