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Spotlight on Hanen Early Childhood Education Programs in Denmark

By Andrea Koohi
Hanen Staff Writer

It’s amazing what can happen when a small group of committed Hanen members put their minds to something.

Though we work tirelessly from our base in Toronto and strive to offer workshops around the world, Hanen could never have the true international reach and impact it has if it weren’t for our hard-working members and other Hanen champions on the ground.

Translating resources and getting workshops and programs up and running is rarely an easy task. Unique challenges present themselves in every location, and time and resources are always limited. That’s why it’s so incredible that in the last 3 years, all of this has happened in Denmark alone:

 


  • 2 Hanen guidebooks have been translated and published in Danish:
    • Learning Language and Loving It guidebook
    • ABC and Beyond guidebook
  • Another Hanen guidebook, I’m Ready!, already has a translation underway
  • All program resources for the Learning Language and Loving It and ABC and Beyond Programs, as well as the Teacher Talk training series for early childhood educators have been translated into Danish
  • 4 Learning Language and Loving It workshops and 2 ABC and Beyond workshops were hosted in Denmark, certifying 75 speech-hearing consultants and pedagogical consultants to lead Hanen Programs for pedagogues (early childhood educators). Another Learning Language and Loving It workshop and a More Than Words® workshop are scheduled for the summer and fall of 2016.
  • Hanen’s Director of Early Childhood Services, Janice Greenberg, was invited to present 5 times in Denmark to hundreds of speech-hearing consultants, pedagogical consultants and pedagogues
  • Hanen’s ABC and Beyond guidebook has been featured as Book of the Month by the Danish Pedagogical Book Club

Hanen workshop instructor, Janice Greenberg (centre, with book) with workshop participants at an ABC and Beyond workshop in Roskilde, Denmark.

How It All Began

It all started in August 2013 when two Hanen Certified Early Childhood Education Consultants, Trine Kjaer Krogh and Helle Iben Bylander, both Associate Professors at Sprogin, attended the first Learning Language and Loving It workshop in Denmark.


Helle Iben Bylander,
Hanen Certified Pedagogical Consultant and Associate Professor at Sprogin University


Trine Kjaer Krogh,
Hanen Certified Pedagogical Consultant and Associate Professor at Sprogin University

Helle and Trine felt that the Learning Language and Loving It and ABC and Beyond programs could support pedagogues (early childhood educators) by providing them with practical, research-based strategies to nurture the language and literacy development of young children. In particular, the programs had the potential to make a real difference for disadvantaged children and second-language learners, who often fell behind and were difficult to engage.

“I’m a firm believer in Hanen and I had faith that it was an investment worth making.”

The first step was to translate the Learning Language and Loving It guidebook, as well as all of the program resources. Finding a publisher who would pay for the translation wasn’t possible, so Trine and Helle rose to the challenge. Agreeing to volunteer their own time for free, they teamed up with a group of other workshop participants and collaborated with The Hanen Centre to undertake the translations themselves. They translated not only the Learning Language and Loving It guidebook and program materials, but also the ABC and Beyond guidebook and program materials, as well as the Teacher Talk Program Slides.

Enormous as this task was, they strongly believed that it would all be worth it. “I’m a firm believer in Hanen”, Trine explains, “and I had faith that it was an investment worth making.” And as it turns out, Trine was right…

The Fruits of Labour

After completing the translations, Trine and Helle were able to find a publisher for the resources. Sophie Ellgaard Soneff, Editor-in-Chief at Dafolo A/S, agreed to take a risk and publish the Learning Language and Loving It and ABC and Beyond guidebooks in Danish. Sophie also organized a conference to spread the word and promote the books.

With the published translations in hand, Trine and Helle could now move forward with offering Hanen Programs in Danish. They’ve since led 10 Learning Language and Loving It and ABC and Beyond programs between them, training over 200 pedagogues to use the programs’ responsive interaction strategies with the children in their classrooms.

“The pedagogues love that they have the freedom to decide when and how they’ll incorporate what they learned into their day with children.”

“I’m so happy for the children, because now I see that the pedagogues are having more of an impact than ever on the children’s communication,” says Trine. She describes how the pedagogues soon realized that when they used Hanen strategies like Observing, Waiting and Listening, Following the Child’s Lead and making comments rather than asking testing questions, the children communicated a lot more.

She also describes how the pedagogues were always eager and happy to take the program and to acquire the knowledge and tools that would help them make a bigger difference for young children. “They love that they have the freedom to decide when and how they’ll incorporate what they learned into their day with children. It’s a flexible approach that fits into their work model.”

A pedagogue (early childhood educator) using Learning Language and Loving It program strategies with children.

As if translating the resources and leading the program for hundreds of pedagogues wasn’t enough, Trine and Helle were also instrumental in generating widespread interest in the Learning Language and Loving It and ABC and Beyond Programs, leading to the Audiologopædisk Forening (Danish Speech-Language-Hearing Association) to invite Janice Greenberg to present twice on these programs to its members.

Trine and Helle also graciously volunteered their time to bring several Learning Language and Loving It and ABC and Beyond certification workshops to Denmark to have other professionals like themselves trained to lead the Learning Language and Loving It and ABC and Beyond Programs for pedagogues. They did this by hosting the workshops themselves, which meant securing a venue for a Hanen Instructor to lead the workshop, taking care of all logistical details, and working tirelessly to get the word out.

The Power of a Few to Affect the Many

Everything that’s happened in Denmark is a testament to the power of a few individuals to make a huge difference.

As a not for profit organization, Hanen relies on the passion and hard work of our members around the world to help us reach and make an impact on the lives of young children. We express our deepest thanks to Trine and Helle who freely gave up their time to translate all of the materials without any personal financial gain.

We also extend our appreciation to the following people and organizations in Denmark who share the Hanen vision of helping young children reach their full communication potential:

  • Sophie Ellgaard Soneff and publisher Dafolo A/S, for agreeing to publish the Learning Language and Loving It and ABC and Beyond guidebooks, and for organizing a conference to promote the books
  • Lene Møller Jensen, logopedist, for her instrumental role in bringing to Denmark its first Hanen workshop, It Takes Two to Talk
  • Publisher DØVESKOLERNES MATERIALECENTRE, for publishing the It Takes Two to Talk and Teacher Talk workbooks
  • The Danish Ministry of Children, Gender Equality, Integration and Social Affairs, for inviting Janice to speak about the naturalistic, child-centered philosophy behind Hanen Programs
  • The Municipality of Aarhus, who invited Janice to speak to childcare providers and supervisors about the Learning Language and Loving It approach
  • Jane Sonne, Lena Basse, Malene Slott Nielsen, Bente Reimann Jensen, Sahra Mengal, Mette Thomsen, Mette Skovdal, Ulla Lahti, Jo Beate Gudmand-Høyer, Margit Mikkelsen and Helle Hallenberg Hansen, for translating chapters of the Learning Language and Loving it guidebook

We have no doubt that all these recent events and successes in Denmark are just the beginning of a wave of positive change that’s sure to have far-reaching effects for many, many children.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead

For more than 35 years, The Hanen Centre has taken a leading role in the development of programs and resources for parents and professionals to help all preschool children develop the best possible language, social and literacy skills, including those children with or at risk of language delays and those with developmental challenges such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, including Asperger Syndrome.

Click on the links below to learn more about how Hanen can help you help children communicate: