This year the Kindergarten students are taking part in an Australian Government initiative called Early Learning Languages Program (ELLA). The program, created in consultation with experts in language, early childhood education and technology, is designed to introduce second language learning in the early years of schooling. The program consists of interactive iPad apps with a cast of characters called the Polyglots. It is a fun, play-based approach to learning words, sentences and songs in a second language.
The ELLA apps are aligned to the learning outcomes in the Early Years Learning Framework and help the children develop and use cognitive, social and technology skills. Learning a second language has been proven to boost memory, concentration and critical-thinking skills. Since the program is designed to cater to the interests of young children, the students can expect a range of language-based experiences around celebrations, cooking, roleplays and much more. It also creates opportunities to celebrate cultural diversity within our community and promote global awareness.
To coincide with Harmony Day, on Wednesday 21 March, Fahan launched our ELLA Japanese language learning program in Kindergarten. Dressed in Yukata and holding lots of Japanese toys and regalia, Enright Sensei came to introduce some Japanese words and to teach a Japanese greeting song. The girls were engaged and had a wonderful time singing the new words. As five-year-old Ella explained: “On the iPads Mrs Wiggins showed us a new app we are going to use from ELLA. ELLA is like my name! It is all about colours like pink and green in Japanese and learning new words.”
Mrs Enright and Mrs Wiggins, and their students, are looking forward to an exciting collaboration on the program throughout the year. “We learnt some Japanese with Enright Sensei. Enright Sensei gave us some special toys like a special wooden doll, a bear and a soft doll. There are also a pair of old thongs! The bottom of the thongs are hard. We are learning new words that we didn’t know before.” Said four-year-old Charlotte.
Head of Junior School, Amanda Evans says Kindergarten students are most excited about using their iPads to access the ELLA Program. “Participating in Harmony Day and learning about Japanese culture has sparked great interest amongst our community of learners. I know these resources will be well used and well loved. I anticipate our Kindergarten students will be looking forward to sharing some of their new knowledge when they welcome students from the Tokyo Jogakkan cultural exchange program into their classroom later in the year.”