The Federal Government has announced an expansion of its successful Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program into schools, inspiring an extra 30,000 children across Australia to learn a second language.
Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) uses fun and play-based digital applications to engage children in language learning and is currently available in Hindi, Modern Greek, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish.
Speaking at Rhodes Central Preschool Kindergarten in NSW, Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham and Member for Reid, Minister Craig Laundy, said the government’s $11.8m injection into the program would double the number of participating preschools to 5,000 and extend the program to 300 primary schools.
“We’ve already seen some great results from the ELLA program, with more than 80,000 children in about 2,500 preschools across Australia being introduced to a second language through the use of our digital apps,” Birmingham said.
“Exposure to another language and culture can have significant developmental benefits on children – for example it has been linked to better English and problem solving skills.”
Birmingham said the government is also expanding the language options to include Korean, Vietnamese, Turkish and German to fully align with the languages endorsed by all Education Ministers in the Australian Curriculum.
“These new languages mean preschools and schools can pick from 13 of the world’s most common languages to give children a taste of the world and set them up with skills that will set them up for the future,” he said.
Minister Laundy said it was great to see over 20 children at Rhodes Central Preschool Kindergarten reaping the benefits of the ELLA program by learning Hindi.
“This is a very exciting educational program and I encourage local preschools and schools in Reid to follow the lead and get involved in the expansion of the ELLA program,” Laundy said.
“Learning a second language like Hindi opens up a new world of opportunities, and we need more young children to develop language skills early in life so they can carry that through to primary school and beyond.”
In Reid alone there are 19 preschools with more than 500 children taking part in the ELLA program and learning languages like Spanish, Italian, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi and French.