Early Language and Literacy Program

The Early Language and Literacy Program empowers educators, parents/carers and communities with early language and literacy strategies for children's development.

Program details

  • Priority area: Communication
  • Primary audience: Educators, parents/carers, children
  • Delivery mode: Group training, professional services, coaching, resources (books, kits, manuals), online
  • Strength of evidence: Level 3 – Promising research evidence
  • AEDC sub-domains:
    • Language and cognitive development – basic literacy
    • Language and cognitive development – interest literacy/numeracy and memory
    • Communication skills and general knowledge – communication and general knowledge
  • Item cost: High (>$2,000 per person/item)

Program description

The Early Language and Literacy (EL&L) Program provides educators, parents/carers and communities with bespoke strategies and resources to target the development of oral language and early literacy. Supporting all children in vulnerable communities for over a decade throughout Australia, EL&L is applicable to children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. EL&L provides common strategies and terminology around early language and literacy which provides children with consistency and sees them entering school with stronger foundational skills.

Drawing on speech and language pathology and education, EL&L lays the foundation for learning to read via:

  • oral language proficiency
  • phonological awareness
  • print awareness
  • vocabulary and sentence development
  • listening
  • pre-writing
  • comprehension.

The starting point for the program is completion of the EL&L course by kindergarten service staff (Certificate IV or complete without assessments for Certificate of Participation). This comprises a combination of training and workplace coaching supported by a range of bespoke practical resources.

The Early Language and Literacy (EL&L) course can be completed as the nationally accredited 11027NAT Certificate IV in Early Language and Literacy (delivered by ALNF as the sole provider under Ninti Training Limited, RTO 70018) which requires the completion of assessments and 100 hours of EL&L practice in their own workplace, or, participants can opt for the non-accredited version (without assessments) to receive a certificate of participation.

The EL&L course includes:

  • coursework training (4 days of face-to-face or online training in two 2-day blocks)
  • 2 manuals, 3 workbooks
  • participant pack with practical multisensory resources
  • 2 assessment booklets
  • coaching over 12 to 18 months with EL&L implementation feedback
  • all delivery costs including travel, webinar and venue costs.

The provider recommends that each participating service purchase a set of Centre Resources for use by its staff who are engaged in, or have completed, the EL&L course. These comprise 53 “7 Steps to Phonemic Awareness” game kits and 20 book kits which each include a quality children’s book with activities to further children’s early language and literacy growth during book reading.

Additional monitoring support regarding children's learning progress and recommendations for EL&L strategies that meet children's needs can be provided. Options include:

  • Training in early language and literacy observations/evaluations
  • Administration of observations/evaluations with children
  • Advice on appropriate EL&L strategies based on children's progress.
  • Staff professional development, parent and/or community workshops on a range of topics relating to early language and literacy can be scheduled during training/coaching visit.

Training dates for 2024

To assist participants and services with planning, training for 5 cohorts has been scheduled as below. Additional training dates may be added late in Term 1 2023 based on numbers and geographic location of participants. Please note, participants must attend all 4 days of their training group, successfully complete assessments and participate in mentoring sessions in order to attain their Certificate IV in Early Language and Literacy.

Detailed cost

Early Language and Literacy (EL&L) course: $4500 per person (including GST).

The following may only be purchased if enrolled in the EL&L or if the EL&L has been completed.

Centre resources full set (one set recommended per site): $2900 (including GST). This includes:

  • 'Seven Steps to Phonemic Awareness' Game Kits Levels 1 to 7 (53 games)
  • 20 Book Kits - includes children's books with activities.

Top up Book and Game Kits (all prices including GST):

  • Per Book Kit $42.90
  • Full Game Kit $2040.50
  • Level 1 Games: Listening $385
  • Level 2 Games: Rhyme $385
  • Level 3 Games: Words and Sentences $385
  • Level 4 Games: Syllables $385
  • Level 5 Games: Initial/Final Sounds $165
  • Level 6 Games: Phonemes $165
  • Level 7 Games: Letters/Spelling $176

Additional support: costs provided on request.

Implementation considerations

Target population: early childhood educators and support staff, parents/carers and families, and children.

Program/practice descriptions and detail: The course comprises a combination of training and coaching supported by a range of bespoke practical resources.

  • Training is available face-to-face in Greater Melbourne (East and West), the Central Goldfields and Latrobe Valley regions. For face-to-face delivery, a minimum of 20 course participants is required. Online training is also offered to suit those in other locations.
  • Participants are responsible for arranging their own travel and accommodation where required.
  • Participants outside of an EL&L cluster can access live, interactive training online via Zoom (access to tablet/computer with microphone, speakers and internet required).
  • In other areas, ALNF can assist with pooling centres into geographic clusters for community capacity building in keeping with ALNF's whole-of-community approach to improving the capabilities of educators, parents and community for children's long-term benefit.

Staffing: services should include funds for backfill in their School Readiness Funding plans. This should include four days for each staff member participating in the EL&L course. Backfill is not required for coaching sessions. It is recommended that educators also attend the Parent/Community workshops.

Supervision/coaching: Up to four coaching sessions are offered once a term following the training. The purpose of these is to support the integration of EL&L strategies into programming. Where possible, these take place at the participants’ workplace and can comprise demonstrations, observations and/or planning discussions on or off the floor. For participants outside of an EL&L cluster, coaching can be arranged via Zoom.

Training requirements: The EL&L course is suitable for all adults working with children, regardless of qualifications and level of experience. There are no pre-requisites for the Certificate IV in Early Language and Literacy apart from participants requiring access to children to practice and implement Early Language and Literacy strategies in their activities.

Factors to consider: Booking requests should be received 2 months prior to allow sufficient time for invoicing, payment and shipment of resources ahead of the first day of training.

Australian experience: the course has been delivered successfully to learners from a range of cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds, including in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It is offered in more than 150 sites in urban, regional and remote communities in New South Wales, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria.

Tools and systems: online training and coaching is conducted via Zoom and requires access to the internet and a tablet or computer with a working microphone, speaker, and camera. All other materials are included in the course fee.

VEYLDF alignment

Item uses these practice principles

  • Reflective practice
  • Partnerships with families
  • High expectations for every child
  • Respectful relationships and responsive engagement
  • Equity and diversity
  • Assessment for learning and development
  • Integrated teaching and learning approaches
  • Partnerships with professionals

Item responds to these sub-outcomes

  • Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes
  • Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work
  • Children engage with a range of texts and get meaning from these texts.