When Old Is New: Exploring The Potential Of Using Indigenous Stories To Construct Learning In Early Childhood Settings

Year: 2007

Author: Van Staden, Christina, Watson, Rashmi

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Incorporating traditional indigenous stories in the Early Childhood Curriculum carries a powerful message of cultural diversity and change - from the past denigration of Indigenous South-African and Aboriginal cultures to appreciation and reinstatement of such cultures today. Storytelling has the ability to create the right learning environment for early childhood students. In this paper a report is given of an exploratory study of the traditional South African and Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, which are seen as possible vehicles and innovations to educate students in Early Childhood in Australia and South Africa. These stories will also be used to find links with different Learning Areas in the Early Childhood Curriculum. Exemplars of such exercises are illustrated by means of the South-African, Wolf who wants to fly and Australian, Indigenous Bularool and the Bunyip (A Test of Wisdom) stories. The reason for working across two continents is that in South Africa, as well as Australia, indigenous stories were kept alive over generations by orally transmitting them. Some comparisons between these two countries are made after exploring this approach by means of the two exemplars.