There are four ELSA play-based, inquiry led learning apps for preschool children (linked to the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the Australian Curriculum: Foundation), a resources app for educators and an information app for families.
The ELSA apps focus on two foundational STEM concepts spatial reasoning the highest predictor of success in STEM, visual art, vocational, manufacturing and technical careers; and logical reasoning which will help children develop resilience, persistence and problem solving skills.
In 2018, the ELSA pilot involved 97 preschools, 400 educators and 4,000 children across Australia. The pilot has been extended in 2019 to around 110 pilot preschools to provide even more children access to the ELSA learning apps.
Early learning educators will continue to play a significant role by providing STEM learning experiences for children at their preschools that encourage them explore, experiment and make sense of the world.
More information about the ELSA pilot is available on the Early Learning STEM Australia website.
The Early Learning Languages Australia program (ELLA) program is a digital, play-based program which includes a series of interactive applications (apps), aimed at making language learning engaging and interesting to young children in preschool and the early years of school.
Since 2014, the Australian Government has invested $27.5 million dollars in the Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program, which is delivered by Education Services Australia.
The ELLA program has been developed in consultation with experts in languages, early childhood and technology and is aligned with the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian Curriculum: Foundation. The program introduces young children to languages other than English in an early learning setting, using play-based apps, to encourage language learning in later years. The apps are designed for use in preschool classrooms, for delivery by trained early learning educators.
Research shows that learning languages develops children's overall literacy, strengthening literacy-related capabilities that are transferable across learning areas. A number of independent analyses have demonstrated the success of the ELLA apps in introducing young children to a language other than English.
Since ELLA was first trialled in 2015, the program has been expanding every year. In 2019, over 110,000 children in 3,500 preschool services across Australia are taking part in the ELLA program and are learning one of the eleven available languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Due to the continued growth and success of ELLA in the early learning sector, ELLA is now being extended in schools through a three-year trial with children in Foundation to Year 2. Over 300 schools across Australia are taking part in the trial. This is an exciting opportunity which will enable more students to access the benefits of language learning through digital technology, including where language teachers are not available.
This year the ELLA apps are being developed in Korean and Turkish, to fully align ELLA to the languages included in the Australian Curriculum, nationally endorsed by all Education Ministers in December 2015.