First of six new implementations nationwide
In partnership with Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), we are pleased to announce an initiative to support responsive caregiving of infants and toddlers by improving language-based interactions with early childhood educators. LENA Grow™ features professional development coaching sessions to help teachers increase language interactions in classrooms, based on feedback from LENA “talk pedometer” technology. The first of six new LENA Grow™ implementations nationwide, the program will serve 800 children in 16 centers across the state during the first year!
One day each week, LENA technology will collect data on the classroom talk environment. Teachers will review reports with coaches every other week, using video examples and other tools to master techniques for increasing interactive talk with their children. LENA data and practices will be integrated into monthly meetings of professional learning communities. The program will also use Simple Interactions, a tool from the Fred Rogers Center to foster productive adult/child interactions.
“LENA’s program of helping early childhood educators improve talk with their children aligns with our agency’s mission to make the most of the formative early years for every child,” said Susan Adams, DECAL Assistant Commissioner for Pre-K and Instructional Supports. “Early language is a central element in preparing children for school success, and early childhood educators play a key role in that development. We expect to see measurable gains in responsiveness through the combination of objective data and professional coaching.”
The Georgia initiative is one of six new LENA Grow programs scheduled to begin in fall of 2017. In addition to the DECAL initiative, new implementations soon to launch include:
- Early Learning Coalition of Orange County in Orlando, which will integrate LENA Grow into their Child Development Specialists professional development program. Twenty three teachers will use LENA Grow weekly with 170 children at 19 centers through October.
- First Steps Charleston will start their recordings at a few centers across Charleston in late September and run through the end of 2017.
- VOCEL in Chicago transitioned from LENA Pro, LENA’s legacy software, to LENA Grow to be able to better support their teachers this fall.
- One Hope United in Elgin, Ill., will be supporting one center with five classrooms and about 65 kids to launch, with plans to expand to other sites across Illinois and Florida.
- Think Small in Minneapolis, Minn., is doing a pilot with family childcare providers to better support professional development in the in-home childcare setting.
The Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County, Florida, LENA Grow’s first implementation in 2016, will continue their work from the last school year to support centers across their county, reaching more than 130 children.
“Our work at LENA is all about simple, practical ways to help caregivers improve talk with infants and toddlers,” said Dr. Stephen Hannon, president of the LENA. “More than half the children coming into America’s schools today are low income, and the data show that they disproportionately start kindergarten, and even pre-K, under-prepared. Early language is the starting point in turning that around. Early childhood educators like the teachers in Georgia and across our Grow sites can make a huge difference in the future of our children.”
About Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
Bright from the Start: Department of Early Care and Learning is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia’s children and their families. It administers the nationally recognized Georgia’s Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and home-based child care, administers Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program, federal nutrition programs, and manages Quality Rated, Georgia’s community powered child care rating system. The department also houses the Head Start State Collaboration Office, distributes federal funding to enhance the quality and availability of child care, and works collaboratively with Georgia child care resource and referral agencies and organizations throughout the state to enhance early care and education.