Recruiting centers and family child care providers for a new program like LENA Grow can have its challenges. Those challenges are exacerbated amid a years-long pandemic (to say the least)!
Here are five steps detailing how to talk with teachers, family child care providers, and center directors about participating in LENA Grow.
(Bonus: This guidance serves as a sneak peek into the revised Grow materials that will be released in the summer of 2022!)
1. Start with listening and acknowledging.
Teachers, family child care providers, and center directors are their own experts on their classrooms, children, and families. Start by asking what’s on their minds both right now and for the future of their program. Identify a common goal. Align LENA Grow’s benefits to this goal. This helps you understand how LENA Grow might fit into their larger efforts to serve children and families the best way they can. Acknowledge the challenges they face, even if you can’t help them solve every single one.
2. Tell a real story. Use real examples.
When first talking about LENA Grow, tell a real story of how it has impacted teachers and children:
3. Back up that story with data.
Share proven LENA research on the links between early brain development, social-emotional development, and conversational turns. Between the Harvard Center on the Developing Child and LENA’s own deep dive into conversational turns, there’s a wealth of information at your fingertips.
4. Give an overview of how LENA Grow works. Address questions and concerns head on.
Describe the basics of LENA technology, the LENA Grow sequence, and any privacy concerns. Explain the coach’s role of supporting teachers in interpreting reports and using data to determine next steps. Focus on how the reports give teachers an objective look at individual children’s experiences.
One of the best resources to consult: Our web page laying out what a LENA Grow coaching sessions looks like in action.
“What makes the program unique is that teachers are actually able to see the individualized work that they’re doing in the classroom. Teachers are learning the importance of how using data helps to drive instruction, which in turn helps to make them even better teachers.”
-TaWanda Payton, a coach in Tennessee
5. Set an orientation date and communicate regularly.
Set a date for orientation to secure commitment. Note, however, that circumstances might change quickly. If you need to reschedule, pick a new date rather than deferring indefinitely.
If the program is currently closed to children, check out our post on resources to help support your family and community during COVID-19. Programs can send these resources to families to support early talk at home. Sharing these free resources with programs will keep them engaged and excited about LENA Grow while you wait for the center to reopen.
Apply for a LENA Grow Expansion Grant!
LENA Grow Expansion Grants of at least $15,000 are open to current LENA Grow partners who served at least 10 classrooms in 2021.
New LENA partners interested in implementing LENA Grow can apply for a LENA Grow Launch Funds grant.