Youth Development Inc., a New-Mexico-based youth and family service organization, is partnering with LENA Grow and the University of New Mexico Evaluation Lab to develop a program that focuses on language and literacy skills of infants and toddlers.
The technology-driven project uses vests equipped with data and voice recorders that are placed on children once a week to gather information about how the child is spoken to and how the child reacts to that language.
The project will be implemented at 12 early care and education centers, affecting 288 infants and toddlers, as well as 72 teachers through 2023.
A coach/mentor will meet weekly with each teacher to discuss results and develop a plan to enhance language and literacy skills in each child, improve teacher listening skills and improve future individualized instruction.
YDI hopes to implement the LENA Grow project in both Early Head Start and Head Start classrooms.
The project is funded by a $200,000 grant from the Battle Creek, Michigan-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The foundation works with communities and their vulnerable children to create conditions for them to realize their full potential in school, work and life.