St.Vrain Valley Schools Launches New Initiative to Close the Talk Gap

LENA Start™ Improves School Readiness for Infants and Toddlers 0-30 Months

Press Release ( - BOULDER, Colo. - Jun 13, 2017 - The LENA Research Foundation, St. Vrain Valley Schools, and the Outreach United Resource Center, Inc., (OUR Center) are pleased to announce an initiative to improve kindergarten readiness by encouraging parents to talk more with their children. LENA Start™ features parent classes in English and Spanish that employ LENA “talk pedometer” technology to measure how much parents are talking with their children, and how much children are responding. The program will launch mid-summer at the OUR Center in Longmont, Colo.

LENA Start classes help parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers (0-30 months) close the “talk gap.” Research indicates that academic achievement gaps result because some children experience millions fewer words and conversations than their peers during the critical early years when babies’ brains are growing to 80 percent of their adult size. LENA Start provides a series of efficient, engaging parent sessions where caregivers learn to use data about their home language environment from the LENA System™, along with simple strategies to increase interactive talk with their children.

“LENA’s program of helping parents improve talk with their children aligns with the OUR Center’s community-based, front-end prevention service model and early intervention practices. The promotion of positive parenting and child development will enhance the capacity of families for self-reliance, for raising healthy children, and for contributing to the community,” said Edwina Salazar, executive director of the OUR Center.

In Longmont, LENA Start will be implemented as part of the Small Talk, Big Results initiative that started two years ago in St. Vrain Valley Schools, and places a strong emphasis on reading with young children and face-to-face engagement. St. Vrain and the OUR Center are partners in implementing the project, combining space, staffing, and funding resources.

“From before I came on the school board, St. Vrain Valley Schools has been committed to early childhood education. In the years since I’ve joined the board, St. Vrain has assured – in large part because our community supported two mill levy overrides – that we have the resources to provide outstanding early childhood programs for our youngest learners,” said Bob Smith, president of St. Vrain Valley Schools Board of Education. “Working with LENA – the world leader in supporting language development through technology – and partnering with the OUR Center and the City of Longmont creates a national model for how communities can assure we’re doing everything possible to prepare our children to get the most out of our schools.”

The Longmont initiative is one of more than 10 LENA Start sites launching around the country this year. Since its introduction in 2015, LENA Start has been implemented by school districts, hospitals, library systems, and other social service organizations. Results from initial implementations show an 83% graduation rate, with improvements in four key areas:

• 75 percent of adult caregivers are speaking more to their babies
• 63 percent of families are having more conversations with their babies
• Families reported reading 57 percent more with their babies than before
• Children’s language scores are growing twice as fast as comparison groups

“The LENA Start model is laser-focused on simple, practical ways to help parents improve talk with their babies,” said Dr. Stephen Hannon, president of the LENA Research Foundation. “Focus is extremely important, now more than ever. More than half the children coming into America’s schools today are low income, and the data show that they disproportionately start school under-prepared. Early language is the starting point in turning that around. The teams at St. Vrain and OUR Center understand that, and their location just up the road from our headquarters offers unique opportunities for learning and collaboration.”

LENA Start classes will begin in mid-summer at the OUR Center, 220 Collier Street, Longmont, Colo., with additional classes available in the fall. Interested families can call 303-772-5529 to sign up.

Source : LENA Research Foundation
Business Info :
LENA Research Foundation

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