Last year, we announced the launch of our first LENA Start site in Colorado in partnership with St. Vrain Valley Schools and the OUR Center. Now, we’re excited to announce the first LENA Grow site in Colorado, and this time LENA staff will be playing an active role in the coaching!
LENA Grow is our professional development program for early childhood educators. It initially piloted in 2016, and in a little over a year it has become part of early childhood professional development initiatives in 10 cities, reaching more than 900 children in 100 classrooms across 43 centers.
Beginning this April and running through June, Aspen Center for Child Development, a branch of the OUR Center, will be serving as a LENA Grow “learning site.” Educators in three classrooms at the center will use LENA for 12 weeks to measure talk in their classrooms, and then meet with a coach from LENA’s Boulder-based team weekly to review their data and learn about ways to increase interactive talk in the classroom. The Aspen Center’s proximity to LENA’s office will allow close collaboration on the program’s implementation.
“We don’t always have the privilege of being on site to see LENA Grow in operation day-to-day,” said Stephen Hannon, president and chief operating officer of LENA. “Partnering with the Aspen Center will give us an opportunity to gain first-hand insights from teachers as they use LENA Grow to help boost interactive talk with children. We’re thrilled to work with and learn from the Aspen Center team, who have long history of continuous improvement and embracing ways to further enhance the learning environment for children under their care.”
The Aspen Center launched in 1989 and is currently the only child care center in Longmont with a five-star rating from Colorado Shines. The rating system is part of the state licensing process, so every licensed child care provider in the state participates.
The center also serves families from a variety of income levels and backgrounds – including families who pay through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), on a sliding scale, and full pay – which creates a diversity-rich educational setting.
“We are always looking for new ways to innovate the work we’re doing in the classroom,” said Linda Swedhin, Aspen Center Director. “Quality adult-child interactions are critical for early childhood development, so adding LENA Grow to what we’re already doing to foster early language and literacy is an exciting next step for us!”