PRESS RELEASE: Wyndham Vale Childcare Centre in Australian First to Use Technology to Boost Language Development in Early Childhood

UPDATED: Monday 2nd of March 2020

• In an Australian first, the US based Lena Grow professional development program is being used to train early childhood educators in Australia
• New research shows the first 3 years of life provide a crucial window for brain development
• The LENA Grow program uses sophisticated technology – ‘talk pedometers’ – to measure the language environment in classrooms
• A child’s Language environment is crucial: however, we can’t naturally estimate how much we talk or interact. ‘Talk pedometers’ provide us with vital feedback.

Wyndham Vale, Victoria – Early childhood educators at Adventurers, a Wyndham Vale childcare centre are the first in Australia to participate in the Lena Grow professional development program to increase interactive talk and boost school readiness.

Lena Grow features professional development coaching sessions to help teachers increase language interactions in the classroom, based on feedback from LENA ‘talk pedometer’ technology.

Research has found that the amount of conversation children experience during the first few years of life is related to their brain structure and function and their IQ in adolescence. LENA Grow supports teachers in learning to tune-in, talk more, and take turns in conversation. These practices increase the amount of interactive talk children experience, supporting healthy brain development during the critical early years when babies’ brains are building more than one million neural connections every second.

Since many children spend a large portion of their day in a childcare setting, increasing interactive talk in early childhood classrooms is essential to making a difference to children’s cognitive, social, and emotional growth.

Children wear small recorders or ‘talk pedometers’ to monitor the unique language environment that each child is in. Recordings are then processed using sophisticated software that provides feedback to educators about the language environment that they are providing to the children.

One day each week, LENA technology will collect data on the classroom talk environment. Teachers will review reports with coaches, using video examples and other tools to master techniques for increasing interactive talk with their children

“We’re very excited to be using LENA Grow to ensure that Adventurers children will be ready for school. Language environment has an impact on vocabulary, reading ability, IQ and even the speed of a child’s brain – all important things for school readiness” said Adventurers owner, Matthew Gillet.

Adventurers is using the talk pedometers in their baby’s classroom as well as their toddler room. Educators are enjoying having the feedback to improve the language experience for the children in their classrooms. “Our educators are determined to make sure that they focus their efforts on doing the things that will positively impact the children in our centre” said Adventurers owner, Matthew Gillet.

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About LENA
LENA is a 501(c)(3) public charity based in Boulder, Colorado. Its mission is to accelerate language development in children birth to three, in order to improve their cognitive, social, and emotional health and to close opportunity gaps. Used by researchers and clinicians all over the world, LENA technology measures a child’s language environment and provides vital feedback to parents and professionals in programs dedicated to close the language, learning, and opportunity gap for children. For more information, please visit LENA.org or contact Jess Simmons at 303-441-9048, or email jsimmons@lena.org.

About Adventurers
Adventurers is a small family owned childcare centre committed to school readiness by making learning fun. After working in his family’s childcare centre, Adventurers was born when Matthew Gillet couldn’t find a childcare centre that was committed to providing a fun educational program for his daughter. Matthew wants all children to have an early childhood education that lays the foundations for them to thrive for the rest of their lives. Learn more about Adventurers on their website: https://www.adventurers.vic.edu.au/ or e-mail Matthew Gillet: matthew@adventurers.vic.edu.au