25 September 2023

Early language program walks the talk

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The Department of Education and Training is to expand its Early Learning Languages Australia program (ELLA) to allow an extra 30,000 children across Australia’s schools learn a second language.

Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham said an additional $11.8 million would enable the number of preschools participating in the program to double to 5,000 and would extend it into 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,” Senator Birmingham said.

“We’re now looking to build on this success by doubling the number of preschools involved and carrying it through into the early primary school years.”

He said exposure to another language and culture could also have significant developmental benefits to children, as it has been linked to better English and problem-solving skills.

“We’re 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,” Senator Birmingham said.

“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.”

The Minister said ELLA used fun and play-based digital applications to engage children in language learning and was currently available in Hindi, Modern Greek, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish.

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