The application round for preschools to participate in the 2017 Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program is now open. For the first time, all preschool services in Australia can apply to participate in the ELLA program.
ELLA consists of a series of apps that have been developed for use by children on tablet devices to encourage preschoolers to develop an interest and understanding of other cultures, as well as to encourage ongoing language learning in later school years.
The Polyglots are fun play-based apps that draw on real-life situations for use with children in preschool services in the year before schooling.
They have been developed in consultation with experts in languages, early childhood education and technology.
From 2017, the apps will be available in two new languages, Italian and Spanish. These will join apps in Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian and Japanese. In 2018, Modern Greek and Hindi will be added to the list of languages available.
The apps have been designed so that there is no need for the educators to have any knowledge of the language being taught. In addition to the apps for children, there are Educator and Family apps to provide guidance to support the child’s learning development.
The Australian Government committed $5.9 million to make ELLA available nationally in 2017. This includes up to 1000 grants of $500 for preschools in disadvantaged areas to purchase devices so they can participate in ELLA.
A trial of the apps in 41 preschool services around Australia in 2015 proved successful in engaging young children and introducing them to language sounds and concepts. This year, nearly 300 preschool services and over 8000 children have been participating in ELLA, which have also been well-received by the wider community.
For more information or to apply visit the ELLA website.