Ohio Families Can Now Prepare for Kindergarten From Home, At No Cost

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Registration for Waterford Upstart is now open for TANF eligible Ohio 4-year-olds

(Columbus, OH) January 5, 2021 — According to several recent reports, millions of children have gone missing from the education system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For our youngest learners, in their most crucial learning years, this can mean serious, long-term consequences. To ensure Ohio’s preschool-aged children are ready for school on day one, the state has partnered with the early education nonprofit, Waterford.org, to bring the Waterford Upstart program into the homes of low-income families in the Buckeye State.

“When a child begins school behind his or her peers, it’s very hard to catch up,” said Claudia Miner, Waterford Upstart executive director. “Thankfully help is on the way for Ohio families who are doing their best, but struggling during this stressful time. With the Waterford Upstart program, parents and caregivers will get the tools and support they need to help their child walk into class on their first day of school confident and ready to learn.”

TANF eligible Ohio families with 4-year-olds can register now for the Waterford Upstart program. Waterford Upstart is an in-home, early education program that gives parents the tools they need to become their child’s first and most influential teacher, including a computer and internet access at no cost. The program provides positive parent-child interactions while delivering personalized, online instruction 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Parents are also given support through a personal coach and tips to continue engaging their children offline.

This past summer, 580 Ohio children across 54 counties were given the opportunity to prepare for kindergarten at home using Waterford Upstart and the results were impressive—the average program graduate entered kindergarten at a “Kindergarten Intermediate” level—which is where most children score mid-point during their kindergarten year.

“During COVID-19, we have seen just how deep the technology divide is across the nation. The Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path provided the tools families needed to keep their children learning from home, even in the most rural parts of our state. We are really encouraged by the results,” said Megan Riddlebarger, Executive Director of Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development.

Registration for the Waterford Upstart program is open now! TANF eligible families can register their 4-year-olds for this at-home, no-cost early education program by calling 1-888-982-9898 or logging on to WaterfordUpstart.org.

About Waterford.org

Waterford.org is an education nonprofit with a mission to achieve universal literacy for children through equity, access, and parent empowerment. Waterford develops educational tools that guide students along adaptive, individualized learning paths toward fluent reading and lifelong learning. Waterford empowers parents 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.

About Waterford Upstart

Waterford Upstart helps four-year-old children prepare for school at home and at no cost. Children develop foundational reading and social-emotional skills, and parents are empowered to become their child’s first and most influential teachers. The children use adaptive software just 15 minutes a day, five days a week in the year before they start school. Waterford Upstart also fuels family involvement in their child’s early education through parent coaches and fun educational activities parents can complete with their children offline. Waterford Upstart has been rigorously tested and proven, earning the program a federal EIR grant and the title of a TED Audacious project. Independent research shows the average Waterford Upstart graduate enters kindergarten reading at nearly a first-grade level and maintains those gains through the fourth grade.

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