Plus, the program provides parental support, and even a graduation ceremony for students. It began in Utah, but they have expanded their offerings across the U.S. through federal and philanthropic funding.
Overall, the Waterford UPSTART in-home, adaptive curriculum helps prepare students for kindergarten, and is designed to be used 15-minutes a day, 5 days a week.
Waterford UPSTART also partners with parents and caregivers to provide support throughout the entire program. Plus, the program will provide computers (and even internet access), to eligible homes without them.
Overall, the Waterford UPSTART program works in all preschool areas, but they have a particular focus on:
- Rural areas, without lots of services, or where the distance to preschool programs in too far
- Families not sending children to site-based preschool, but are unsure how to prepare children for school
- Children wait-listed for site-based programs
- Non-native speakers and english language learners
The video below provides an overview of the program and shares parental experiences from folks who have completed the program:
Overall, Waterford UPSTART is broken down into four components:
- Waterford Assessment of Core Skills (WACS): The pre and post assessment to determine where students are at, and to show growth over the course of the program. The pre-assessment is provided in person when parents register for the curriculum.
- Waterford Curriculum: The adaptive and sequenced curriculum
- Camp Consonant: Multisensory tutoring software, for students who have challenges with the traditional curriculum
- Parent support and engagement: Includes weekly phone calls and coaching on how to best help the child progress.
Based on the pre-assessment, the Waterford UPSTART program creates an individualized learning curriculum for each and every student. Overall, Waterford UPSTART includes 2500+ lessons, 7000+ activities, 360+ digital books, 330 animated songs, 450+ instructional hours. All of the content in Waterford UPSTART is aligned with Headstart, and aligned with NAEYC 12 principles of child development, as well as endorsed by council of administrators and special educators (CASE).
This infographic provides a more in-depth look at the program and curriculum (click to enlarge):
As students move through the program, the parent manager provides a detailed progress report. Parents can see how much time students are spending, and how they are moving through the curriculum. Additionally, the Waterford UPSTART team provides multiple licenses, so you may have your 4 year old enrolled, but up to four other siblings can use the software. Plus each family/caregiver is assigned a coach to help them learn the program, and dual-language support is offered.
Once families and students have been using the program and complete the curriculum, they have a graduation ceremony, and administer the post-test. Overall, 99% of families felt that the program was beneficial, prepared them for kindergarten, and would recommend it to others.
Plus, in external evaluations, compared to control groups, students showed 2x - 3x the learning gains over control groups. The Utah State Office of Education also released a longitudinal study showing that the Waterford UPSTART group of students was ahead of students who did not participate in the program. In short, their program has seen exceptional results.
You can see an additional example of how the program is being used in cities like Philadelphia in the video below:
Overall, Waterford UPSTART partners with local school districts, but also at the state level with departments of education. Parents interested in more information can contact the team here. here. For school districts and departments of education, you can reach out to Waterford UPSTART here.
The team at Waterford UPSTART has done exceptional work building a program that is user-friendly even at the preschool level, and they provide an important and essential service to students who are in need. They will go to enormous lengths (even installing solar paneling to get electricity to students) to get eligible students the technology resources they need. It’s wonderful to see a company doing so much work to help students who are typically disenfranchised from a very early age.
As decades of research shows, these early years of learning are beyond crucial for development, and Waterford UPSTART is doing everything they can to ensure that these students have equal access to learning. Overall, I highly recommend the program, and am grateful for the work their team is doing.
I was not compensated for writing this review.