The new LENA Grow Celebration Report gives our partner organizations a fresh, bird’s-eye perspective on their program’s reach. It’s one of the ways they, along with the teachers and families they support, can see how important their day-to-day contributions are to LENA Grow’s impact.
For instance, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) has seen child care centers and family child care providers across the state achieve some very impressive numbers. As of May 2021, Georgia’s teachers have surpassed a quarter of a billion adult words, and they’re on the cusp of surpassing 5 million conversational turns. Plus, nearly 5,000 children have been directly impacted by the program. Since the program helps teachers develop lasting skills, though, the true impact never stops compounding.
We like to say that LENA Grow is unique among the many professional development opportunities available to teachers of infants, toddlers, and pre-K students. The Celebration Report is just one of the things we base that claim on:
- Our partner success team keeps in close touch with all of our program partners, so we hear plenty of compelling anecdotal evidence.
- Our data reports — the Celebration Report is one of many — give us insights into how children’s language environments are changing for the better over time.
- Our timely surveys completed at the end of the program give teachers and coaches the opportunity to share their honest assessment of LENA Grow.
It’s that last bullet point we want to concentrate on here. Teachers and coaches had some amazing sentiments to share in the most recent surveys they complete at the end of their LENA Grow experiences. Even amid the unique obstacles and extra burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, their enthusiasm for LENA Grow is overwhelming. Here are a few highlights:
"I believed that I was being vocal with the children daily, but the data gave a spotlight on how to scaffold conversations into taking more back-and-forth turns and being more child-initiated. I was excited to see how setting and meeting weekly goals can have an immediate impact on my learning environment. It was an eye-opening experience"
-Brigitte Willis, Director of A Better Day Christian Learning Center in Grovetown, Ga.
How do teachers feel about LENA Grow?
- 95% of teachers say they either like or love the program — and most love it. 99% would recommend LENA Grow to other teachers. In addition, over 90% say the program helped them feel more confident in their teaching abilities and increased their overall job satisfaction.
“Seeing how little things that I did during the day had a meaningful impact on the children that I serve,” said Brigitte Willis, Director of A Better Day Christian Learning Center in Grovetown, Ga.,” I didn’t realize the degree of language and learning that could happen if things were more intentional on my part.”
- Those numbers hold true for teachers at different stages of their career and for teachers speaking languages other than English.
“I have been teaching wee littles for 36 years!” said Joyce Vaughn, Director of Just Like Home Child Care in Graham, N.C. “With LENA, I learned patience and that to be a better communicator, I had to be a better listener.”
- During the middle of a pandemic, drop-off and pick-up at child care centers and preschools tends to be quick and impersonal. Still, over three-quarters of the teachers surveyed say that LENA Grow helped them increase their communication with families. We think that’s a big deal, because it means what the teachers are learning and implementing in the classroom is being extended into children’s home environments as well.
“Our children have been vocal once they leave our classroom,” said Ali Moore of Parents and Children Together (PACT) in Honolulu. “We had parents tell us how much their speech has improved.”
- 92% of teachers agree that they see positive changes in language development among the children in their care. That’s an overall assessment of their classrooms, to be clear, but their stories of individual children are both numerous and heartwarming.
“I was already working with two children who had great speech deficiencies,” said Brenda Burns, a family child care provider in Wrens, Ga., “and after incorporating LENA, each child has shown enormous improvements in their speech, articulation, language, and comprehension.”
How do early childhood coaches feel about LENA Grow?
- 93% of coaches report that LENA Grow helps their relationships with teachers and gets teachers to open up and reflect. The LENA reports, they say, let the teacher take the lead in talking about what they see.
“They became more open and trustworthy of me,” said Aquita Thornton, a coach at Trinity AME Early Learning Center in Atlanta.
- Coaches agree with teachers: 89% say that LENA Grow increases teachers’ confidence, and 87% say it increases teachers’ job satisfaction.
Shakesha Thames, a coach with Delta Health Alliance in Leland, Miss., said, “I coach a teacher who, at the beginning of LENA Grow, did not talk much. The conversations she would have with her students were short and not very engaging. She would always ask closed-ended questions. But since using LENA Grow, I’ve noticed her using the Talking Tips, and becoming more confident in conversations with her students.”
- Only 3% of coaches say that they know of another program that’s more effective at promoting professional development in teachers.
“Tangible data on the teachers efforts helped to build confidence and set goals to work towards,” said ShaShoNee Yazzie, a coach at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colorado. “Teachers did great finding positive moments on every report.”
It’s one thing to see LENA Grow help child care centers and preschools boost their CLASS® scores and individual child assessments. It’s another thing altogether to hear straight from teachers and coaches themselves just how impactful the program can be.