Mandarin lessons on the agenda
Children at Goodstart Broadmeadow and Gateshead will join more than 30,000 children from throughout the country learning a language as part of a national early learning program.
At Broadmeadow, 22 preschool children, who will head off to school next year, will learn Mandarin using a tablet app and fun, play-based learning. At Gateshead 34 children will take part.
The Mandarin language lessons will be delivered to children age four to five years old by their early childhood teachers.
Broadmeadow educator Marisa Miller said she was delighted her centre had been selected to join the government’s highly successful Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program in 2017.
“The app looks amazing and because of its interactive features it will make learning new language a really engaging and interesting experience for children,” Ms Miller said.
“Research shows that learning another language helps develop and strengthen children’s overall literacy skills, which are transferable across other learning areas such as problem solving, so we see enormous benefits for our preschool children from a developmental perspective.
“Mandarin is the second-most spoken language in Australia so it makes sense for the children to start learning it," Ms Miller said.
Gateshead’s centre director Amanda Smith said children would have fun learning about another part of the world, broadening their cultural understanding and appreciation as an added benefit of the program.
“We surveyed our parents before deciding on our language and the overwhelming feedback was that they’d like to see their children learning Mandarin."
Ms Smith said the app would also benefit educators who will earn a new language too.
“It will be a personal challenge for our teachers to learn to speak Mandarin but it’s exciting to embark on this journey with our preschool students who are already so excited to start their lessons.“
Did you know?
Nearly 300 preschools participated in Early Learning Languages Australia in 2016. The program was such a success, the Australian Government recently announced that $5.9 million will be provided to make the ELLA program nationally available to all preschools from 2017.
This year more than 30,000 children across the country are expected to learn Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese or Spanish. In 2018, Modern Greek and Hindi will be added to the list of languages available.