Since 2018, Greenwood Primary School has been facilitating language learning in Kindergarten through the digital, play based program Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA). In 2019, Greenwood Primary School was selected to take part in a three year trial of introducing ELLA into classrooms from Pre-Primary to Year 2, making our students some of the first in the nation to study language and culture through the program. As the trial comes to an end in 2021, the school will continue running the ELLA program for all students in Kindergarten to Year 2 to support their learning of the Indonesian language and culture.
An Australian Government initiative, ELLA engages our students in the early years through a series of fun apps. Having observed the benefits for students early on, the school provided each class from K-2 with a set of iPads, allowing easier access to the program. Greenwood Primary School’s early childhood teachers have incorporated the iPads and ELLA apps creatively into their programs. Students can be observed participating in hands on play and learning experiences linked to ELLA’s games, songs and activities.
The ELLA program allows Greenwood Primary School teachers to record data and track the progress of individual students in all 11 apps, with each app containing four to five learning experiences. The ELLA program has helped the school to better meet the learning needs of each student and identify student achievement. ELLA’s learning outcomes have been developed to align with the Early Years Learning Framework and elements of the Australian Curriculum for Foundation to Year 2.
ELLA continues to provide a suite of ongoing support services to the school’s educators to ensure the program remains fresh and motivating for the educators implementing it and for the students engaging with it. Greenwood Primary School’s lead ELLA teacher received recognition from the Australian Government Department of Education and Training for developing a hands on lesson based on a game in app 1, which extended and enhanced numeracy concepts in Kindergarten children with the use of coding and robotics.
Through the implementation of ELLA, the teachers are expanding their student’s knowledge of how language works and are applying these skills to other literacy tasks, such as listening carefully to sounds in words and speaking. Our students connect these skills when learning to read and write. ELLA is also helping develop our students’ foundation skills, such as learning colours, counting and greetings. Playing with the ELLA apps helps our students develop cognitive and social skills as they interact with each other and share knowledge. Our Early Childhood teachers also find using the ELLA apps for language learning improves the student’s memory, concentration and critical thinking skills. ELLA helps the school in creating opportunities to celebrate culture and diversity, to share home languages and to strengthen links between families and the school.
At Greenwood Primary School, students from Year 3 through to Year 6 attend Indonesian lessons with a specialist teacher. The ELLA program has been found to be an exciting and innovative way of introducing language learning as well as raising awareness of other cultures and diversity with young children.