8 November 2014
Member for Bennelong John Alexander MP has confirmed the Top Ryde Early Learning Centre has been chosen as one of forty sites across Australia selected to take part in the Abbott Government’s trial of a second language in the year before school.
John Alexander says “the $9.8 million Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) trial aims to help generate an interest in language studies which can be built on in later years”.
“Given there were more than 1000 applicants for the forty locations, let me congratulate the centre and their educators for taking on this really important early learning initiative”.
“Almost one-in-five Australians speak a language other than English at home; the enormous interest in this trial clearly backs our Government’s desire to promote language studies from the early years through to year 12”, Mr. Alexander said.
Top Ryde Early Learning Centre will use play-based apps, focussing on one of five languages (Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian, Arabic or French) with the final language allocation to be confirmed before the trial starts next year. The 2015 ELLA trial will run across 12 sites in NSW, nine in Victoria, eight in QLD, five in WA, three in SA, and one each in Tasmania, the NT and the ACT.
They include a mix of metropolitan, regional and remote centres across various preschool models, including government-run, standalone community-based and long day care. The ELLA software is still in development phase with the first series of apps rolled out in time for the trials beginning early next year.
Mr. Alexander said “Bennelong has many different nationalities. Top Ryde Early Learning is an example of this so this app with its variety of languages is highly useful and the children get to learn another language without the need to bring in specialist language teachers.”
Psychologist and Top Ryde Early Learning Centre co-director Nesha O’Neil welcomed the launch of the trial. The idea of a play-based app with a program of immersing them in a second language is brilliant, Ms O’Neil said. “The age of three and four is when there is the most amount of brain development, and it is absolutely appropriate to learn a language.” Ms O’Neil
Ms O’Neil said children as young as three were highly susceptible to pick up languags and research showed it also helped children develop a better understanding of English grammar.
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