COVID-19 has turned so many parents into at-home teachers and for many, it has been a challenge. Now, an at-home program that helps parents learn how to teach their preschoolers is getting ready to fully launch in North Carolina.
At least one parent who has been utilizing the “in-school” version of the program during the pandemic said it has given her two youngsters the tools they need for advancement.
“We look to help children all the way from pre-K up to sixth grade with literacy,” said Kim Fischer, national spokesperson at Waterford.org.
The organization’s current focus for North Carolina is its pre-K program known as Waterford Upstart.
“Right now, 2.2 million children on average, don’t have any access to pre-K in the United States,” Fischer said.
A study by Americanpress.org shows only 27 percent of North Carolina 4-year-olds in 2018 were enrolled in public pre-K. Whether it’s because of transportation, proximity, parents choosing to homeschool, or even lack of capacity at nearby schools. That’s where Waterford Upstart comes in.
“We give them a parent coach that walks them through things, helps them answer questions, really encourages them to keep helping their children,” Fischer said. “They get push notifications to know how their child is doing, where they may be falling behind and how they can address those things offline.”
Fifteen minutes a day, five days a week of interactive math, reading and science from the comfort of your home. It’s something Chatham County mother Jessica Boone said has made all the difference.
“I’ve definitely seen a difference in his spelling and his writing, even his reading since we’ve used those programs,” Boone said.
As a high school lacrosse coach, full-time mother of two and now an at-home teacher, Boone said this program brought some relief
“Math is tough. Common core math is not the math that you and I grew up with,” Boone said.
Back in March, when schools in North Carolina went online, the Chatham County school district told parents about the Waterford program.
“It gives them the opportunity to do other subjects that I can’t do myself or makes it a little bit more interactive and fun,” Boone said.
While kids are struggling to come to grips with living in the era of COVID-19, Waterford also helps parents talk about the tough conversations too.
“Seven ways you can talk to your children about social distancing. It explains why it’s important to wear a mask. It’s the conversations parents want to have, but may not know how to have,” Fischer said.
Fischer adds that kids graduate on average from their upstart program with a first-grade reading level.
Waterford.org is a state-funded program so it is free to use. If you don’t have access to the internet or Wi-Fi, Waterford provides it.
Registration is available right now for kids entering pre-K and the program will begin this August and goes through May.