The ACER Little J & Big Cuz Initiative was developed with Aboriginal worldviews and knowledges and the Early Years Learning Framework (2009). This focussed partnership between Western knowledge and Aboriginal knowledge intends to strengthen Aboriginal early childhood education by ensuring that transition from early childhood to school is supported by the inclusion of Aboriginal worldviews and knowledge. We acknowledge and recognise the diversity of the two distinct groups of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their worldviews and knowledges, and the importance of working with and alongside them as educators.
Via engagement with Aboriginal worldviews and the Aboriginal pedagogy of storytelling we have worked in partnership with various stakeholders to develop the resource of the animated television series Little J and Big Cuz. This animation resource is aimed at giving Aboriginal children ‘glimpses’ of what school can look like during a transition and an everyday school programme.
The outreach early years education resources have been developed as a springboard – a starting point with the intent that educators consult and work alongside families and communities to develop a curriculum that is culturally appropriate. Taking a consultative approach is a proactive way of ensuring that Aboriginal children and families are actively participating and contributing their Aboriginal worldviews, knowledge and ideas as their learning evolves (EYLF, 2010, p.10).
Country and its importance for Aboriginal children’s identity and wellbeing is the central tenet of Aboriginal children’s education. It is through Country that all children (and importantly, educators) can learn the importance of Aboriginal worldviews as well as the past, present and future knowledge that Country continues to hold for Aboriginal children, families and communities. It is here that the Little J and Big Cuz television series and accompanying education resources can act as a guide.
The emphasis for educators is on learning with local and broader community through respectful and reciprocal relationships. The episode-specific early years education resources extend on the themes of everyday life experiences and Aboriginal worldviews and knowledges, with a specific emphasis on play-based learning that recognises the importance of communication and language (including early literacy and numeracy), and social and emotional development (EYLF, 2009, p. 5).
The resources are accessible for all early childhood education learning spaces, including but not limited to: family day care; play groups; kindergartens; preschools; long day care settings; before- and out-of-school settings, and parents. Though the target audience is Indigenous children transitioning to school, the resources – being rich in Indigenous worldviews, knowledges, pedagogies and curriculum – can enrich any child’s or family’s or community’s understandings of Aboriginal communities and Country, and are thus important for all children and educators.
Researched and written by Priscilla Reid-Loynes, Indigenous Education Consultant for ACER, Little J and Big Cuz - Initiative
Little J’s new undies have special powers - so how can he play basketball without them?
After a run of good luck, especially the chance to play in the big kids’ basketball game, Levi convinces Little J that his bright new undies have special powers. So how can Little J possibly play after Old Dog chews the Lucky Undies to bits?
Big Cuz tricks Little J into believing that the Giant Wombat is not extinct.
Beware of tricking Big Cuz – she’ll always trick you back! Little J and Levi are astonished to find footprints from the extinct Giant Wombat, unaware they’ve been fooled. But maybe the tracks will lead to something truly amazing.
Little J frets that his dream of being an acrobat is not the RIGHT dream…
Little J dreams of being an acrobat, while the other kids want to be rescue workers like Uncle Mick. When Jacko and B Boy join Little J’s backyard circus, they try to persuade Little J to put on a show, but he’s worried about being laughed at…
On their quest to the beach, Little J, Nanna and Big Cuz struggle to find what they need before sunset.
When the power goes off, Nanna takes the kids to the beach to catch a feed and cook it in a fire pit. But will Big Cuz ever hook that fish and willLittle J find that extra special something for Show and Tell?
Little J gets confused hunting bush tucker when he follows his own tracks.
Little J boasts he can find bush tucker for the whole school. The plan backfires when he tracks his own footprints. Luckily, Nanna shows him
“proper way”, but a sneaky Goanna steals the bush tucker. What’s Little J going to take to school now?
When the ‘big kids’ won’t play with him, Little J creates a tantalising adventure – in the back yard.
Little J is sure Sissy has come to play with Big Cuz and him. Shocked when he’s not included in the girls’ games, Nanna urges Little J to come up with his own game. But can he create something enticing enough to make Sissy and Big Cuz want to play with him?
When B Boy comes to stay, Little J is miffed - until they work together caring for an injured baby kangaroo.
Little J is put out when B Boy comes to stay. But when the boys rescue an injured kangaroo “joey”, they’re going to have to get along so they
can take good care of baby Hopalong.
Aaron the class mascot is missing…and Little J fears he’s lost in the desert.
Little J’s desert adventure with class mascot Aaron the footy doll is a great success. But next morning, Aaron is missing. It seems Little J has lost Aaron. Will Uncle Mick be able to safely rescue Aaron?
Little J is convinced there’s a real live monster in the backyard.
Little J enlists Levi’s help to build a monster trap in the back yard, convinced that the scary growling pink shape he saw in the dark is a monster. But why is Old Dog missing - and where is Nanna’s pink dressing gown?
Can Big Cuz face dancing in front of the school, and will Little J ever see his caterpillar again?
Little J is upset when his precious caterpillar disappears. But Big Cuz is even more upset - Sissy has arranged for the two of them to dance in front of the whole school. Can she ever find the courage?
Little J knows there’s something that scares him but he’s even more scared of being found out.
Little J is thrilled to be at the beach with his hero Uncle Mick. When Little J gets stranded on a rocky outcrop he can’t possibly let on that he’s scared of heights. But maybe Uncle Mick has something he’s scared of too …
Big Cuz and Little J must put aside their differences to outwit a territorial magpie.
Big Cuz is fed up with Little J messing up her side of the room, so she creates a border that he is not allowed to cross. But when the backyard is taken over by a swooping Magpie, the kids must unite to outwit him.
Fascinated by an owl in the backyard, Little J turns nocturnal with disastrous results.
Little J becomes nocturnal to watch a barking owl in the backyard. But the next day he’s exhausted – and falls asleep at ridiculous times and in strange places. Now it looks like he’s going to sleep through all the fun of the sleepover…