Early Learning Languages Australia Program 

Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) Program is an Australian Government initiative to support language learning for preschool children. Only children enrolled in a preschool program in the year before starting school are eligible to participate in ELLA. The trial of ELLA was conducted in 2015. All of our three child care centres have run the ELLA program since 2016. In 2017, one of the following seven languages can be chosen: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.


Research shows that learning languages develops children’s overall literacy and strengthening literacy-related capabilities can be transferable across other learning areas. ELLA provides children a head start towards studying languages at school. This program enables children to become more comfortable with different languages early in life, so that they stay engaged with language learning during their later years.

ELLA is a series of interactive applications (apps) on tablet devices. The apps have been developed in consultation with experts in languages, early childhood and technology. The program provides children the opportunity to develop recognition of different sounds and concepts of another language through play-based learning. Children are introduced to words, sentences and songs in the chosen language. The apps draw on the interests and familiar experiences of children, such as celebrations, cooking experiences, art activities, building and role-play.


The apps are interactive, providing immediate visual and audio prompts / feedback to children and they can progress through the program at their own pace. However, we limit our children to spend up to 40 minutes per week on the ELLA apps across multiple short sessions because the Australian Government’s screen time recommendations for children 2 to 5 years of age should be limited to less than 1 hour per day.


Our children enjoy engaging in the program with their friends and find learning language fun. ELLA is one of their shared interests. When they use the apps, they love to say the words and sing the songs together much more than when they are on their own. ELLA provides opportunities for children to be exposed to new languages, which helps them develop an interest and respect towards diversity.