Free at-home summer program prepares Washington children for kindergarten

Early education nonprofit provides computer, internet and support for parents at no cost

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many families without an early education option in the crucial months before they begin kindergarten. In order to ensure Washington children are prepared for that first day of school this fall, is providing the Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path at no cost to families to keep kids on track over the summer.

“In the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, an at-home solution like the Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path has proven to be not only effective in educating our youngest learners, but also a necessity for many families,” said Claudia Miner, Waterford Upstart executive director and cofounder. “Thanks to our generous philanthropic partners, hundreds of Washington families won’t have to worry about the learning loss associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. They can feel confident their children will walk into their first day of kindergarten prepared and ready to learn.”

In Washington, much like the rest of the country, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the largest drop in enrollment (14%) from kindergarten students. And if Washington follows the rest of the country, enrollment for preschool students was likely even lower. Photo courtesy of the

With the Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path, parents receive weekly calls from a personal coach. Additionally, notifications through Waterford’s app let them know what their child is learning and suggest ways to engage together offline.

Children can use Waterford Upstart’s personalized online program 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week during the condensed summer program. This allows students to achieve the number of program minutes necessary to be kindergarten ready and still falls well within the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) and World Health Organization’s recommendations of no more than one hour of screen time per day for four-year-old children. Laptops and internet access will also be provided at no cost to those families who need them.

This is the second year has provided the Summer Learning Path program to families across the country. In the summer of 2020, more 13,000 children across nine states registered for the Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path. Using the software five days a week over the course of 13 weeks, children achieved an average grade equivalence of “Kindergarten Advanced” level—which is where most children score at the end of their kindergarten year.

This year, the Waterford Upstart Summer Learning path will be available to 700 families across Washington at no cost. To apply for the free program or to learn more, visit the online portal here. is an early education nonprofit with a mission to achieve universal literacy for children through equity, access, and family empowerment. Waterford develops educational tools that guide students along adaptive, individualized learning paths toward fluent reading and lifelong learning.

Thanks to philanthropic donations, Waterford Upstart costs nothing for families. Because a portion of the program includes adaptive software, families also receive a computer and internet for free as well as support from a family coach. Photo courtesy of

Waterford empowers families to be their child’s first teacher and supports teachers in taking the right actions at the right time for their students. Currently, serves over 300,000 children across the country every year. Waterford’s programs have been supported by a variety of governmental and philanthropic organizations, including support from a federal EIR grant, The Studio @ Blue Meridian, and TED’s Audacious Project.

Waterford Upstart helps young children develop cognitive and social-emotional skills in the home by empowering families to become their child’s first and most influential teachers. Waterford Upstart’s instructional program is used 15 minutes per day, 5 days a week, guiding children along a personalized path to learn the fundamentals of literacy.

Families are also partnered with family coaches who provide tools and insight to help them continue to work with their children offline. Waterford Upstart has been rigorously tested and proven: independent research shows the average graduate enters kindergarten reading at nearly a first-grade level, and students maintain those gains through the fourth grade. The program has been named a TED Audacious Project, is a participant in The Studio @ Blue Meridian, and has received a federal EIR grant. Waterford Upstart is available to families, including those unserved or underserved by existing PreK options, at no cost.

Information provided by

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x