Time is running out for Sunshine Coast Kindergarten’s to embrace an exciting early-learning languages program being rolled out nationally for the first time this year.
Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien is encouraging local Kindy’s and childcare centres to sign up to the $15.7 million federally funded Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program before the February 26 cut-off.
Currently seven different languages are available including Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, Indonesian, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and French.
Students as young as four can use modern technology like tablet apps in a fun, play-based learning style to embrace a second language without the need for bi-lingual Kindy teachers. The program proved extremely successful during its two-year trial.
Mr O’Brien, who speaks Chinese Mandarin, said learning a language was an advantage in the modern world where business, tourism and even popular culture were no longer confined within national borders.
“Before politics I worked in international business so having a second language was a huge advantage, but on a personal level it meant so much more than that. It allowed me to connect with locals, hear their stories and learn their culture in a way I otherwise couldn’t have.
“It’s that opportunity which I’m so keen for my daughter Alexandra to share and why I’m really excited about the ELLA program,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Kindergartens select the language they’d prefer to introduce so they can choose one which aligns with the curriculum of their local primary school or one which supports the multicultural community they live in.
“Research shows that learning a new language is good for the brain and the earlier children can start learning the better.”
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said after a successful trial the Turnbull Government had invested $15.7 million over two years to make the ELLA program available across the country.
“More than 1000 kindergarten services have already applied for ELLA in 2017 and I encourage others to take advantage of this unique educational opportunity,” Minister Birmingham said.
From next year Hindi and Modern Greek will also be introduced.
Applications close February 26, 2017 5PM (AEST).