LENA for Head Start Programs

Given the far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 crisis, we know it is more important than ever that children receive care through a trauma-informed lens that supports their holistic development. LENA’s focus on interactions and relationships is foundational to that development. As you move forward with your Quality Funding application for May 15, we can provide sample grant language and budget narrative for the use of LENA programming.

We Partner with Early Head Start and Head Start Programs to Improve Language and Literacy Outcomes

LENA uses a practical, measurable, and immediately actionable research-based approach that provides objective data on children’s talk environments, both at home and in Head Start classrooms. By maximizing the effectiveness of adult-child interactions through a combination of feedback and targeted coaching, LENA gives teachers and caregivers a clear path to improving children’s language environments.

Whether you’re looking to have a direct, positive impact on CLASS scores, meet school readiness goals aligned to the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework, or increase family engagement to align with the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework there’s a LENA program for you:

Transform interactions in Head Start programs through job-embedded 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 partnering with LENA can help support Head Start children.

Register for the webinar

How our programs align with Head Start

How LENA Programs Align

View our “How LENA Programs Align with the Head Start Program Performance Standards” crosswalk:


Head Start PFCF Framework

View our “How LENA Programs Align with the Head Start PFCE Framework” crosswalk:


Head Start Early learning

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


What Head Start partners are saying about LENA programs

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.

Our Head Start Partners

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

How LENA Programs Align

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.

Head Start PFCF Framework

Porter Leath, a multi-site Head Start and Early Head Start agency providing wrap around services across the greater Memphis area, is using LENA Start and LENA Grow 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.

Head Start Early learning

Many Early Head Start programs have turned to LENA Home, a tool to help families and home visitors collaborate to improve children’s language environments. Read the case study here.

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