Western Sydney Uni wins ARC Linkage Project grant to continue ECEC language programs
The Sector > Provider > Western Sydney Uni wins ARC Linkage Project grant to continue ECEC language programs

Western Sydney Uni wins ARC Linkage Project grant to continue ECEC language programs

by Freya Lucas

October 27, 2022

The Little Multilingual Minds (LMM) Research program will receive more than $359,000 in funding over the next three years thanks to a successful Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project grant awarded to a research team led by Western Sydney University.


Funding will be used to establish and continue research-driven heritage language learning programs for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in Sydney and Melbourne.


LMM has been created in response to the needs of Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse families to boost children’s heritage language skills and education opportunities during early childhood.


A successful pilot Spanish program was launched in 2021 at Amigoss Spanish Bilingual Childcare Glebe in Sydney’s Inner West, while a similar Vietnamese program will be trialled this month at Goodstart Early Learning Braybrook in conjunction with advocacy group VietSpeak.


Paola Escudero, a Professor in Linguistics at the University’s MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development will lead the project, which is aimed at supporting families who speak Spanish or Vietnamese at home, and families who want their monolingual children to learn a second language other than English.


“More than 300 languages are spoken in Australia, however more community support is needed for children to speak their home language or to learn a language other than English from early childhood education,” Professor Escudero said.


The interactive play-based program acts as a conduit, helping to bridge the language gap in Australia by partnering with community organisations, early childhood centres and families to transfer culture, history, and language to new generations.


Created for all children, regardless of language background or geographical location, the program presents an opportunity to learn a second language and boost wellbeing, cognitive and social development during the early education years.


“Children learn and develop language skills best via play and enriching social activities, and our program offers two- to six-year-olds a flexible language exposure program that adapts to every language in the world,” the Professor explained. 


Professor Escudero will lead the Linkage Project, collaborating with Dr Chloé Diskin-Holdaway and Professor John Hajek from the University of Melbourne. To register interest in the LMM program or to make an enquiry, please email [email protected] 

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