What is ELLA?
'It has been one of the best learning experiences of my 25-year teaching career. I am in awe daily of how quickly the children learn and have loved this learning.'— Educator participating in ELLA
Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) is a fun, digital, play-based language learning program for children in preschool. It helps children to become more comfortable with different languages early in life so that they can stay engaged with learning languages in later years.
Children in the ELLA program learn language through applications ('apps'), called The Polyglots. The apps are used on tablet devices and have been specifically designed for preschool children. They are currently available in nine languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek or Spanish.
ELLA is part of the Australian Government's commitment to supporting language study in Australia.
About 2500 preschools (80,000 children) are participating in the 2018 ELLA program. View a list of participating preschools.
Evidence of ELLA's effectiveness
Independent analysis reveals the unprecedented success of the ELLA apps in introducing preschoolers to a language other than English. Reports by Deloitte Access Economics and Swinburne University of Technology Babylab clearly indicate that ELLA is effective in introducing new languages to preschool children, in raising their awareness of other cultures, and in engaging their interest in learning different languages.
Three-quarters of educators stated they have more confidence in incorporating language learning into their preschools after implementing ELLA. Close to 90 per cent of educators expected children to continue to demonstrate an interest in learning about additional languages in later years of schooling.
Download and read the reports:
Evaluation of ELLA 2016 trial, Deloitte Access Economics
ELLA demand modelling, Deloitte Access Economics
Evaluation of the ELLA apps, Swinburne University of Technology
Watch ELLA in action
What are the benefits of ELLA?
Introduce a new language at your preschool. You'll be amazed at what unfolds!
ELLA has many benefits for preschool children. Children:
- are introduced to words, sentences and songs in a language other than English
- have opportunities to recognise sounds and concepts of the language
- gain language experience and practice appropriate for their age
- gain ICT skills through using the tablet devices.
'Learning the language together is great for teacher/child relationships – it's wonderful for the children to see the adults learning and fosters true collaboration. It empowers the children. We both respect each other's knowledge.'— Educator participating in ELLA
Educators have reported benefits for them too, including:
- increased confidence in incorporating language learning and digital technology into their programs
- opportunities to learn language alongside the children in a collaborative way
- entry points for family and community members to share their cultures at the preschool.
Families have reported children using the language at home, and out and about:
'We travelled overseas and my child was doing cannon-balls into the swimming pool counting in Japanese to 10 before jumping in the pool. The Japanese tourists were highly excited that he could do that at 4 years of age.'
'I took him to a Lebanese restaurant, and he ordered his drink in Arabic (like the character does in the app, I think), and he used Thank you and Bye. And the waiter said his pronunciation was very good. Amazing.'
'[My child] comes home keen to apply new words that he has learnt at school in the home context. He is even teaching his 2-year-old sister to count in French. He often describes things in French.'— Families participating in ELLA
Watch how preschools have introduced language and tablets
What do you get when you join the ELLA program?
- Access to seven apps in your preschool's choice of language: currently, Arabic, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese or Spanish. Each app includes fun, play-based language learning experiences.
- A Liaison Officer is available to support your preschool in implementing ELLA, and a staffed helpdesk is available 9–4 (AEST) weekdays.
- The step-by-step Program Guide makes participating in ELLA easy.
- Educational reporting and 'I can' statements can be used to share children's learnings with families.
- Language and culture overviews provide your preschool with background information about the language and culture.
- Posters are available to promote ELLA at your preschool.
- Regular newsletters keep you informed and offer tips for how to make the most of ELLA.
- A Facebook group and a forum site enable you to find tips and share experiences with other preschools.
- Educator App: Find background information and practical advice for implementing ELLA.
- Family App: Families can download the Family App to try one of the learning experiences at home, and to learn more about ELLA.