ELLA for Early Learning

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  Published on Tuesday, 14 August 2018

ELLA for Early Learning

Library Home  >  Approaches to Early Childhood Education
  Published on Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The government recently announced it would expand funding for the Early Learning Languages Program (ELLA) into a larger number of early learning settings and primary schools to make it possible for more young children to experience a second language.

In announcing the additional funding, Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham, said more than 80,000 children in 2500 preschools across Australia have already been introduced to a second language via ELLA and they are expanding the program.

"We're now looking to build on this success by doubling the number of preschools involved to 5000 (including long day care programs offering preschool programs) and carrying it through into the early primary school years.

"ELLA is about getting kids engaged and interested in learning a language from an early age, expanding their horizons and hopefully getting them to follow through this study as they progress throughout their education," he said.

The revamped ELLA Program also includes an expanded range of language options, with Korean, Vietnamese, Turkish and German added to the current selection of Hindi, Modern Greek, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish, all community languages which have been endorsed by education ministers in the Australian Curriculum.

The ELLA program is freely available to early childhood services, however you will need a WiFi connection and a suitable device on which to run the program. ELLA is a play-based program which includes a series of interactive applications aimed at making language learning engaging and interesting to preschoolers.

According to the Department of Education, the ELLA Program was initiated in light of the growing body of evidence to support the benefits to children of learning a different language, including cognitive, neural, visual-spatial, social and linguistic.

Research has also shown that children exposed to different languages at a young age do better in literacy and numeracy tests when compared against children who have never learned another language.

In multi-cultural Australia the opportunity to learn another language can also improve inter-cultural understanding and may support children to better appreciate their own culture, language and beliefs as well as those of others.

The ELLA Program includes a suite of materials and resources to support the effective delivery of language learning in early childhood services, these include apps for educators and families, resource material and educator support networks.

The preschool apps have been customised for language learning on mobile tablet devices and provide children with the opportunity to develop recognition of the different sounds and concepts of another language through play-based learning.

Children are immersed in the chosen language and introduced to words, sentences and songs through age appropriate exercises similar to how they would learn their native language in the home environment.

In addition, the language activities in each of the preschool program apps are aligned to the learning outcomes in the Early Years Learning Framework.

The ELLA Program is free for early learning services to join and includes:

  • Access to seven apps in your language of choice: currently, Arabic, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese or Spanish. Each app includes fun, play-based language learning experiences.
  • A Liaison Officer to support your preschool in implementing ELLA, and a staffed helpdesk is available 9–4 (AEST) weekdays.
  • A step-by-step Program Guide.
  • Educational reporting and 'I can' statements, which can be used to share children's learnings with families.
  • Language and culture overviews provide your preschool with background information about the language and culture.
  • Posters to promote ELLA at your preschool.
  • Regular newsletters, which offer tips and information on how to make the most of ELLA.
  • A Facebook group for sharing tips and experiences with other early learning services.
  • An Educator App offering background information and practical advice for implementing ELLA.
  • A Family App so children can use the app at home and share their experiences and families can learn more about the program.

Read more and sign up here.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2020