New learning program gives Missouri Children a strong start in kindergarten
Thursday, May 13, 2021 ~ Updated 5:28 PM
Kindergarten is a milestone that marks the start of a child's educational journey. For many, itís their first exposure to a formal learning environment. Children begin kindergarten at varying levels of readiness, but the foundation they start with has lasting implications.
"If a child enters kindergarten behind, they will likely stay behind," said Kim Fischer, VP of communication for Utah-based nonprofit Waterford.org.
In a typical year, children donít all enter school with the same skills. And this year has been anything but typical. The impact of COVID-19 on daycares and preschools means even more children have been left without the early learning resources they would otherwise have. Experts worry that more children than usual may be unprepared to start kindergarten.
Itís not too late, though, for families to give their children a boost before they start school. Waterford Upstartís Summer Learning Path provides a solid foundation in reading, science and math. This online, at-home program is completely free and provided on a first come, first serve basis to 700 Missouri families with preschool-aged children.
Participating families receive everything they need including the software, a coach to support them along the way, progress reports, and offline resources and activities. The organization even provides a computer and internet access if needed.
Waterford Upstartís Summer Learning Path was created last year as a direct response to school closures. Waterford.org heard family concerns about pandemic-related learning loss and stepped up to help children in several states gain a strong foundation.
The results were incredible. After using the software for just 20 minutes a day, five days a week, children entered kindergarten at nearly a first-grade level! Thatís a year ahead after only one summer of growth.
This matches the results of earlier studies showing that Waterford Upstart boosts students' reading skills before they start school and keeps them from falling behind. With COVID-19 limiting what families can do to prepare for school, Waterford Upstart is all the more valuable as a resource.
The Summer Learning Path is a shortened version of Waterford Upstart, a year-long kindergarten readiness program that has been helping families prepare their children for kindergarten for 12 years. Its mission is to help every child reach their full potential by learning the skills and confidence they need to thrive in the classroom.
If your child will start kindergarten next year, you can help them gain the skills they need to succeed through the Summer Learning Path.
The application process is quick and simple. All it takes is a few minutes to fill out the online form at www.waterford.org/summer.
You can also help by sharing this resource with any qualifying families you know. With Waterford Upstartís Summer Learning Path, we can make sure that every child in Missouri has the chance to start school with a solid foundation.