Sacred Heart Primary School in Thornlie has been facilitating language learning in the early years through the digital, play-based program Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program.
Now in their third year running the ELLA program for Japanese, the school is observing benefits for children in kindergarten that extend through to pre-primary.
The ELLA program uses tablets and apps to help children learn and use new vocabulary in their learning program. New words are taught through visuals, games, songs and activities to build language recognition and children’s engagement.
Sacred Heart Primary have creatively incorporated their iPads and the ELLA ‘Polyglots’ apps with other hands-on elements to support the learning experience, such as observational walks through the school’s Japanese garden, and a party area decorated by students and staff where different coloured streamers represented Japanese words.
Parents have been invited to engage in the learning through a whole-school open night, and staff at the school have observed peer tutoring between students participating in the program.
The ELLA program allows educators to record data on demonstrated outcomes for individual students, helping the school to better meet the learning needs of each child. The learning outcomes are aligned to the Early Years Learning Framework and elements of the Australian Curriculum for Foundation to Year 2.
Japanese classes are taught at the school through to Year 6, and the ELLA program has been found to be an innovative way of introducing language learning as well as raising awareness of other cultures and diversity with young children.