Home' The Canberra Times : Chronicle 24.01.12 Contents THE CHRONICLE, Tuesday, January 25 2011 - 4
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Home for bilingual school
Members of the Australian Indonesian Language Schools Associ-
ation and Possums Preschool are given the key to the Higgins
preschool building by MLA Mary Porter last week. Picture: Elesa Lee
A BILINGUAL preschool has
found a new home in Higgins after
being forced to operate across the
border for more than a year.
The Australian Indonesian
Language Schools Association
(Ailsa), a not-for-profit educational
program, was established midway
The organisation was unable to
find a location to operate out of until
Queanbeyan South Public School
offered them space in their adjacent
After discussions with the ACT
Government Ailsa was told just
before Christmas they would be
offered a space in the old Higgins
preschool site in 2011.
They will also share the building
with Possums Preschool, who were
required to move from their location
at Macgregor at the beginning of
The president of Ailsa, Ken
Griffiths, said he was very happy
with the decision and subject to
licencing the school hoped to be
operational by the end of February.
He said it was crucial that
bilingual education was started
when children were very young.
''Four months to six years is the
peak language learning period for
kids, they pick up languages like a
sponge,'' he said.
Mr Griffiths said this was ben-
eficial for children because it would
improve their brain activity, with
faster synapse connections, and
improve their cultural awareness
and social interaction.
Member for Ginninderra Mary
Porter handed the keys over to the
two preschools last Friday and said
she was pleased to see more
bilingual education in Canberra.
Ms Porter, who is pushing for
another P-10 bilingual school in the
territory, said she thought it was
fantastic children would get the
chance to learn Indonesian.
''It can only be beneficial to a
child's development to learn a
second language or remain fluent in
their mother tongue,'' she said.
''The earlier you start to learn
another language the easier it is.''
The bilingual preschool program
will run for three to five year olds
for a minimum of two days a week.
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