Online program preps kids for kindergarten during pandemic

As school models fluctuate between in-person and virtual learning during the coronavirus pandemic, the help available remains constant.

"The program is fully personalized on what the child needs," Beth Plewa said.

Beth Plewa

Plewa with shared details about Waterford UPSTART, a new pilot program aimed at reaching young learners.

"The early years are the most crucial for academic success, so what we are ready to do is make sure kids are ready for kindergarten on day one because we know if a kindergartener enters not so ready, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, for them to catch up with their peers in later years," she said.

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Waterford UPSTART

The pandemic is posing even further challenges. 

"We are seeing some studies showing these gaps between kids might be getting even bigger than they have been in the past," Plewa said.

To help, the online program, which is 15-20 minutes a day, is bolstered with offline activities — even optional math and science content. 

"It’s interactive and engaging so children will see games, songs, activities, digital books they can read," she said. "We have a sequence of what the child will go through. If they need something extra on a topic, they will get it straight from the program."

It's a format Tori Lord-White said worked well for her 5-year-old son, Sol.

"It was awesome for him," she said. "He felt more confident going in -- had a foundation." 

It's one more resource to help your child on the path to success. 

"We are looking to get as many families signed up as possible right away," Plewa said. 

Spots are still available for kids in Milwaukee Public Schools and the Racine Unified School District. The program is free, and families who qualify will also receive a free computer and internet access.