I will be honest, when Rhiana Medina from the Multi-Cultural Center appeared in my office at the university, and started telling me about a new learning program for preschool to kindergarten learners, I was skeptical. Like any parent or educator, I had seen a host of programs and watched early learners become quickly bored and abandon the current endeavor for the next best thing.  Marketing to early learners is big business, so finding a program that will stick can be a struggle for parents and educators. 

Rhiana had originally come to me and asked me to implement the program into the community, but due to my own academic constraints I didn't get the chance to offer to help.  I did however suggest to my own family that they look into the program; and they did.  That program was the UPSTART Program, a  FREE learning program designed by the Waterford Institute.

Within the program, students’ progress through levels, mastering each level before continuing on to the next.   There are games, music, and activities to keep them engaged and motivated to want to learn.  It is all self-lead learning, with minimal if any guidance.  Your students basically teach themselves.  The computer program has the ability to test where a student’s level is,  and places them in the appropriate sections for that ability.   

After months of use, I can confirm that the program has made a wonderful impact on one preschooler named Sienna.  Sienna started out on the Waterford Upstart Program, spending just 15 minutes a day self navigating through the various games and activities.  She  now spends more time on the program,  and that time is very well spent.  She is laughing, and clapping, and reciting words and singing; it’s wonderful to watch her learn to read and enjoy it.

 When I noticed that Sienna was learning her ABC's in three different languages I was astonished.  To her learning is  fun, and she is absorbing the information at a much more rapid pace than I first thought.

If you have been looking for a reading program, this one opens the door to that learning. I would highly recommend this program to parents and educators everywhere.   Kids love to learn, and learning should be fun. The Waterford Institute has taken that to heart in designing this program with kids in mind. 

If your child is entering kindergarten in 2016 or a  later date you can  pre-register your child on line at http://www.waterfordupstart.org  A toll free number is also available at 1-800-669-4533 to pre-register.


The Waterford Upstart Program, was created and designed by the Waterford Institute with early learners in mind.  A free online educational program, it is sure to make an impact on your child’s learning.