Almost 500 preschool children across Barker will be given the opportunity to learn a second language this year, thanks to the Turnbull Government’s Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program.
Member for Baker Tony Pasin said it was encouraging to see so many Barker preschools taking part in the program.
“We know the positive impact learning a second language can have on a child’s engagement and development,” Mr Pasin said.
“This will be the start of a life-long interest in language learning for these children while at the same time boosting their English and problem-solving skills.
Once such preschool taking part in the program which kicked off this month is the Murray Bridge Community children’s centre, where 20 preschool children are learning Spanish.
Mr Pasin visited the centre this week to speak to educators and students about how the program was going.
“It’s fantastic that the Murray Bridge Community Children’s Centre have signed up to this program. It’s giving these children a head start in languages as well as valuable skills that can be applied to other learning,” Mr Pasin said.
“I was thoroughly impressed with the enthusiasm of the children and how fast they have pick things up and embraced the program,” said Mr Pasin.
The program, which is backed by $15.7 million in funding from the Turnbull Government, now includes nine languages, with the introduction of Hindi and Modern Greek this year, in addition to Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said more than 80,000 children at almost 2500 preschools across the country will take part in the program.
“The enthusiastic feedback we’ve been getting from educators and parents means this year we’ll have record numbers of children learning a second language in our preschools,” Minister Birmingham said.
“Exposure to another language and culture can have significant benefits on children from a young age – it expands their horizons and opens up exciting opportunities around the world when they reach the workforce.”
ELLA began as a small trial of 41 preschools in 2015 and is a digital, play-based program where preschool children use a series of interactive applications (apps).
It is designed for use by educators who do not have formal language training and extensive support. Training and resources are provided to assist educators in the effective delivery of early language learning and cultural awareness.
The Turnbull Government has also provided 1,000 support grants of $500 since 2017 to contribute towards the purchase of tablet devices to support participation by preschools in disadvantaged areas.
More details about the program can be found at www.ella.edu.au.
Contact: 8531 2466