Literature review

Literature review relating to the current context and discourse surrounding Indigenous early childhood education, school readiness and transition programs to primary school

31 Jan 2016

Since the educational experiences of Aboriginal Australians are often framed from a ‘deficit’ perspective, whereby the failures of Indigenous people to engage with the mainstream educational system are seen as the ‘problem’, an alternative approach to Indigenous early childhood education discourse is preferable. This alternative approach highlights the strengths that many Aboriginal children possess when commencing school, strengths that may result from Indigenous child-rearing practices. Consequently, this literature review utilises a strengths-based perspective for Aboriginal early childhood education and school readiness, noting that Aboriginal children are frequently expected to adapt to a foreign educational system whereby school expectations differ from that of their home environment. The role that television can play in assisting Indigenous children to adapt to and understand Western school environments will be discussed in this review. However, it is important to acknowledge that transitioning to school is a holistic, relational process that occurs over a period of time before and after the very first school day, thus requiring not only children to be ready, but schools as well. The failures of some mainstream educational systems to adapt to the needs of Aboriginal children commencing school need to be acknowledged if Aboriginal children are to experience a successful transition to school. Ultimately, the main purpose of this literature review is to provide an overview about the factors that ensure an effective transition to school for Aboriginal children and the role that television can play in achieving it.

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