At-home early education program expands to reach 4-year-olds statewide

Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS ((WANE) – An online early education program is expanding its program to eligible 4-year-olds across the state.

In the past, state leaders and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration have partnered with Waterford to provide the Waterford Upstart program to the most rural Indiana families, but during the 2021 state legislative session, the program was expanded statewide.

Waterford Upstart is an at-home, early education program that prepares 4-year-olds for kindergarten during the year before they start school. Through the program 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.

During the program, children spend 15 minutes on reading curriculum and 15 minutes on math and science curriculum five days a week, Waterford said. 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.

On average, Waterford said 92% of children who participate in the program are ready for kindergarten, compared to a 65% average nationwide and 48% for low-income children.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with FSSA and provide this early education solution for the state’s youngest learners. 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. We believe this will bring much-needed equity to qualifying families across the state,” said Kim Fischer, national spokesperson for Waterford.org.

Families with children entering kindergarten in Fall 2022 can register now at waterfordupstart.org. Spots are limited and restrictions apply.

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