Connecticut program available for families to help prepare children for school – NBC Connecticut

There’s a new tool in Connecticut to prepare young children for kindergarten, before they even set foot in a classroom.

“Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path” is a pre-K pilot program just launched in the state by national non-profit organization Waterford.org. Their goal is to improve literacy by giving children equal access to learning materials.

The non-profit organization said that 2.2 million children do not have access to publicly funded preschool education. They say more than half of low-income preschoolers have no early education options.

But now there are openings in the Upstart program for 200 Connecticut children who are preparing to start kindergarten in the fall. In addition to this summer program, there are another 500 places for children starting kindergarten next year.

The association is funded by donations so that the program is free for families.

“We are really looking for families who don’t have access to some form of pre-K. So if you do, leave the slots open for families who need it. But if you’re not sure your child will be ready for kindergarten, this program is for you,” said Kim Fischer, Senior Vice President of Waterford.org.

Here’s how it works: Parents work with their children at home for just 20 minutes a day, five times a week. They will also communicate remotely with a coach.

This is to make sure these kids know things like colors, numbers and their ABCs before they go to school.

The association will provide a laptop, computer or Internet service to families who do not have one.

“There’s a gap and this pre-K learning, whether it’s you know, families who are stuck on a waiting list, whether there’s no access to a pre-K center in your area, or maybe it’s a transportation problem or a timing problem, whatever the case may be, there are families who don’t have access to it, and so our program makes it a lot easier because families can do it at home on their own schedule and prepare this child, and families participate as well,” Fischer said.

Parents can register their children by calling 888-982-9898. Families are registered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ryan H. Bowman