Drumming in excess and chaos: new possibilities for literacy and sustainability learning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract


For children born in the 21st century, the enmeshing of natural and human forces in the survival of the planet requires conceptual and practical innovation. This paper comes from a project funded by the Australian Research Council investigating the integration of literacy and sustainability in early years learning. The methodology employed was 'deep hanging out', in which the purpose is to observe without bias or assumption. This paper focuses on a video from a preschool depicting children playing drums and percussion instruments outside. The drumming ebbs and flows in intensity, children come and go, rhythms merge then diverge; a chaos of sound and vibration, a refrain of rhythm, movement and bodies, driven by the excess of the earth's energy and musical force. Amidst such cacophony children communicate their sense of the world - with drums, each other, earth, themselves - sustained by the vitality of place, the materiality of drums and sound, the energy of earth, and the movement of bodies. In this example, literacy and sustainability are challenged and extended, offering possibilities for producing new knowledge about literacy and new understandings of sustainability as young children develop their capacity as future citizens and leaders.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAARE conference proceedings
EditorsGeorgina Barton
Place of PublicationDeakin, ACT
PublisherAustralian Association for Research in Education
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event2017 AARE Conference - Hotel Realm, Barton, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 26 Nov 201730 Nov 2017

Publication series

NameAARE conference proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)1324-9320


Conference2017 AARE Conference


  • sound
  • vibration
  • drumming
  • materiality
  • intra-action


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