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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 thanks to generous sponsors who provide funding for the program in a state/region. Each state/region is called a “program” or “cohort.”


The sponsor of each program, such as a state government or private funder, sets the goals for how many families can enroll and 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 families with the goal of reaching families 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 eligibility requirements set by the funder allow children who participate in another preschool program to enroll in Waterford Upstart, they 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, and there is no cost to families.

Is Waterford Upstart the same at home as in schools?

Some schools use Waterford programs. The curriculum children experience is the same.

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). 


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, five days a week. With consistent usage, children build a solid reading foundation that sets them up for success in school. 


Learn more (Spanish) about how consistent exposure to the software leads to an amazing 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:


There is also an end-user license agreement (EULA) that participants must agree to. Families 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 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? 

You’ll have loads of resources to support your child, starting with your coach. Your coach can offer ideas for creating a routine, using resources, and working with your child. 


You can check your child’s progress and daily usage by going to* 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 

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


If you have questions, please email


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. You can check compatibility here.


What if I don't have a computer? Will 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. You can check computer compatibility here.


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 D.C.  For more, click here.

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* 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 program,  you may need to log in at