After successful trials over the past two years, which cost the government $9.8 million, the government has put a further $5.9 million behind the Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) apps, which will help pre-schoolers learn Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Indonesian, French and Japanese, Italian and more. Modern Greek and Hindi will be added to the apps in 2018.
The apps are available on mobile tablet devices and use play-based learning to encourage children to develop recognition of the different sounds and concepts of another language. The government will also provide $500 to 1000 preschools from disadvantaged areas to allow them to purchase mobile tablets and participate in the program.
“We know life-long learning begins from the youngest years and our $15.7 million investment in the languages app highlights the Turnbull government’s commitment to reviving the study of languages throughout Australia’s early education centres, schools and universities,” said minister for education and training Simon Birmingham.
“The ELLA program has been extremely popular with children, parents and educators and it’s exciting to see it not only expanded to a national rollout but to also include an additional four languages,” he added. “We live in a globalised world and initiatives like the languages app are vital to supporting our children to take full advantage of the new opportunities our economic transition presents. It is particularly encouraging to see in what many describe as the ‘Asian Century’ that almost two in three students are studying the vital languages Chinese and Japanese.”
For more information visit www.ella.edu.au. Preschool applications for the program close February 26, 2017.