The Government is providing $9.8 million for the Early Learning Languages Australia trial, which is trialling innovative online early learning languages software, with minimal reliance on access to proficient language speakers.
In 2015, 41 services providing a preschool programme are participating in the one year trial using custom developed language learning play-based applications (apps) on mobile tablet devices. The languages chosen for the trial take into account Australia’s trading and investment partners, those in the Australian Curriculum and the major languages other than English spoken in Australia. The languages included in the trial are Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, Indonesian, French and Arabic.
More than 1600 preschool age children are directly benefitting from this initiative. Through the innovative apps these children are developing recognition of the different sounds and concepts of a language other than English through play-based learning. Children are being introduced to words, sentences and songs in the language and will be provided an age-appropriate experience and practice in the language other than English. The language activities in each of the apps are aligned to the learning outcomes in the Early Years Learning Framework, a key component of the Government’s National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care.
To date, three apps have been released to the participating sites: The Polyglots in the Playroom, The Polyglots at the Beach, and The Polyglots at the Birthday Party. The remaining apps will be rolled out progressively to participating preschool services throughout the 2015 school year.