Local preschools in the race to trial foreign language app


For a select group of pre-schoolers in Mareeba and Atherton, the unique opportunity to learn a language other than English could be on the cards thanks to a new play-based learning app.

Northern-based LNP Senator Ian Macdonald said QT’s Early Learning Centre in Mareeba and Atherton Children’s Centre have been invited to formally apply to participate in the next round of the Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) programme later this year.

“Last year, more than 1,000 preschools across the country applied to be part of the first trial of the language app, with only 41 centres selected to participate in the trial. Now all of those centres, including these two local centres, have another chance to get involved in trialling the app that exposes children to Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, French or Arabic languages,” Senator Macdonald said.

Senator Macdonald said it was important that children in regional centres were provided with the same opportunities to participate in unique learning experiences as their metropolitan peers.

“Across the Kennedy electorate, there were a total of 11 centres who expressed an interest last year, and I hope they show the same interest this time around,” Senator Macdonald said.

Centres in Mt Isa, Cloncurry, Innisfail, Ingham and Charters Towers will be among those invited to nominate for the second round.

“As we witness the potential of Northern Australia being unlocked, there are a myriad of opportunities that await the next generation in years to come, and exposing them to a language other than English is a fantastic place to start their learning journey,” Senator Macdonald said.  

Services that expressed an interest in the first ELLA trial last year have until March 4 to lodge an application to be part of the next round.

To get involved, children must participate in the year before full time school and be taught by a quality early childhood teacher.

Preschools provide their own devices and meet their own WiFi and internet costs, with the Government doing the rest.

For a copy of the ELLA guidelines and to formalise participation in the ELLA trial visit https://www.education.gov.au/news/early-learning-languages-australia-ella-programme-expressions-interest-now-open.

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