Register for Waterford Upstart

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Let's get ready for school!

It doesn't cost you anything, but it's worth everything.

Waterford Upstart is an online early learning program with engaging software for children and coaching for the adults who support them.

You’ll get the tools, coaching, and resources to put children on a path to academic success—whether you’re a child’s parent/caregiver, an early childhood care provider, or a community partner.

Programs run over the summer or through the school year, and thanks to our generous supporters, there’s no cost to you!

Each child's success is our mission.

Every child should enter school confident and ready to learn.

With Waterford Upstart, children build foundational skills in reading, math, and science, wherever they learn!

Fill out this form today to see if there’s a program in your area!

A lifetime of learning success starts here!​

If you don't have an email address, call us at 1-888-982-9898
  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive Upstart email communications, including program announcements and free learning resources.
    Create your account by selecting one of the options below:
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You’re already doing the work. We’re here to support you with: 

  • Award-winning, on-demand learning that adapts to each child
  • Interactive activities, songs, and stories that kids love
  • Offline tools, one-on-one coaching, and educational resources
  • Computer and internet access, if needed
On average, children who use Waterford the year before kindergarten enter kindergarten at grade level or above.

Families Love Waterford Upstart

Take a closer look at Waterford Upstart activities

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there eligibility requirements? Why are they different in different areas?

Waterford Upstart is available at no cost to families, early childhood care providers, and community organizations—thanks to generous sponsors who provide funding for the program in a state/region.

The sponsor of the program in an area, such as a state government or private funder, creates the goal of how many children can enroll, and determines eligibility factors, such as income or nearby access to early learning programs.

For example, a funder may sponsor a new program in New Hampshire for 200 children with the goal of reaching those with the greatest need for early learning opportunities.

Is my child eligible if we homeschool?

Yes. Homeschooled children are eligible if your family meets the eligibility requirements of the program in your area.

Is my child eligible if they already participate in another preschool program?

It depends on the requirements of the program in your area. If the program’s eligibility requirements allow children who participate in another preschool program to enroll in Waterford Upstart, then the child will be eligible.

To find out if your child is eligible, complete the registration process. You will have access to a library of digital books and learning resources in English and Spanish even if your child does not qualify for the program in your state.

How do I know if my child is eligible?

To see if your child is eligible, complete the registration form. You’ll see a message letting you know if your child is eligible for a program in your area.

The form takes a few minutes to complete. Even if there’s not a program you qualify for in your state, you will still have access to a library of digital books and resources in English and Spanish.

Does Waterford Upstart cost anything?

Waterford Upstart is offered at no cost to eligible families. All costs, including equipment costs, are covered by generous sponsors.

When should I register my child?

Register now to ensure a spot. Even if your child is too young to participate this year, you can register now, and you will be notified if your child is eligible once they’re old enough to participate.

Who pays for the program?

Each state/regional program has its own funding source. Sponsors range from state governments to private donors. There is no cost to families.

Is Waterford Upstart the same at home as in schools?

Some schools use Waterford programs in the classroom. The Waterford curriculum is the same wherever it is accessed.

When does the program start?

Programs usually begin in September and end in May to align with the traditional school year. Summer programs typically run from June through August.

What do I need to do to get started?

To get started, complete the registration form

Once you complete your registration and are accepted into the program, check your email for instructions on the next steps. You’ll need to do a few things, such as complete Parent/Caregiver Orientation, before your child can start

How long does Waterford Upstart last?

Most Waterford Upstart programs match the timeframe of a typical school year (September to May). Some programs may also run through the summer.

How much time is my child expected to spend on the program?

Children see the most growth from the program when they use it at least 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week. With consistent usage, children build a solid reading foundation that sets them up for success in school.

Learn more about how consistent exposure to the software (Spanish version) leads to an amazing Waterford Upstart experience and great preparation for kindergarten.

What are the terms of participation?

When you register for Waterford Upstart, you’re asked to commit to:

  • Complete the Parent/Caregiver Orientation online
  • Help your child use the software consistently
  • Communicate with us regularly

There is also an end-user license agreement (EULA) that participants must agree to. Participants who receive a computer or internet access as part of their participation must also agree to terms related to appropriate use of equipment.

How will the Waterford Upstart team communicate with me?

You will receive regular calls, texts, emails, and/or virtual event invitations so you have the support you need to prepare your child for kindergarten. 

How much support do I need to give my child while they use the program?

In the beginning, your child will need some help to learn how to use the program independently. You’ll be amazed how quickly they can use it on their own.

When using the program, let your child answer the questions on their own. That way, the Waterford Upstart software can assign lessons personalized to what your child is ready to learn.

If your child is stuck during an activity, suggest that they pick their best guess or favorite answer. Do not give them the correct answer or any hints.

How can I best support my child? 

With everything that Waterford Upstart provides, you’ll have many resources to support your child. Your coach can offer ideas for creating a routine, using resources available in the program, and working with your child to help them do their best.

You can check your child’s progress and daily usage by going to upstart.waterford.org* and checking the Dashboard tab. You can find digital books and ideas for activities you can do with your child in the Resources & Activities tab.

*If your child uses Waterford as part of a school program, you may need to log in at mentor.waterford.org.

How do I know if my child is registered?

You will receive a confirmation email if you have registered for a program in the current school year. You can also check your application status in the Waterford Upstart account you created at upstart.waterford.org.

 

If you have questions, please email registration@waterford.org

 

What is the next step after registration?

After registering and qualifying for a program in your area:

 

When does the program start and end?

Programs usually begin in September and end in May to align with the traditional school year. However, the program in each area may be slightly different.

Do I need a computer to participate?

Your child will need a computer with a mouse to do the daily sessions. You will be able to communicate with us and track your child's progress on a phone or tablet. Some families may qualify for a computer at no cost.

What kind of computer do I need to participate?

Most computers are compatible. Check compatibility.

What if I don't have a computer? Will Waterford.org provide me with one?

In many programs, families may qualify for a computer.

Does the software work on tablets or phones?

Waterford Upstart works best on a computer. Check computer compatibility.

Do I need any extra equipment?

A working computer, a mouse, and an internet connection are needed.

Does my child need a mouse?

Yes, your child will need a mouse or laptop trackpad in order to use the program. 

How does the software work?

Waterford Upstart is a personalized program that adjusts to what your child knows. Your child will spend more time on the skills they need most to prepare them for kindergarten.

What will my child learn?

With consistent daily exposure, your child will learn to read! The reading lessons teach your child the six important skills that are part of learning to read, including: phonological awareness, phonics, reading fluency, reading comprehension and vocabulary, language concepts, and communication.

If your child uses the math and science curriculum, they will learn basic math and science skills to prepare them for school. These include numbers and operations, algebraic thinking, measurement and data, geometry, and science.

Your child will also develop mindset skills to foster a positive attitude, growth mindset, self-regulation, and empathy for others.

You can view the skills taught in the program here. Waterford Upstart is also fully aligned with the standards of all U.S. states and Washington, D.C. To learn more, click here.

How can early childhood care providers get started with Waterford Upstart?

Early childhood care providers can apply for an upcoming Waterford Upstart program by creating an account at https://upstart.waterford.org. If you have questions or need enrollment support, contact support@waterford.org or call 888-892-9898.

When enrolling children in their care, should early childhood care providers use their center’s zip code or the child's home zip code?

Providers should enter the zip code of the care center.

Can Waterford Upstart be customized to meet our center’s specific needs?

Speak with your Community Engagement contact and/or program coach to discuss data sharing and customization options.

Is training available to support the effective use of Waterford Upstart?

Yes, early childhood care providers take the same training that’s available to parents/caregivers in the Checklist Tab within the program. Providers also receive ongoing support from our program coaches.

Who gets access to coaching—the early childhood care provider or the family?

Early childhood care providers and community partners receive coaching if children use the program onsite. This ensures a successful implementation that yields positive learning outcomes. Coaching services are available in English and Spanish (plus additional languages through translation services).

Families gain access to personalized progress data, digital books, and resources in English and Spanish to incorporate at-home learning. If children use the program at home rather than at an early childhood care center, families will receive the coaching.

Can families access the program from home?

You can share a child’s unique Waterford Upstart ID with the child’s family. This allows the child to use the program at home and provides the family with progress
updates and resources.

Are there additional resources or materials available to early childhood care providers?

Within the Waterford Upstart program, there are hundreds of digital books and resources in English and Spanish.

What if there is no program in my area?

New locations are added regularly. To receive a notification when a program becomes available in your area, complete the form at waterford.org/upstart.

How can I bring Waterford Upstart to my community?

To expand access, the Waterford team is willing to engage in joint funding efforts to add, expand, and sustain access to this evidence-based program. Contact support@waterford.org or call 888-892-9898 to learn more.

Is Waterford Upstart appropriate for children with special needs?

Yes. Waterford Upstart is an adaptive curriculum, which means it is personalized to each child’s learning needs.

Should I be concerned with too much screen time?

Research shows that the quality of screen time is more important than the quantity of minutes on a screen. Interactive content that moves slowly and helps young children learn new information is the key. Please check out our YouTube channel for examples.  

The suggested usage of Waterford Upstart children is 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This is within the American Association of Pediatrics screen time recommendations for children older than 2 years, which is 60 minutes a day or less on high-quality programming. 

What if I register and then can't continue in the program?

If you are unable to continue, please contact your coach.

Can my other children use Waterford Upstart?

Yes, contact us for support in creating additional accounts for siblings or other children living in your household. 

Can my child use Waterford Upstart independently?

Yes, the software is simple to use. Your child will require some help in the beginning. You’ll be amazed by how quickly they can use the program by themselves. 

Bookmark upstart.waterford.org* or create a desktop shortcut to help your child get to Waterford Upstart quickly.  Your coach can show you how to do this and offer other helpful tips. 

*If your child uses Waterford as part of a school or district-based program,  you may need to log in at mentor.waterford.org.

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