Early Learning Languages Australia

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A key part of the Australian Government's commitment to supporting language study is the Early Learning Languages Australia program (ELLA). In the 2018-19 Budget, it was announced that the Government is committing further funding to continue the national availability of ELLA in preschools and to trial ELLA in schools with students in Foundation to Year 2 in 2019 and 2020.

ELLA is a digital, play-based program which includes a series of interactive applications (apps), aimed at making language learning engaging and interesting to preschoolers. The ELLA program became nationally available to eligible preschool services in 2017 and is delivered on an opt-in "bring your own device" basis.

This year, approximately 2,500 preschool services have chosen to implement ELLA, with a reach of over 80,000 children. Languages available include Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Modern Greek and Hindi.

In the 2018-19 Budget, the Government announced that an additional $11.8 million will be invested in the highly successful ELLA program. This will support the continued expansion of ELLA in preschools and will extend the program into schools through a trial for students in Foundation to Year 2 (F-2). Funding will also support the introduction of Korean, Vietnamese, Turkish and German to the ELLA application. This will fully align to all the languages in the Australian Curriculum which were nationally endorsed by all Education Ministers in December 2015.

The extended program will be trialed in up to 300 schools across Australia in the 2019 and 2020 calendar years. This is an exciting opportunity which will enable more students to access the benefits of language learning through digital technology, especially where language teachers are not available. Further information on the expression of interest for the F-2 schools trial will be made available on this webpage at a later date.  

What is Early Learning Languages Australia?

Research points to the many benefits associated with learning a different language from a very young age including cognitive, neural, visual-spatial, social and linguistic. Children who have studied languages from a young age generally perform better in literacy and numeracy tests when compared to children who have never learned another language.

The experience of learning another language and building intercultural understanding also supports children to learn to value their own cultures, languages and beliefs, and those of others. This assists to cultivate mutual respect of other cultures, which is an important value in our multicultural and diverse Australian society.

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

The preschool 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 and through age appropriate experiences and practices related to the chosen language.

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 preschool program 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.

ELLA in F-2 will be designed so that any teacher can use the program with their students, and assess outcomes against the Australian Curriculum: Languages. Teachers will also receive training (via face-to-face and online workshops) to support them to assess language learning through ELLA.

Evidence Base for the ELLA Preschool Program

The ELLA preschool 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?

Further information about the ELLA preschool program is available at www.ella.edu.au.

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

Program guidelines for the 2017–18 ELLA expansion are available. These guidelines explain how the program and its funding is managed.

General assistance on the preschool program can be provided by emailing the Education Services Australia ELLA team at ella@esa.edu.au.

For queries on the ELLA in F-2 schools trial, please email ellaenquiries@education.gov.au.