“Life is lived around meaningful experiences which are interdisciplinary in nature” (Reynolds, 2012, p.267).This statement supports the notion that children’s learning is integrated and interconnected (EYLF, 2009).
Foundation Year students will explore and compare their identities and families with children in other places. They will begin to recognise similarities, differences and connections between cultures and people from different places. When children have a positive sense of identity, their skills towards becoming active citizens are strengthened (EYLF, 2009)
Kriewaldt and Fahey (2012), acknowledge that encouraging students to make connections with their own experiences and interests is a valuable starting point to understanding self and one’s own culture, however, they also advocate for teachers to encourage students to think beyond just their own viewpoints, and begin to explore other cultures, enabling broader global perspectives to develop.
Me and my family:
To introduce exploring identities and families, the picture book: Tom Tom (Sullivan, 2008) will be shared with the class. Prior to reading, point out (on a world globe) where the Northern Territory is in relation to where the students live.
After reading: Discuss who makes up Tom Tom’s family. What does Tom Tom do with each of them throughout the day?
Ask students who makes up their own families. Who lives with you? Who else makes up your family? Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, extended step-families? When do you see them? Everyday or weekends? Discuss diverse ranges of family structure and the different roles family members can have in children’s lives.
Revisit page where Tom pretends to make a fire and he ‘imagines he is living in the old days’. Explore what this may mean. Have students investigate (through family members stories, photos) past and present ways of their families methods of cooking and heating.
Discuss the various names that Tom’s extended family called him.Talk about pet/nicknames and where or how they may have originated.
Students will (with the assistance of their family) find out the story of their birth, explore the origins of their name, and (if possible) bring along a photo to share of when they were a baby (be sensitive to students who may not have access to this background information).
People and places:
View and read (on IWB) several of the World Vision Australia Photo kit – a day in the life of 5 children. Identify on globe where the children live. Encourage students to compare and contrast the lives of the children with their own.
Have students create a picture or photo book, outlining where they live, their school, favourite activity, what they usually have for meals, chores they do around home, the weather and any other information about their daily life (students may choose to use an online tool such as Little Bird Tales). Arrange to share these stories with students in another school (for eg through a global classroom project)
Having photos/stories of other people to critically examine, provides the opportunity for students to not only notice the differences of others, but more importantly the similarities or shared aspects of the person, therefore avoiding an attitude of ‘otherness’ or ‘not like me’ mind-set to develop (Murdoch & Hamston, 2002).
The learning sequence outlined above is designed to be integrated and interconnected. However, to ensure that the lessons do not become a series of disjointed, unrelated activities without scope for students to develop strong conceptual links across the curriculum areas, the teacher needs to make sure that discussions and individual and group tasks have an even flow that maintain relevance (Nayler, 2014).
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2015). Australian Curriculum F-10. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. (2009).Belonging, being and becoming, the early years learning framework for Australia. Retrieved March 23, 2015 from https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/belonging_being_and_becoming_the_early_years_learning_framework_for_australia.pdf
Kriewaldt, J., & Fahey, C. (2012). Educating in geography and history for a global perspective. In Taylor, T., Fahey, C., Kriewaldt, J., & Boon, D. (2012). Place and time: Explorations in teaching geography and history, pp. 317-340. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson
Murdoch, K., & Hamston, J. (2002). Becoming somebody: Exploring identity and difference through an integrated curriculum. The Social Educator, 20(1), 34-43.
Nayler, J. (2014). Enacting Australian Curriculum: Making connections for quality learning. Queensland Studies Authority, Brisbane. Retrieved from https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/downloads/p_10/ac_enact_ac_paper.pdf
Reynolds, R. (2012). Teaching History, Geography & SOSE in the Primary School. Australia: Oxford University Press
Sullivan, R. (2008). Tom Tom. Adelaide, SA: Working Title Press
World Vision (n.d). School resources: A day in the life stories Retrieved from http://www.worldvision.com.au/Libraries/School_Resources/A_Day_In_The_Life_-_Stories.pdf