Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA)
ELLA is a play-based language learning program for preschool children. This Australian Government initiative inspires children by driving a genuine interest in a new language and culture.
What are the benefits for children?
Education experts have found that there are many benefits in learning additional languages at a young age, including:
- Increased reading and writing skills
- Cognitive improvements – It supports their literacy and can even improve memory and concentration.
- Strengthened brain development
- Improved problem solving skills
- Social and emotional development – Children learn to respect diversity as they learn about new cultures
Learning in another language gives children a richer understanding of how languages work and fosters their literacy skills. For those children already fluent in another language, it can bolster self-esteem and strengthen cultural identity.
The language program recognises that by encouraging diverse language skills in our kindergarten services Victorians can build stronger local communities and prepare children for an increasingly connected world later in life.
Dr Montessori believes children have their sensitive period of language, a transitory specific time span, before the age of six. Furthermore, as this sensitive period is transitory, once gone it will never come back.
It is a period when our children have the inner need of language learning and are driven to learn languages with joy and ease. After this period, the child still can learn a new language, but with greater difficulty.
In common parlance we say that a child can “pick up” a language just by hearing it. This fact is so well known that many families engage foreign governesses in order that their children will grow up with bilingual capabilities.
In Hoppers Crossing Montessori Centre, we have a number of teachers and educators who are bilingual. We have educators from diverse background who speak the following languages: German, French, Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese, Hindi, Punjabi, and others.
Currently we are delivering German Language in our Kindergarten Program by an early childhood educator in collaboration with existing kindergarten teachers.