Early Learning Languages Australia


A key part of the Australian Government’s commitment to supporting language study is the Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) Program.  ELLA is a series of interactive applications (apps), aimed at making language learning engaging and interesting to children in preschool. Applications are now open for all eligible preschool services in Australia to join the ELLA Program in 2017.

The Australian Government has announced that $5.9 million will be provided to make the ELLA program nationally available to all preschools from 2017. In addition, Spanish and Italian will be added to the suite of ELLA apps available in 2017. In 2018, Modern Greek and Hindi will be added to the list of languages available.

From 2017, the program will be delivered on an opt-in “bring your own device” basis, and will include funding support to assist 1,000 preschools from disadvantaged areas throughout Australia purchase devices ($500 per service) so they can participate in the program.

The Government provided $9.8 million to trial ELLA in 41 preschool services in 2015 to determine the effectiveness of children learning a language through apps without a proficient language teacher. A total of 35 apps, consisting of seven unique apps for each of the five languages, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Indonesian, French and Japanese, were developed.

Following a successful evaluation, nearly 300 preschool participated in ELLA in 2016.

Preschools are now able to apply for the 2017 ELLA Program. To find out the eligibility criteria and to apply, please visit the ELLA Program website

What is Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA)?

Research shows that learning languages develops children’s overall literacy, strengthening literacy-related capabilities that are transferable across learning areas. It also provides children with a head start towards language study at school. This program will enable children to become more comfortable with different languages in preschool so that they stay engaged during their later years.

The ELLA program includes a suite of materials, including apps for educators and families, resource material and educator support networks, developed through the ELLA trial to support the effective delivery of early language learning in preschool services.

The apps have been custom developed for language learning on mobile tablet devices. The apps provide children the opportunity to develop recognition of the different sounds and concepts of another language through play-based learning. Children are introduced to words, sentences and songs in the language and through age appropriate experiences and practices in the language.

The apps have been designed to consider the needs, interests and capabilities of children in preschool. The apps provide opportunities for children to learn through interaction with a rich variety of experiences.  The apps encourage collaboration, between peers and with educators as co-learners.

The language activities in each of the apps are aligned to the learning outcomes in the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), a key component of the Australian Government’s National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care. A copy of the EYLF can be found on the Department of Education and Training website.

Where can I find more information?

For frequently asked questions, please refer to the Questions and Answers (Q&As)

Further information about the ELLA program for 2017, including eligibility and online applications, available at the ELLA Program website. Applications for the 2017 program close on 26 February 2017.

Program guidelines for the 2017–18 ELLA expansion are now available. These guidelines explain how the program will be managed and program funding. 

General assistance can be provided by contacting the ELLA team via email.