Teacher resources: Little J & Big Cuz returns for fourth season

The award-winning children’s TV series Little J & Big Cuz is returning with a brand-new season premiering on 8 July.

Season 4 will follow main characters Little J and Big Cuz on new adventures across 10 episodes. The series models the day-to-day running of an early primary classroom and aims to support Australian First Nations children and their families with the transition from home to school.

Little J & Big Cuz has been a joint project of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), Ned Lander Media, NITV, Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Screen Tasmania, the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and SNAICC – National Voice for our Children. The new season will premiere during National NAIDOC Week – the annual celebration to recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

A resource for teachers

Many themes are explored through the show and the Little J & Big Cuz website has also published teaching resources for preschool and F-2 educators.

ACER’s Lisa Norris, executive producer on Little J & Big Cuz, told ACER’s Discover: ‘They were designed to empower educators in preschools and the early years of primary school to embrace and have confidence in introducing First Nations’ knowledge into the curriculum, and their classrooms. They cover all kinds of themes and topics, from weather to celebrations, games and dinosaurs, to the stars and beyond. There’s something in there for everyone.’

For past seasons, Teacher has featured blogs from Miss Chen, a primary school teacher in the series. In these blogs, Miss Chen explores some of the F-2 resources, for example, being a good friend, understanding Australia’s animals and literacy in the early years.

Back in 2019, a study found the series bolsters pride and identity in Australian First Nations children, along with supporting learners' emotional wellbeing and teacher improvement. The ACER study, which includes case studies and a literature review, notes that ‘Educational television can have a crucial role in ensuring that the transition process is effective for Indigenous children. … It can open up a child's worldview and assist children to understand diverse contexts that differ from their home environment, such as schools.'

The study also found all episodes at the time were recognised as supporting social and emotional development, and some received special mention from educators: Lucky undies, Wombat Rex, Big plans and Goanna at my homework.

First Nations language translations

Each episode will be available to watch in English and 17 Australian First Nations languages. Season 4 sees 2 new First Nations language translations – Kuku Yalanji and Kalaw Kawaw Ya – added to the existing 15: Arrernte, Pitjantjatjara, Djambarrpuyngu, Walmajarri, Yawuru, palawa kani, Warlpiri, Torres Strait Creole, Gija, Noongar, Wiradjuri, Kunwinjku, Roper Kriol, Luritja-Pintupi and Dhuwaya.

In season 3, Kriol was featured for the first time. This was made possible through translation by students at Ngukurr School, in the Katherine Region, as part of a real-world education project. Upper primary and secondary students worked on translating the English scripts with Greg Dickson, manager of Meigim Kriol Stongbala (Making Kriol Strong), a program administered by Yugul Mangi Development Aboriginal Corporation. We spoke with Greg Dickson back in 2021 about the project.

Little J & Big Cuz season 4 premieres on Monday 8 July 2024 at 6:05pm on NITV and ABC Kids. The series will also be available to stream on ABC iview and SBS on Demand.

As an early years' educator, what external resources do you utilise to help students, and their families, with the transition to school?