The class of 22 kindergarten children will learn French this year using a tablet app and fun, play-based learning.
The French language lessons will be delivered to children aged four to five years old by their early childhood teacher with self-paced classes once a week starting on March 1 and running throughout the year.
Early childhood teacher Kylie Streets said a number of Goodstart centres in the Bayside area had applied to join the government’s highly successful Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program in 2017.
“Goodstart Belmont is delighted we have been approved to offer French lessons as part of our kindergarten program this year. The app looks amazing and because of its interactive features it will make learning a new language a really engaging and interesting experience for children,” Ms Streets 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 kindy children from a developmental perspective.
“Children will also have fun learning about another part of the world, broadening their cultural understanding and appreciation as an added benefit of the program.
“We have chosen to study French as that is the language being offered at the local primary school in Tingalpa, so children attending the school next year will have a boost in their confidence having already learned some of the basics of the French language at kindy,” she said.
Ms Streets said the app would also benefit educators who will learn a new language too.
“It will be a personal challenge for me to learn how to speak French but it’s exciting to embark on this journey with our kindergarten students who are already so excited to start their lessons.
“We will be introducing a number of French themed celebrations at the centre as part of our calendar of events this year to complement the other cultural events we celebrate such as NAIDOC Week, Ramadan and the Diwali Festival of Lights,” she said.
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.