Young children at child care centres in Australia have a fantastic opportunity to learn new languages, with the help of an online program called ELLA.
ELLA stands for Early Learning Languages Australia, and is an Australian Government initiative designed to teach pre-school age children to speak a foreign language and explore different cultures.
The digital program is designed with children in mind, which is why it’s completely play-based. Free for centres to use, it comes with a choice of 13 languages.
- Chinese (Mandarin)
- Modern Greek
This year, the program is launching both Korean and Turkish, which will bring it into line with the Australian Curriculum (so children can continue to study that language when they attend school).
Already, more than 2,500 preschools are using ELLA. The best part is that it doesn’t matter where they are based, as it’s all digital.
Geraldine Hickman is the Centre Manager from Bluebird Early Education Soldiers Hill, and they use ELLA to teach Japanese to the children.
‘We have a lovely lady who teaches our children Japanese,’ shares Geraldine.
‘The parents and children love the program. The children are always telling their parents the new words they are learning or singing them the song they have been practising.’
Geraldine says that the children were quite excited to have the opportunity to learn their name in Japanese.
‘The children are always excited when they see the Japanese teacher,’ says Geraldine. ‘They look forward to what they will be making or learning this week.’
The fact that the opportunity to learn Japanese is completely free and included in the centre’s fees means that Geraldine has regular positive feedback from the parents.
When it comes to choosing the language that the centre will teach the children, it often comes down to having educators that are native speakers, or being located in an area that has a large proportion of speakers of that language. The centres have the option to choose which language suits them best.
You can find out more about the ELLA program, or find child care for your little one by typing your suburb in the search box at the top of the page.
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