LENA for Head Start Programs


Using LENA in Head Start and Early Head Start Programs

LENA uses an innovative, research-based approach that provides objective data on children’s talk environments – at home and at school – that helps their teachers and caregivers become better brain builders and helps administrators deploy resources where they are needed most.

Whether you’re looking to deepen family engagement in your community or provide teachers with experiential professional development, there’s a LENA program for you:

Transform interactions in child care through experiential professional development.

Build school readiness and strengthen families with parent-group classes.

Add an early language focus to any home visiting program.

LENA’s programs help Head Start and Early Head Start programs prepare children for school through language-focused instruction that increases family and educator capacity to build strong relationships.

Learn More

Watch a short, on-demand webinar to learn how LENA can strengthen your Head Start program and recompetition grant application.

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How our programs align with Head Start

Head Start programs across the country are using LENA to meet federal requirements:

Sequatchie Valley Head Start

Sequatchie Valley Head Start is using LENA Grow to meet the training and professional development standard, number 1302.92, of the Head Start Program Performance Standards. Read the case study.

Porter Leath is using LENA Start to accelerate children’s school readiness scores, help families gain confidence and skills, and track progress towards organizational goals, meeting Head Start’s Performance Standards (1302) for goal setting and family services. Read the case study.

Acelero Learning Head Start

Acelero Learning is using LENA Grow to track data for internal use on quality-improvement initiatives and measuring metrics on child health, family engagement, and school readiness to report to the Office of Head Start. Read the cast study.

Download “How LENA Programs Align with the Head Start Program Performance Standards” crosswalk

Download “How LENA Programs Align with the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework” crosswalk

Download “How LENA Programs Map to Head Start’s Early Learning Outcomes” crosswalk

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What Head Start partners are saying about LENA programs


One of our values is being data-driven. LENA provides immediate data on what an individual child’s experience is within the classroom and how much talk they’re participating in, which we know is a key indicator of school readiness. LENA Grow provides us with really objective data to use to evaluate our work to see if we’re getting closer to our mission of closing the achievement gap.


As an Early Head Start teacher, we review a lot of data about each child’s life. When we look at that data, it’s highlighting a lot of things that we don’t have any control over, like where the child lives and who they live with. The LENA data is different, because it’s more about us as teachers and how we can build the data. It’s encouraging, especially when you begin to see that you’re having more conversational turns with a child.


The Talking Tips are simple to understand and implement in a busy classroom, so it’s easier to actually do them. They’ve helped me get my kids talking more by following their lead and paying attention to what they’re interested in.


The parents are eager to participate in LENA Start. This helps give them more of a buy-in and makes them more aware of what goes on in their child’s classroom. They’re becoming more knowledgeable and conscious of what’s developmentally appropriate, and they want to know more and more so that they can help their children learn more.

At a glance: How LENA
can strengthen your Head Start program

  • LENA’s data-focused programs strengthen recompetition grant applications, particularly in the areas of Achieving Early Learning and Development Outcomes to Promote School Readiness for Children and Staffing and Supporting a Strong Early Learning Workforce.
  • LENA provides practical feedback for families and teachers, showing individualized data about each child, as well as high-level progress reports for administrators and quality-improvement specialists.
  • Data on adult words and conversational turns can help program leaders assess their program’s performance and identify areas for improvement.
  • Classrooms using LENA Grow have increased scores in key CLASS domains, reducing the likelihood that their program will have to recompete for funding.
  • Families participating in LENA Start report increased parenting self-efficacy, confidence in their children’s future school success, and a stronger sense of community engagement.

Register for the webinar