LENA for State Agencies
How state agencies are partnering with LENA
Ensuring that every child in the U.S. arrives at kindergarten prepared for success is no easy task. LENA, a national nonprofit, has arrived at a straightforward, proven, cost-effective, equitable approach: increasing the amount of interactive talk children experience.
Helping parents, teachers, and other caregivers focus on increasing the number of conversational turns they have with the infants, toddlers, and pre-K children in their care accelerates brain development, improves socioemotional development, and is linked to to higher IQ scores in middle school.
How do we do it? We use our one-of-a-kind "talk pedometer" technology to reveal insights about children's language environments that were unimaginable in decades past, working with partner organizations to bring highly personalized versions of our programs to communities around the world. LENA Grow provides job-embedded professional development for teachers, LENA Start offers group classes for parents, and LENA Home adds a language focus to any existing home visiting program.
One "talk pedometer" and one program can make a dramatic difference in a single child's life. Scaling up to hundreds and thousands of "talk pedometers" and dozens of recurring programs can make a dramatic difference for entire communities. That's why state agencies create partnerships with LENA — to scale the impact of LENA programs in their state as quickly and efficiently as possible.
LENA currently operates in 33 states, as well as in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.K., but our vision is for all children to enter school ready to learn. LENA can be an ally in state-level efforts to improve quality early learning experiences for children, whether at home or in a child care setting.
Georgia Dept. of Early Care and Learning
Georgia adopted LENA Grow in 2017, providing grants — called Lifting Infants and Toddlers Through Language-rich Environments (LITTLE) grants — to child care centers and family child care homes across the state. To date, nearly 5,000 children have been impacted by the program. Program partners receive a variety of supports, including LENA coaching, to develop language and literacy skills in children. LENA’s team works with the Infant-Toddler Specialist network across the state as they support coaches within center-based programs and family child care homes. Analysis of CLASS® scores reveals significant increases in the domains of Responsive Caregiving and Emotional and Behavioral Support and Engaged Support for Learning.
Maryland State Dept. of Education
Maryland implemented LENA Grow in 2019, providing a grant to the nonprofit organization Maryland Family Network (MFN) to roll out interactive-talk-focused professional development for early childhood teachers across the state, including at Early Head Start locations. LENA works with the MSDE staff to ensure their goals and targets are being met and to plan for scale. LENA also works with the MFN central administration and center-based staff to provide training and support to implement coaching with providers.
Louisiana Dept. of Education
Louisiana adopted LENA Start in 2021, piloting the program in two of the state's 26 Ready Start Networks. By leveraging these local organizations, led by parish school boards, LDOE will be able to leverage data and best practices to better support families across the state, while the Ready Start Networks gain access through the state’s contract to a new resource and support for the families they serve.
Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children
Idaho AEYC oversees several statewide initiatives, including IdahoSTARS and Ready for Kindergarten. They began piloting LENA Grow in Fall 2020 in partnership with one center-based provider in Boise. The teacher coaching for the pilot was done by Idaho AEYC’s Ready for Kindergarten Director, who worked closely with the center director to gain buy-in from teachers. By taking a hands-on approach, Idaho AEYC gained deep knowledge of the program and learned best practices for that they can now use to train additional coaches in the IdahoSTARS program to bring LENA coaching to providers across the state.
Colorado Dept. of Education
Colorado added LENA Home to its Migrant Education Program offerings in 2021, incorporating a focus on the improving back-and-forth interactions into its existing home visitation services.
Colorado Department of Human Services and Office of Early Childhood
Colorado also implemented LENA Grow through its Expanding Quality in Infant Toddler Care (EQIT) initiative in 2020. EQIT-trained coaches at regional Early Childhood Councils (ECCs) offer coaching supports to family childcare providers by using LENA data and coaching content. LENA partners with the EQIT program manager to train EQIT coaches across the state, develop alignments with the state QRIS, and analyze and report on data generated by the LENA system. LENA also partners with leadership and coaches at the individual ECCs to provide technical assistance for high-fidelity implementation of LENA Grow, effective use of LENA data, and provider engagement.
Learn more about this program by clicking below to watch an on-demand webinar called "Integrating Professional Development for Family Child Care Providers into Statewide Systems."
There's a critical need for
increased early talk — right now
Children who engage in more conversational turns as toddlers show higher IQ scores, verbal comprehension, vocabulary, and other language skills in adolescence. That's according to LENA's 2018 longitudinal study.
Alarmingly, follow-up analysis released in our 2021 Inside Early Talk report reveals that approximately one in every five children spends large portions of their day in language isolation.
But there's hope.
Every increase of two conversational turns per hour in a child's first years correlates to an increase of one IQ point in adolescence. LENA's programs are designed to deliver those increases.