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Information brochure for parents/guardians

Language, culture, understanding. It all starts in preschool.

Unlock their world through language.

What is ELLA?

Educator at preschool using ELLA says "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."

ELLA is a fun and easy digital language program for preschool children. The program is an Australian Government initiative aimed at encouraging more students to study language.

In 2017, the program was successfully integrated into more than 1800 preschools across Australia. It has had overwhelmingly positive feedback from families and educators. It is again available to all Australian preschools in 2018.

ELLA aligns with the Australian Government's screen time recommendations for young children, with a maximum of 40 minutes per week across multiple small sessions. For more information, please visit the website.

Your child's preschool is set to offer ELLA as part of its preschool or kindergarten program in 2018. There is no cost to you.

How does ELLA work?

ELLA introduces children to learning a new language via interactive tablet apps, which have been developed in consultation with experts in languages, early childhood and technology. The Polyglots are a cast of characters who - through play-based learning - introduce the children to words, sentences and songs in another language. The apps draw on the interests and activities of young children, such as celebrations, cooking experiences, art activities, building and role-play.

Your child's preschool has selected one of nine languages for the children to learn: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek or Spanish. ELLA will create opportunities to enrich the language and culture in the apps through other activities such as cooking, stories or music, or inviting family and community members to share their cultures at the preschool.

All ELLA apps are aligned to the learning outcomes in the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), a key component of the Australian Government's National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care.

What are the benefits of ELLA?

Family of child using ELLA says "My child counts to 10 in Indonesian and so does his younger sister, and she doesn't even attend preschool."

Using ELLA has shown multiple benefits for children.

Children will expand their knowledge of how language works and apply these skills to other literacy tasks, such as listening carefully to sounds in words. These skills will be used when the children learn to read and write. ELLA will help develop foundation skills, such as learning colours, counting and greetings.

Research has shown that exposing children to language learning at an early age encourages them to continue language studies during secondary school.

Family of child using ELLA says "[My child] comes home keen to apply new words that he has learnt at school in the home context. He is even teaching his two-year-old sister to count in French. He often describes things in French."

Playing with the ELLA apps helps children develop and use cognitive and social skills. They will share the tablets and their knowledge, interact with and help each other.

Language learning improves memory, concentration and critical-thinking skills. Using the ELLA apps increases children's digital skills, too.

ELLA also creates opportunities to celebrate culture and diversity, to share home languages, and to strengthen links between families and preschool services.

Family of child using ELLA says "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."

Your child's participation in ELLA

ELLA is being implemented at your preschool in 2018 as part of the preschool/kindergarten program. However, it is your choice as parent/guardian whether your child participates in ELLA.

If your child participates in ELLA, you can expect the following things:

  • Their first name and photo will be added to the tablet devices as their personal login/avatar. This information will only be accessed by your preschool and ESA, and will be deleted from the tablet devices at the end of the year.
  • Your child will have the opportunity to use the apps on a tablet device as part of program activities at your preschool.
  • Usage data will be collected on the tablet devices during your child's sessions and will be sent electronically to ESA periodically, where it will be stored securely. The data relating to your child will be de-identified; that is, particular data will not be linked to your child.
  • Aggregate data, analytics and results from the ELLA program (none of which identify your child) may be included in ESA and Australian Government reports. This de-identified data may be made publicly available and could be used to inform future government policy on early learning of languages in Australia.

Regarding online safety, the ELLA apps work within a closed system in your preschool - the apps are not available to the public and are not able to be used to communicate with anyone outside the preschool.

You are encouraged to discuss any concerns about the ELLA program with your child's preschool in the first instance. If you do not want your child to participate in the ELLA program, you should inform your preschool in writing.

Privacy notice

ESA and the Australian Government Department of Education and Training respect the privacy of individuals, protect personal information and comply with relevant Australian privacy laws. In summary, we only collect personal information where it is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, administering the ELLA program. We will only use personal information for the purposes for which we collected it or as otherwise allowed or required under law, and disclose personal information where we are allowed or required to do so under law. We protect the privacy of your child and the security of their personal information, and when personal information is no longer required we destroy or delete it in a secure manner.

The complete privacy policies of ESA and the Australian Government Department of Education and Training provide more detail on the collection, storage, use and disclosure of the personal information that we may hold about your child and how you can access or seek to amend that information.

If you have any queries about privacy, contact ESA at privacy@esa.edu.au; PO Box 177, Carlton South, Victoria, Australia 3053; or 03 9207 9600.

Further information about ELLA

Talk to your child's educator, visit the ELLA website, or email the ELLA helpdesk at ella@esa.edu.au.

ELLA is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training and is managed by Education Services Australia. © 2018 Commonwealth of Australia, unless otherwise indicated. This material, other than Commonwealth trade marks in The Polyglots characters and The Polyglots logo, may be used in accordance with the Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0 licence, unless otherwise indicated.

Education Services Australia logo, Australian Government Department of Education and Training logo