Online preschool curriculum free to families

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Daily Reporter Staff Reports

INDIANAPOLIS — Parents of young children might want to check out a free online program to help their kids prepare for kindergarten at home.

Waterford.org announced the expansion of the Waterford Upstart program to 4-year-olds across the state. Previously, the program was only available to Indiana’s most rural families, but during the 2021 state legislative session, the program was expanded statewide.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with (the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration) and provide this early education solution for the state’s youngest learners,” said Kim Fischer, national spokesperson for Waterford.org. “Reaching children early is the best way to help all students succeed, and our program removes many of the barriers families face when it comes to early learning.”

The at-home, early education program prepares 4-year-old children for kindergarten during the year before they start school. Families are given the tools they need to be their child’s first and most influential teachers, including a computer and internet at no cost. The program provides positive parent-child interactions while delivering personalized, online instruction that is fun and engaging.

Children spend 15 minutes on reading curriculum and 15 minutes on math and science curriculum five days a week. Families are also supported by a family coach and given tips to continue engaging their children offline, along with a computer and internet access if needed.

Families with children entering kindergarten in Fall 2022 can register now at waterfordupstart.org. Spots are limited and restrictions apply; it is available to families who are at 127 percent of the poverty level or below.

On average, 92 percent of children who participate in Waterford Upstart are ready for kindergarten—compared to a 65 percent average nationwide and 48 percent for low-income children, according to the company.