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How CCR&Rs are working with LENA


Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) services across the county have adopted LENA Grow to renew their teachers' enthusiasm for the profession and to make an immediate impact on the quality of children's lives — along with their readiness for kindergarten.

What is LENA Grow? It's practice-based professional development for early childhood educators. It's empowering, data-driven coaching that's easy, effective, and equitable. And it's built on findings from over 100 peer-reviewed research studies that explore the links between children's early talk environments and their brain development.

Organizations within Florida's Early Learning Coalitions, South Carolina's First Steps, North Carolina's Smart Start, Texas's Workforce Solutions, Colorado's Early Childhood Council, and California's First 5 are all turning to LENA to sharpen their focus on the importance of early talk.

“The teachers were challenging themselves. I would get there for a coaching session, and they could not wait to see their reports. They were so anxious to see if they met their goal.”

— Kathy Cestaro, Early Childhood Specialist, Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County, Florida

Read about ELC of Sarasota's success story

CCR&Rs fulfill a critical service: ensuring a high standard of care among early learning environments and guiding parents in their child care decisions. There are hundreds of CCR&R organizations in the U.S., and each and every one of them provides a host of important services to the parents in their communities.

The quality of a young child's learning environment helps determine so much of their future success. More and more CCR&Rs are working with LENA and recognizing that the quality of a child care environment depends in part on the amount of talk children are experiencing within it.

LENA Grow combines objective feedback on the classroom talk environment with targeted coaching for teachers on how to increase interactive talk. By focusing on LENA’s Talking Tips, teachers learn strategies to add interactive talk to their normal daily routines, allowing time to focus on what’s most important: the children in their care.

94% of teachers who participate in LENA Grow report increased job satisfaction and confidence in their teaching skills.

To learn more about the five-step process of bringing a LENA program to your community, please visit our program launch page.

“Children are distinguishing between the different emotions and verbalizing what they want. The teachers have learned to repeat what the children say as well as extend their language. I really appreciate the Early Learning Coalition for introducing the program to us and look forward to years to come working with the program.”

— Jennifer Jones, Director of Restoring Hands Learning & Development Center, Pensacola, Florida

Download a report about the ELC of Escambia County

    Responsive relationships are at the heart of high-quality care. CCR&Rs and the child care centers they serve can use LENA Grow not only to boost positive interactions with children, but also to engage with families. With LENA Grow, organizations receive:

    • Individual child data: Teachers thrive when they're able to see objectively how much they are engaging with each individual child. LENA Grow data gives providers the tools to reflect on and more deeply individualize their response to each child. This enhances equity within the classroom, throughout the center, and across the entire district.
    • Flexibility: LENA Grow coaching can be delivered virtually or in person, and coaching materials are available in both Spanish and English.
    • Ready-made materials: The program's curriculum materials do so much of the heavy lifting. That means coaches can concentrate on each teacher's individualized, active learning.
    • Professional empowerment: Putting objective data directly in the hands of providers lets them use their data to set their own personal goals, increasing their sense of professional efficacy. It also gives them a tool to use to engage with families, both to point out the brain-building interactions happening with their children throughout the day as well as to highlight how families can support and reinforce those interactions at home.
    • Built-in efficacy measures: An organization's LENA program contributes not just to improved outcomes for individual children and teachers, but also to sophisticated research. Over time, that research translates into an even more effective, evolving program model. And in the shorter term, it translates into data reports specific to your organization, which, among other things, can help secure funding.

    There's a critical need for increased early talk — right now

    There's a wide gap between the number of conversational turns children experience in home settings and center-based child care settings. This is according to Inside Early Talk, the latest report from LENA’s research team. Alarmingly, 20% of children spend large portions of their day in language isolation, and children experience the least amount of talk when they need it most.

    But there's hope.

    Every increase of two conversational turns per hour in a child's first years correlates to an increase of one IQ point in adolescence. LENA Grow is designed to deliver those increases.

    Improving language environments is such a relatively straightforward solution, but we know that people can't change what they don't measure. LENA's "talk pedometer" technology delivers the measurements, and LENA Grow's data-driven coaching encourages positive change.

    Interested in learning more about bringing LENA to your community?

    Continue to Readiness Assessment

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