St. Vrain Valley, Longmont’s OUR Center partner to tackle the early childhood ‘word gap’

Article Summary:

Longmont, Colorado’s Outreach United Resource (OUR) Center has adopted the LENA Start program, local to the area. First-time mother, Jennifer Garcia, has already signed up to give her daughter “that early head start,” by working to increase her language development. The 13-week long program uses a LENA device which tracks the number of words spoken as well as conversational turns between caretaker and child, later consolidating the data into an easy-to-understand report.

By giving caretakers the resources to develop language understanding early in life, the emotional, cognitive, and social health of children increase, in turn improving their school readiness. The free LENA Start classes are held in the OUR Center and aim to include 15 to 20 families per session. These sessions allow parents to discuss challenges they face, improvements they’ve noticed, and otherwise learn from coaches and other caretakers. According to many mothers like April William, LENA Start is “an investment in the future.”