Collier County families with children who will enter kindergarten during the 2020-2021 school year may be eligible to apply for free access to the Waterford UPSTART Summer Learning Path school-readiness program. Active across 15 states, UPSTART reaches the most at-risk kids in a community. In addition, program leaders are hoping to reach families whose income, employment, or access to federally funded preschool have been impacted by COVID-19.
About Waterford UPSTART
Waterford UPSTART’s School Learning Path teaches preschool-aged children the subjects and skills they will need in kindergarten. As well as a focus on reading, these include math, science, and social-emotional learning. Program leaders understand how much school closures caused by COVID-19 are impacting kids. Having free access to a proven, virtual program during the summer months will help more children enter kindergarten prepared.
About the Free Program
Accepted kids and their families will be connected to the award-winning software, a program coach they can contact for support. Computers and internet access will also be shared with those in need. Priority is given to families at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level at the time of registration. Children born between September 1, 2014 and September 1, 2015 who will enter kindergarten in Fall 2020 may apply. Registration is open now and all online. The program begins on June 1 and runs through August. Generous support from charitable partners ensures the Summer Learning Path is available to families free of charge.
The online programming is designed by education experts to be accessible to and fun for young kids. For only 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week, preschool children can work and learn independently. Content includes reading, songs, and other creative, age-appropriate activities to keep kids’ interest.
Supporting Early Childhood Learning
Early childhood education has been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19, with only a fraction of centers currently open, capacity limited, and health concerns a factor. Parents are struggling to keep up their work commitments while ensuring their children are cared for. Even under the most ordinary circumstances, many kids lose ground in their academic progress during the summer months. Programs like Waterford UPSTART help the families who need it most keep their kids on track for success at a vulnerable time.
For additional information about school-readiness for kindergarteners, reference Future Ready Collier’s Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit.