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. Nearly 1,900 preschool services will deliver the ELLA program this year, in one of the following seven languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian, Italian Japanese and Spanish.

The ELLA program became nationally available to all preschools in 2017. Spanish and Italian have been added to the suite of ELLA apps from 2017 and Modern Greek and Hindi will be available from 2018.

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.

A new measure announced in Budget 2017 is the English Language Learning for Indigenous Children (ELLIC) trial which is based on the successful ELLA model. The Australian Government has committed $5.9 million from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to help improve English literacy outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children for whom English is a second language. For more information please visit English Language Learning for Indigenous Children.

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 and 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.

ELLA has been designed to consider the needs, interests and capabilities of children in preschool. The program provides opportunities for children to learn through interaction with a rich variety of experiences and encourages 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.

Evidence Base for the ELLA Program

The Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program’s design and implementation is underpinned by the findings of a number of independent evaluation and research reports.

These reports include:

  1. Evaluation of ELLA 2015 trial, Deloitte Access Economics
  2. Evaluation of ELLA 2016 trial, Deloitte Access Economics
  3. ELLA Demand Modelling, Deloitte Access Economics
  4. Evaluation of the ELLA apps, Swinburne University of Technology

To find out more about these reports, please visit the evidence base page.

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.