GYMPIE region preschoolers could soon be greeting each other in another language with the Goomboorian Play Along Activity Centre one of 40 centres in Australia participating in an upcoming second-language trial.
The $9.8 million Early Learning Languages Australia trial is investigating the value in fostering an interest in language studies among preschool-age children.
Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss made the announcement yesterday and said an early interest in another language could "be built upon in later years of schooling".
"There were more than 1100 organisations that applied for the 40 available locations in this trial, and this illustrates the significance of this initiative," he said.
Goomboorian Play Along Activity Centre's nominated supervisor Anna Doyle only fired off an email signalling her centre's interest in the pilot program a few months ago.
Ms Doyle was excited that the centre's selection in the trial would put her preschoolers at the national forefront of research into childhood education.
"This is a fantastic opportunity," she said.
"This really puts us a step ahead and gives us a role in determining what will come from the trial."
The Goomboorian Play Along Activity Centre is no stranger to language studies, already incorporating some of the trial's principles into its daily routines.
Two preschoolers with French and Punjabi heritage respectively have prompted the preschool to explore the joy of learning about other cultures and languages.
"The kids love it and take pride in being able to say words in another language," Ms Doyle said.
Some of the centre's older children are learning nursery rhymes in other languages while the younger children are learning simple greetings that they then eagerly share with parents at the end of the day.
"The parents just say 'wow' and can't believe it," Ms Doyle said. "Everyone has been very positive."
The language trial involves eight other sites throughout Queensland, including government-run and community-based preschools in addition to long daycare centres.
Preschoolers will use play-based apps, focusing on Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian, Arabic or French.
For more details on the trial visit http://www.education.gov.au/early-learning-languages-australia.