At LENA, we’re working hard to get LENA Grow listed as an approved professional development program in as many states as possible. Our goal is for early educators to receive PD hours for participating in the LENA program that can count toward their professional development requirements.
We’re committed to maximizing LENA Grow’s impact on early educators’ careers. Expanding LENA Grow’s approval for professional development hours is an important part of that equation.
We know that finding access to and time for professional development can be challenging, especially for educators in programs with minimal resources. That’s why we at LENA are committed to supporting programs and educators in receiving professional development (PD) credit for participation in our LENA Grow program. We’re also committed to maximizing coaching hours, ensuring that the material covered during those hours aligns with specific requirements coaches must meet.
Early educators are brain architects. Through their daily interactions with children, they help our youngest children discover so much about the world and their place within it, a pursuit that requires specialized skills and consistent professional growth. As Jess Simmons, LENA’s Chief Growth Officer, wrote on this blog recently, “The future of child care and early childhood education depends on greater recognition and appreciation of the profession — from the top down and from the bottom up.”
This expansion of LENA Grow’s approval for PD hours adds to the list of things we already know about the program’s effectiveness:
- LENA Grow helps educators regain a sense of connectedness with the children in their care. One teacher in Wisconsin spoke powerfully to this point in a recent webinar.
- LENA Grow boosts confidence, increases job satisfaction, and helps educators see improved language skills among their children. Our survey of LENA Grow teachers and coaches makes that clear.
- LENA Grow has been linked to score increases in assessments such as CLASS and Teaching Strategies Gold. See, for instance, the program evaluations out of Fort Worth ISD, the Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County, and the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County.
Where we are now
In many cases, LENA Grow Teacher Certification meets state licensing requirements, providing five clock hours of PD in the Child Development Associate (CDA) Subject Area 8, Understanding the principles of child development and learning.
In some cases, though, without approval from a specific state agency, the certificate may not provide credit towards state credentials, PD hour requirements, or QRIS requirements. That extra level of approval is what we’re working on now.
LENA has formal approval in Colorado, Maryland, and Tennessee. LENA Certification counts toward PD in other states, including Alabama, Vermont, and Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C.
Furthermore, to go along with our reports on how LENA Grow aligns with CLASS and Head Start Performance Standards, we’re creating alignments with states’ “home-grown” QRIS assessments, including Texas Rising Star, Virginia Quality, Ohio’s Step Up to Quality, and Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten assessment.
We’ll update this post as the list of approvals and alignments continues to grow!