Early Childhood Development

Living First Languages Platform

Place-based early language and literacy instruction for children in Indigenous communities

Team Lead

Eric Brace

Solution Pitch

The Problem

221 million children globally lack access to education in their mother tongue—often a minoritized language—forcing them to learn both a new language and key foundational concepts at a young age with insufficient resources to succeed.

The Solution

Developed by the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation in consultation with community members, the Living First Languages Program and Platform equip Indigenous communities in Australia with digital tools to support children’s early language and pre-literacy development in an Australian First Language. The platform allows members to create dynamic interactive resources in their own languages that combine with bespoke face-to-face training modules. 

The platform is complemented by evidence-based literacy training based on both speech pathology and early language educational best practices. Face-to-face and digital activities allow children to explore unique phonology, vocabulary, stories, and more with their families.

Market Opportunity

In Australia, 81,100 people identify as a current speaker of an Indigenous language, and close to 800,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders identify with an Indigenous language as a heritage language. Worldwide, an estimated 221 million children speak a minority or Indigenous language that is not used in formal education, and these children therefore struggle to access early learning in their mother tongue. 

Through specified funding, the Australian Government allocates an estimated AU$20 million annually in Indigenous language and arts activities. The Living First Languages Program aims to further develop into a solution that meets the needs of Indigenous communities.

Partnership Goals

Living First Languages Platform currently seeks:

  • Business strategy expertise to scale in a responsible manner, which involves making the platform more accessible to community-based operations;
  • Teaching and learning product development for diverse locations and populations outside of Australia; and
  • Collaboration with providers of linguistic and educational software to make platform features accessible via APIs or file standards.

Organization Highlights

Some of Living First Languages Platform’s notable achievements include:

  • Recognition as a winner within the Culture and Tourism Category of the World Summit Awards in 2019, a Google Impact Challenge finalist in 2017, and a South by Southwest (SXSW) 2019 Innovation Awards winner in the category of Innovation in Connecting People; and
  • Featured at the National Indigenous Languages Convention 2018.

Existing Partnerships

Living First Languages Platform and the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) currently partner with:

  • Joseph Marks for technology design, development, and maintenance;
  • My Pathways, Australia’s largest community development program contractor, for program delivery on Erub Island;
  • South Australian Department for Education for program delivery in Indigenous schools in the APY Lands;
  • The Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s National Indigenous Australians Agency for program funding support; 
  • The Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University for program delivery in Darwin and Elcho Island;
  • Papulu Apparr-Kari Language Centre for program delivery in Tenant Creek;
  • Australian Department of Communication and the Arts for program funding support; and
  • Reconciliation Australia and Ninti One for coordination support.

Stats

The platform and accompanying training was initially trialled across four remote Australian communities. 

The platform now hosts 5,000+ words from eight Indigenous Australian languages.

Solver Team

Organization Type:
Hybrid

Headquarters:
Sydney, Australia

Stage:
Growth

Working in:
Australia

Employees:
3

Solution Team:

Learning

Language Learning for Indigenous Children

Solver Living First Languages Platform received the $20,000 Dubai Cares Early Childhood Development Prize from Member Dubai Cares in 2019 to provide early language and literacy instruction for kids in Indigenous communities.

Learning

Language Learning for Indigenous Children

Solver Living First Languages Platform, which provides early language and literacy instruction for kids in Indigenous communities, received a $10,000 grant from Solve in 2019 for being selected as an Early Childhood Development Solver.

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