In 2017 Georgia awarded approximately $2 million in Early Language and Literacy Classroom Grants to 50 infant and toddler child care classrooms across the state.
The program, Early Language and Literacy Classroom Grants, aims to foster positive and responsive relationships between teachers and children that will help infants and toddlers develop critical early language and literacy skills. Participating programs work with an Infant Toddler Specialist to conduct a language and literacy inventory for each classroom involved and purchase needed materials and supplies. They also participate in intensive professional development activities, including monthly literacy forums focused on mentoring and responsive supervision; quarterly early language and literacy institutes; and individualized coaching. Grant funds support the salary for one infant toddler teacher, who serves as the lead for the program in addition to the child care director. Leads serve as mentors to other teachers and help them apply new knowledge to their classroom practices.
A key component of the grant is the use of data to identify areas for improvement Participating classrooms utilize LENA Grow™ which uses individual recorders worn by children to measure classroom talk. Analysis of the data focuses on conversational turns, which are a good measure of interactivity in conversation. Teachers regularly review LENA reports with their coaches, who use video examples and other tools to share strategies to support young children’s language development.
The state continues to offer this funding as Lifting Infants and Toddlers through Language-rich Environments (LITTLE) Grants to both center and home-based early learning programs through 2020.
Updated November 2019