Miss Chen's blog: Recognising our fears

Little J & Big Cuz is an animated children's series that follows two Aboriginal children who live with their nanna and lovable dog. The 13 episodes explore the unfamiliar world of school and how, with the help of their teacher Miss Chen, Little J and Big Cuz navigate their first years of school life. In this regular blog, Miss Chen will be sharing some of the F-2 resources she's been using in her classroom, which are all available to download for free via the Little J & Big Cuz website.

Hi, my name is Miss Chen and I am a primary school teacher. Teaching is one of my greatest passions in life. In fact, my goal is to have my students enjoy school as much as I do! I'm the only teacher in my school so I have to work hard to ensure my F-2 program is dynamic and based around the children's interests.

While my father was born in South East Asia, my mother's family have been in Australia for generations. My mum taught me a lot about the land and the importance of Aboriginal culture but I still have lots to learn, which is why I love working closely with Indigenous elders and other families in my community.

On this blog I'll be sharing some of the exciting resources I've been using in my classroom that are all free to download on the Little J & Big Cuz educator resource page.

In today's activity, the children discussed their fears and learned strategies to begin to overcome them.

Starting school can be a challenging time – after all, there are so many new things to learn and do. Children are growing their sense of identity and this means we need to support children so that they feel safe, secure and supported (EYLF outcome 1.1).

I thought it would be helpful to explore with the children the emotion of fear, so they can begin to think of strategies to overcome their own fears and worries.

For this activity, I took the students outside into the school yard to brainstorm all the different things that scare us. Being afraid of heights, the dark, goannas and snakes were the fears that came up most often. We then discussed how we can help each other to work through the things that make us scared.

We discussed the people in our lives who can help us in difficult situations, including parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, friends, elders and teachers. Importantly, we also spoke about why it's important to be able to help ourselves to overcome our own fears. One child mentioned that being out on Country made him feel good and forget his fears, which was a really wonderful observation.

Given the children were particularly scared of goannas, we created a list of ways we can keep safe from them when we are out in their environments. A father of one of the students who happened to be our class helper that day joined in on this discussion. As a Search and Rescue worker, he often encounters these animals while he is out doing his job. He told the children that goannas are relatively harmless and should be left alone if possible. The children had lots of questions for him, which he was happy to sit and answer.

We then returned to the classroom and I had the children lie down on the carpet so I could play some music and sounds of the bush for them. We practised mindfulness as we listened to the sounds and music, and we used our imaginations to see ourselves walking through Country.

We finished off the lesson by reading the picture story book Lizard Gang by Kirra Somerville. The children loved hearing the story of a spirited gang of monitor lizards who are constantly trying to outdo each other. The lizards live deep in the Australian bush and are forced to learn the real meaning of teamwork when they have to band together to escape a raging flood. The themes in the story related to the work we'd done over the day on overcoming our fears by working together.

The resource mentioned in this blog post is directly related to Little J & Big Cuz Episode 11 ‘Nothing scares me’. It is recommended that your students view the episode before engaging in the activities listed in the resource.

Visit the Little J & Big Cuz website to view the full suite of resources for each episode in the series.