In an Australian first, NITV presents Little J & Big Cuz; a contemporary children's animation series offering a proud and positive view of Aboriginal Australia and the opportunities for learning within it, to young Indigenous kids as they prepare for school.
Featuring the voices of some of the country's most prominent Indigenous talent, Miranda Tapsell, (Little J) Deborah Mailman (Big Cuz), Aaron Fa'Aoso (Old Dog) and Ningali Lawford-Wolf (Nanna); Little J & Big Cuz follows five year old Little J and his cousin, nine-year old Big Cuz, as they explore themes of Indigenous identity, connection to country, traditional knowledge and cultural practices.
Guided by their wise and wonderful Nanna, their enthusiastic teacher Ms Chen, and accompanied by their Old Dog, Little J and his Big Cuz navigate lessons of bravado and humility, impulsiveness and patience, shame and confidence, selfhood and empathy…themes that are common to childhood everywhere.
Select episodes from this ground breaking series will also feature in six Indigenous languages including Djambarrpuyngu, Pitjantjatjara, Arrernte, Walmajarri, Yawuru and Palawa kani.
NITV Channel Manager Tanya Orman said: 'As Australia's first animation series featuring Indigenous children, Little J & Big Cuz lets Indigenous kids see themselves on screen in a positive and fun way. The series is truly wonderful and features the best Indigenous writers in the country, great directors and animators, and a truly amazing cast.
'Importantly, Little J & Big Cuz works towards demystifying Indigenous culture for non-Indigenous children and enable schools to value and share this culture and knowledge, just as much as it will demystify schools for Indigenous kids."
Little J & Big Cuz is part of a springboard strategy created by The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), with a body of written, visual and interactive teacher and family resource materials being developed. This additional resource material can be used in classrooms and the family home to stimulate discussion and encourage active engagement to enhance understanding of traditional experience and the importance and enjoyment of attending school and becoming part of the school community.
SNAICC – National Voice for our Children CEO Gerry Moore comments: 'As the national peak body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, SNAICC is incredibly proud to be a part of this project. Starting school can be daunting for any child and strong partnerships between early childhood services, schools, communities, children and their families are crucial in ensuring a positive transition experience. Little J & Big Cuz takes us all on a journey, walking in the footsteps of our little ones, as they make this important transition."
Little J & Big Cuz is a Ned Lander Media and Old Dog Pictures production, commissioned by NITV and funded by The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and Screen Australia, in association with Film Victoria, Screen Tasmania and The Australian Children's Television Foundation.
Watch Little J & Big Cuz weekly on NITV from Friday 28 April at 7:30pm, or on weekdays from Monday 1 May at 4pm.
The episodes will also be available after broadcast via nitv.org.au/littlejbigcuz