Virginia Beach to launch LENA Start this Spring

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Beach GrowSmart is set to launch more LENA Start classes this spring.

LENA Start is an innovative program for families with children ages 0 – 3 years of age and helps to support interactive talk during this important brain development stage.

The goal is to increase communication between parents and young children to bridge achievement and word gaps and increase children’s school readiness.

Classes are offered in collaboration with various City partners and Virginia Beach GrowSmart announced three class locations to begin in February 2019.

LENA Start Classes will be offered at:

  • Bow Creek Recreation Center, 3427 Club House Road: Wednesdays, 6-7:30 p.m., Feb. 13 – May 22
  • Ocean Lakes Elementary School, 1616 Upton Drive: Thursdays, 6-7:30 p.m., Feb. 21 – May 22
  • TCC/City of Virginia Beach Joint-Use Library, TCC Campus, 1700 College Crescent, Building L: Wednesdays, 8:45 – 10 a.m., Feb. 27 – May 22

In 2017, the Lena Research Foundation selected the Virginia Beach as one of 11 new communities to join LENA Start. The program helps parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers (0-30 months) close the talk gap.

Research shows that talking with babies is one of the most critical elements in their early brain development. LENA Start uses innovative “talk pedometer” technology with simple strategies offered in a series of efficient, engaging sessions.

LENA Start takes a cost-effective and scalable approach by delivering LENA feedback and strategies to increase talk to groups of parents. A sequence of 13 weekly one-hour sessions builds family engagement and social capital as well as strengthens engagement between families and the community.

The program is a new offering from GrowSmart, a division of Virginia Beach Economic Development, to ensure healthy development and school readiness for children in Virginia Beach.

For more information or to register contact Barb Lito at Virginia Beach GrowSmart, (757) 385-6464.

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