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 closed for participation in the 2017 ELLA Program. Over 1,900 preschool services applied to deliver the ELLA program this year, with Chinese (Mandarin) being the most popular language chosen for implementation.  

The Australian Government has announced that $5.9 million will be provided to make the ELLA program nationally available to all preschools from 2017, following successful trials over 2015-16. 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 to 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. Initially, a total of 35 apps were developed, consisting of seven unique apps for each of the five languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Indonesian, French and Japanese.

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 is available at the ELLA Program website. Applications for the 2017 program have now closed. Information on the 2018 ELLA program will be added in late 2017 for preschools wishing to participate next year.

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.