Children's class going high-tech
ABOUT 120 children at three preschools in the Whitsundays will learn a second language this year.
Cannonvale's Little Gekos Early Learning Centre is seven weeks into learning Indonesian and the children are loving it, according to educator Amy Henseleit.
Thanks to a grant from the Australian Government, the preschool was able to purchase a tablet device to use the Early Learning Languages Australia app to make learning interactive, easy and fun.
"I try to give the kids about 10 minutes' individual time on the app throughout the week as to limit screen time,” Ms Henseleit said.
"I've had positive feedback from parents so far.
"It works as a great lead-in to our learning about other countries and the kids are like sponges at this age.”
Director of the centre Joan Hunter said in her 22years of experience in childcare, technology had enabled children to learn faster than ever before.
"We chose Indonesian because we have a staff member with Indonesian heritage and in our community we have Indonesian families.”
Cannonvale Kidz Early Learning Centre was part of a trial of ELLA three years ago and has continued to teach Japanese in that time.
Nominated supervisor Oonagh Keane said the centre continued to use the program with its kindergarten age group on three iPads purchased by the service.
"The children engage in the program both individually and as a whole group, with a maximum of 40minutes' screen time per week across multiple small sessions. This aligns with the Australian Government's screen time recommendations.
"Playing with the ELLA app helps children develop and use cognitive and social skills.”
C&K Whitsunday Community Kindergarten children will also be learning Chinese through the app next term.
Member for Dawson George Christensen said it was encouraging to see Whitsunday preschools taking part in the program.
"We know the positive impact learning a second language can have on a child's engagement and development,” he said.
"This will be the start of a life-long interest in language learning for Whitsunday children, while at the same time boosting their English and problem-solving skills.”