Addressing COVID Learning Loss: $3M Investment Helps Children in Six States Prepare for Kindergarten at Home this Summer

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With COVID-19 disrupting early education across the country, a nonprofit program aims to keep over 4,000 children on track for the fall, at no cost.

(Salt Lake City, UT) March 30, 2021 The COVID-19 pandemic left many families without an early education option in the crucial months before their children begin kindergarten. In order to ensure children are prepared for that first day of school this fall, Waterford.org is providing the Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path to families at no cost. This program seeks to support 4,200 students and families across six states—Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Virginia and Washington—who have been affected by COVID-19 either through personal economic hardship or a lack of early education options.

“In the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, an at-home solution like the Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path has proven to be not only effective in educating our youngest learners, but also a necessity for many families,” said Claudia Miner, Waterford Upstart executive director and cofounder. “Thanks to our generous philanthropic partners, thousands of families won’t have to worry about the learning loss associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. They can feel confident their children will walk into their first day of kindergarten prepared and ready to learn.”

With the Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path, parents receive weekly calls from a personal coach. Additionally, notifications through Waterford’s app Mentor let them know what their child is learning and suggest ways to engage together offline. Children use Waterford Upstart’s personalized online program 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week during the condensed summer program. This allows students to achieve the number of program minutes necessary to be kindergarten ready and still falls well within the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) and World Health Organization’s recommendations of no more than one hour of screen time per day for four-year-old children.

This is the second year Waterford.org has provided the Summer Learning Path program to families across the country. Results show the program works! In the summer of 2020, more 13,000 children across 9 states registered for the Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path. Using the software for 25 minutes each day, five days a week over the course of 13 weeks, children achieved an average grade equivalence of “Kindergarten Advanced” level—which is where most children score at the end of their kindergarten year.

“We are excited to support Waterford.org in providing the Upstart Summer Learning Path to 4,200 young children so they can be prepared for kindergarten this fall,” said Stephanie Sharp, Associate Program Officer at Overdeck Family Foundation, the primary funder of this year’s Summer Learning Path program. “We know children are highly likely to experience significant learning loss as a result of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Waterford Upstart’s program plays a critical role in providing access and opportunity for children to overcome those barriers and start school ready to learn.”

Thanks to a generous donation from Overdeck Family Foundation, this summer program costs nothing for families that qualify. Waterford.org will also provide a computer and internet access to families that do not have these resources.

To apply for this free program or to learn more, click here.

About Waterford.org

Waterford.org is an education nonprofit with a mission to achieve universal literacy for children through equity, access, and family empowerment. Waterford develops educational tools that guide students along adaptive, individualized learning paths toward fluent reading and lifelong learning. Waterford empowers families as a child’s first teacher and supports teachers in taking the right actions at the right time for their students. Currently, Waterford.org serves over 300,000 children across 43 states every year. Waterford.org is a BBB Accredited Charity with programs supported by a variety of governmental and philanthropic organizations, including support from a federal EIR grant, The Studio @ Blue Meridian, and TED’s Audacious Project.

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