ECEC Professional Development Research – ALNF & AERO Expression of Interest


In 2023, the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) is partnering with the Australian Educational Research Organisation (AERO) on a research study investigating a new approach to delivering effective professional learning for early childhood teachers and educators (the Study).

Information about the purpose of the research and what’s involved for participants is available at Expressions of interest and any questions in relation to the research study should be directed to AERO at [email protected].

This page provides additional information about the Early Language and Literacy Program and the Early Language and Literacy Development Index (ELLDI) formative assessment for those who are considering expressing interest in joining the study. Further information about EL&L and the ELLDI can be obtained by emailing [email protected]

who benefits?

Services, adults and children both benefit from EL&L with the ELLDI.

Children benefit from the EL&L strategies and resources and ELLDI formative assessment and feedback which are appropriate for all children in the prior-to-school years.

Adults (early childhood teachers and educators) benefit from quality professional learning.

Services benefit from the collegiate sharing of evidence-informed professional learning each generating an informed community of practice.

EL&L overview

The Early Language & Literacy Program (EL&L) provides adults working with children with practical, multisensory strategies and resources to support the vital development of children’s early language and early literacy skills.

Offered by ALNF since 2008, EL&L is currently offered across early childhood education sites as well as schools, libraries and other children’s services and in 2022 benefitted over 8,000 children.

Drawing on proven practices from speech pathology and education, EL&L develops the speaking, listening, reading, writing and comprehension foundations which are the building blocks for literacy.

EL&L strategies and resources are designed to be integrated into existing everyday routines and learning experiences, across inside and outside environments.

Course participants are able to begin to use EL&L strategies after the first two days of training to benefit children.

EL&L includes workplace mentoring which focuses on integration to assist with incorporating EL&L strategies to suit a range of age groups, learning dynamics and service programming.

EL&L is aligned with the Australian Early Years Learning Framework, Australian Early Development Census Domains, National Literacy Learning Progression and the National Quality Standards.

See EL&L Course and ELLDI Overview sections below for further information.


ALNF has developed the new digital Early Language and Literacy Development Index (ELLDI) formative assessment to provide educators with robust and rapid information about children’s oral language and early literacy growth progressions. It is world unique in that it provides an empirical, evidenced based approach to assessing early childhood language and literacy in the 2-5 year old age group.

The ELLDI is a digital, robust, accessible, formative assessment tool that can be used by early childhood teachers and educators to receive:
(a) real-time feedback about children’s early language and literacy development and
(b) targeted recommendations for integrated activities.

Administration of the digital ELLDI takes approximately 20-30 minutes per child.

The purpose of the ELLDI is to:

  • Provide overall and specific information about children’s progression in the prior-to-school years and transitioning into the early years of school across seven sub-domains:

1.Expressive Vocabulary
2. Phonological Awareness
3. Comprehension
4. Oral Language – including Clarity, Volume and Fluency
5. Print Conventions
6. Early Reading
7. Early Writing

  • Provide recommendations on EL&L strategies that support children’s growth.

Study participants will receive:

  • training on conducting ELLDI interviews with children
  • advice on interpreting children’s results
  • real-time suggestions for reflective practice
  • workplace mentoring and other support will also be provided.


The EL&L course can be completed as:

  • non-accredited training and mentoring; or
  • the nationally accredited 11027NAT Certificate IV in Early Language and Literacy (delivered by ALNF with Ninti Training Limited (NTL) as the Registered Training Organisation – RTO 70018).

All course participants receive:

  • Course materials including 2 manuals, 3 workbooks, participant bag with bespoke EL&L resources for use with children and assessment booklets
  • 4 days of training (delivered in 2 blocks of 2 days – refer Study Schedule below)
  • Mentoring sessions in your service to support:
    • EL&L practice through modelling and observation (with or without children present as suits centre and participant needs)
    • The identification of children’s oral language and early literacy needs and recommendations for appropriate EL&L strategies

Study participants will need to complete the EL&L Coursework Assessment Booklet during training sessions, and record 40 hours of integrated EL&L practice during your everyday work with children. Those who wish to receive the Certificate IV qualification will need to record another 60 hours (total 100 hours) of integrated EL&L practice (these can be completed within or after the Study timeframe).

Study participants will also receive mentoring to support them in effectively sharing their professional learning with other educators,

Each service will also receive a set of Book Kits and Game Kits for use with children, including:

  • 39 games in Levels 1-5  of the ‘7 Steps to Phonemic Awareness Game Kits’ (bespoke oral language and early literacy activities)
  • 15 Book Kits including quality children’s books, each with suggested integrated learning experiences to improve children’s oral language and early literacy skills.

Course Pre-requisites

The EL&L course has no educational pre-requisites but requires access to children for the completion of practical assessments.

Enrolment in the Certificate IV option requires a government Unique Student Identifier (USI) number which can be obtained at at no cost.

Please see the EL&L flyer and Participant Handbook for further information about the 11027NAT Certificate IV in Early Language and Literacy.


Services will fit within either Cohort 1 or Cohort 2 of the Study, with EL&L and ELLDI training and mentoring to be offered according to the following schedules for each of these. Training will be in Western Sydney at venues which are to be confirmed.


2 March (Thu) 9.00am – 3.00pm                    Conducting ELLDI Interviews training


3 March (Fri) – 9.00am – 3.300pm                    Conducting ELLDI Interviews training


27-28 March (Mon-Tue) 9am – 3.30pm          Early Language and Literacy course training Sections 1-2 (2 days)


29-30 March (Wed-Thu) 9am – 3.30pm         Early Language and Literacy course training Sections 1-2 (2 days)


One day during 4-14 April (ALNF will schedule with service)            Interpreting ELLDI Feedback (at your service)


17-18 April (Mon-Tue) 9am – 3.30pm                         Early Language and Literacy course training Sections 3-4 (2 days)


19-20 April (Wed-Thu) 9am – 3.30pm                        Early Language and Literacy course training Sections 3-4 (2 days)


22 May to 2 June (ALNF will schedule with service)             First mentoring visit


3 to 14 July (ALNF will schedule with service)                       Second mentoring visit



31 March (Fri) – 9.00am – 3.00pm                  Conducting ELLDI Interviews training


3 April (Mon) – 9.00am – 3.00pm                    Conducting ELLDI Interviews training


1-2 May (Mon-Tues) 9am – 3.30pm               Early Language and Literacy course training Sections 1-2 (2 days)


3-4 May (Wed-Thu) 9am – 3.30pm                 Early Language and Literacy course training Sections 1-2 (2 days)


One day during 8-19 May (ALNF will schedule with service)            Interpreting ELLDI Feedback (at your service)


22-23 May (Mon-Tue) 9am – 3.30pm              Early Language and Literacy course training Sections 3-4 (2 days)


24-25 May (Wed-Thu) 9am – 3.30pm               Early Language and Literacy course training Sections 3-4 (2 days)


26 June to 7 July (ALNF will schedule with service)              First mentoring visit


7 to 18 August – (ALNF will schedule with service)               Second mentoring visit


Evidence and Feedback

“EL&L strategies and resources makes a life change experience for our children.”

Early Childhood Education Centre Director, Latrobe Valley VIC

“The children enjoy the stories and resources so much they don't realise they are learning.”

Early Childhood Educator, Taree NSW

“The children's literacy standards at school age last year (after 12 months) were at a higher level than previous years prior to ALNF involvement with the service.”

Preschool Director, Taree, NSW

“What a collaborative joy it is to facilitate the movement of children from their preschool early education into the formal space of Primary School, witnessing their connective understanding of the familiar learning strategies promoted by ALNF in both the early years and school settings. “We can tell where the children have come from”, the teachers often comment in regards to our young learners who have begun their school foundation year.

The ALNF strategies have given us a shared tool to be used by teaching influences that each child will experience; primary school and preschool educators embracing the ‘Tommy Turtle’ letter shape language and ‘Arthur Puppet’ phonic sound encouragement – a beautiful scaffold through the seven steps of phonetic awareness undertaken with flexible modification to meet the individual needs of each child.

The strategies of the ALNF program have been effectively implemented from infant programs to 4-year preschool within our service. The ongoing Certificate 4 training has allowed a network of educators to undertake and complete the course, resulting in a quality of shared understanding in relation to the language acquisition of children in the early years.

How inspiring it is to witness the educator supports intentionally implemented through routine and open play experiences, an underlying philosophy of inspiring children to effective communication driving the professional practice.

The hands-on resources provided (e.g. books/ learning games/flash cards) are a catalyst for planned routine and spontaneous literacy exploration, adding a quality of curriculum practice to our service that is appreciated by our ongoing increasing enrolment numbers from year to year.

The families of our service community have embraced the tools used within the program, taking not only tangible templates for hands-on practice with their child, but also an empowerment of seizing the educational opportunities for building language awareness in their homes; book reading, letter recognition, singing, listening, syllable recognition etc; in their everyday interactions.

As a tertiary trained teacher and educational leader of our service in Maryborough, I am passionately grateful to the work of ALNF in bringing their ‘toolbox’ of effective learning strategies into our educational space. A lifelong professional use of the skills they have inspired in my practice is cemented in my teaching pedagogy and is increasingly built upon as the years pass, interacting with a diversity of children and family relationships.”

Educational Leader and Kindergarten Teacher, Maryborough VIC

“I have worked in preschools for over 20 years and found the EL&L program, resources and support an excellent, complete program to promote, encourage and develop early literacy in our preschools. ... The implementation of the strategies that the trained educators engage and expose the children to have a direct impact on how competent the children become in all aspects of literacy, providing an excellent foundation for school and beyond. We view the EL&L program as not an integral component of this process but a highly valued and essential part”

Early Childhood Educator, Kempsey NSW

“Using the EL&L strategies has helped our children at our preschool embark on a journey of discovery of language and the importance of literacy in our world. At this stage of our kindergarten year (a year that has been heavily impacted by the restrictions of Covid-19 and children have not come to our program regularly) some of our children have begun to read words as we have been concentrating on letter sounds. It was so exciting this week when the children read the word ‘book’ by sounding out the letters, my co-educator and I were very proud. The skills and techniques that I have learnt from doing the Certificate IV in Early Language and Literacy course through ALNF have helped me to teach and equip the children with the tools to develop their language and literacy development for life, and for that I am very grateful."

Early Childhood Teacher, Latrobe Valley, 2020