EVERY pre-schooler in Far North Queensland will have the opportunity to learn a foreign language with Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch announcing that applications for the popular Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program are now open.
Local preschools are encouraged to apply as the play-based app for devices like iPads, is rolled out nationally.
“The Polyglots app is an innovative program that has already seen around 10,000 children across the country learning new languages and better understanding other cultures,” Mr Entsch said.
Trials of the program have been popular with children, parents and educators and Mr Entsch said it was exciting to see it expanded nationally and also including an extra four languages.
“In addition to Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian and Arabic, preschool children will be able to learn Spanish and Italian from next year, and Modern Greek and Hindi from 2018,” Mr Entsch said.
“Seeing and hearing young children counting, following recipes and singing in a language that isn’t their native tongue, you understand how engaging this app is and why it’s had such positive feedback from kids, educators and families.
“Local preschools Bayview Heights Community Kindergarten, Balaclava Kindergarten and Redlynch Kindy are already involved in the ELLA program and benefit from the Polyglots app. It would be great to see more preschools put their hands up and give children in our region the opportunity to develop new language skills.”
Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said the apps were an important element of the Turnbull Government’s efforts to encourage young Australians—regardless of where they live—to learn a second language.
“The Turnbull Government is committed to backing evidence-based programs, programs that inspire students, that involve families in learning and that are useful for educators – ELLA ticks all of those boxes,” Minister Birmingham said.
“As the Asia Education Foundation’s Senior Secondary Languages report has shown, the proportion of year 12 students studying another language has dropped from 40 per cent in the 1960s to just 12 per cent today, which is why it’s encouraging that Australian children – and parents alike – have taken to the Polyglots apps with such enthusiasm.”
The application round for preschools to take part in the program in 2017 opened on the 14th of November 2016, and closes on the 26th of February 2017.
The Turnbull Government has committed further funding of $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 access The Polyglots.
For more information and to apply, visit: www.ella.edu.au.