LENA Grow goes statewide in Tennessee


Signal Centers, a Chattanooga-based nonprofit that operates the Tennessee Child Care Resource & Referral Network (TN CCR&R), is among the latest adopters of LENA Grow. This is big news, as it means LENA Grow is going statewide in Tennessee!

Powered by LENA’s “talk pedometer” technology, the evidence-based LENA Grow professional development program is designed to help infant, toddler, and preschool educators create equitable, robust language environments. The TN CCR&R’s team of coaches will facilitate the LENA Grow program across the state, providing free training and technical assistance to participating early childhood educators.

"The TN CCR&R sees the LENA Grow program as an important piece of the puzzle in proper language and socio-emotional development for children in Tennessee."

-Heather Hicks, Director of the TN CCR&R

Tennessee’s statewide implementation of LENA Grow will quickly add to the more than 3,000 children and 600 teachers who have participated in the program in the state to date. LENA Grow was first launched in Tennessee in 2017 by Sequatchie Valley Head Start. Both Porter-Leath and the University of Memphis’s Coordinated Effort to Enhance Devlopment (CEED) program, funded in part by Urban Child Institute and Stranahan Foundation, have also been critical partners in implementing LENA Grow and spreading the word about its positive outcomes.

“The TN CCR&R sees the LENA Grow program as an important piece of the puzzle in proper language and socio-emotional development for children in Tennessee,” said Heather Hicks, Director of the TN CCR&R. “The specialization training will not only better equip educators to deal with challenges in the classroom, but these educators will also be eligible for the AIMHiTN (Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee) Endorsement upon completion.”

With centralized support from Signal Centers and the TN CCR&R, city and county agencies across the state have begun rolling out LENA Grow to early educators and envisioning what the program can accomplish in the long term. For example, LENA is included among the evidence-based strategies within Knoxville-Knox County’s comprehensive Early Care and Education action plan and the Bright Start TN Clearinghouse.

“What’s unique about LENA Grow is that it lets early educators objectively see the equity of interactions across all the children in their rooms,” said Jodi Whiteman, Director of Partnerships and Growth at LENA. “Ultimately, LENA Grow is about building high quality adult/child relationships, and we couldn’t be more excited to see it rolled out across Tennessee.”

Independent evaluations of LENA Grow show that the program is effective at increasing teacher-child interactions, improving children’s TS GOLD® language and literacy scores, improving teachers’ job satisfaction, and improving classrooms’ CLASS® assessment scores. The evaluations were conducted at the SproutFive Center for Early Childhood Innovation in Columbus, Ohio, and through a partnership between the nonprofit Next Door Milwaukee and researchers at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

In addition, an evaluation conducted in Washington, D.C., showed links between participation in LENA Grow and acceleration in children’s social-emotional development, as measured by the DECA assessment tool.

Learn about other statewide implementations of LENA programs at LENA.org/state-agencies.

Say hello to LENA Grow!

LENA Grow is unique among the professional development opportunities available for infant, toddler, and preschool educators. The program delivers a single, straightforward, evidence-based solution to boosting language and literacy development, accelerating social-emotional development, and improving classroom quality. 

That solution: A laser focus on interactive talk.

Explore a LENA Grow Demo


The LENA Team is a dedicated group of professionals who are passionate about increasing awareness of the importance of early interactive talk. We are statisticians, speech-language pathologists, curriculum specialists, engineers, and linguists.

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