Early Learning Software

Common Questions

Background

What is UPSTART?

UPSTART is an in-home, computer-based kindergarten readiness program that gives children a fun start in reading, as well as math and science, in just 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Why is this free?

Certain state or local municipalities and school districts provide the funds for this program as a way to help children better prepare for kindergarten. A limited number of slots are funded annually for eligible families.

Eligibility

Who is eligible to participate?

UPSTART is for children the year before they enter kindergarten. The child must reside in a sponsored area or district and must not have entered kindergarten.

Participants must have a computer that meets the minimum program specifications and have access to high-speed Internet. If you do not have a computer and Internet, you may qualify for the use of a loaned computer and support for Internet connectivity. Contact User Support at 1-800-660-4533 to see if you qualify.

Participants must agree to use the program at least 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Am I eligible if I home school?

Yes. Home schooling families are eligible to participate. Preschoolers who are home schooled will end participation when the preschool child would normally enter public kindergarten.

Am I eligible if my preschooler already participates in other preschool programs?

Yes.

Can my other children use the program?

Your child or children who are in the year before entering kindergarten are eligible to participate in UPSTART. Your start–up kit will arrive ready for them to begin using the program 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Your other children (up to five children can use the drive) are also welcome to enjoy and learn from the program, but they will not be official UPSTART participants. You will need to go into the parent manager and set up individual accounts for each child. If you need help with this, call User Support.

Participation Requirements

What are participants required to do for this program?

Participation is very simple. Every participant agrees to use the program at least 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week. We encourage participants to set a regular schedule such as when younger siblings are napping or older siblings are doing homework. Although the program is a lot of fun, your 4- or 5-year-old may choose to assert his or her independence by saying, “Not today.” To help, we offer convenient training with strategies to establish and keep to your schedule.

Parents and caregivers must attend a training meeting at the beginning of the program.

How long does the UPSTART program last?

Participants should begin using the program within a day or two of receiving their start–up kit. All families should continue using the program consistently until UPSTART graduation.

When is the first day of the program?

Participants should begin using the program within a day or two of receiving their start-up materials.

Do I need a computer and Internet to participate?

Yes. UPSTART is a computer-based preschool program. Your computer will need to meet minimum specifications, and you must have high–speed Internet.

You can also contact us at 1-800-699-4533 if you would like to participate and you do not have a computer or Internet. You may qualify for the use of a computer and Internet during the UPSTART program.

What if I don’t have a computer or Internet?

Please contact Support at 1-800-669-4533 if you would like to participate and you do not have a computer and Internet. Participants may qualify for the use of a loaned computer and Internet during the UPSTART program.

What kind of a computer do I need to use the program?

WINDOWS
Windows® 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista®, Windows XP operating system with:

  • Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 1.6GHz or faster
  • 2 GB RAM or higher (1 GB on Windows XP)
  • High-speed Internet connection

Additional Software

  • Chrome™—version 15 or higher
  • Flash® Player 10 with Flash® browser plug-in
  • Adobe® AIR 2.0

MACINTOSH
Macintosh® OS X® 10.6.2 (or later) operating system with:

  • Intel Mac 1.8 GHz or faster
  • 2GB RAM or higher
  • High-speed Internet connection

Additional Software

  • Chrome™—version 15 or higher
  • Flash® Player 10 with Flash® browser plug-in
  • Adobe® AIR 2.0

CHROMEBOOK
Chrome operating system with:

  • Atom™ N570 Dual-Core Processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • High-speed Internet connection

Additional Software

  • Chrome™—version 15 or higher
  • Flash® Player 10 with Flash® browser plug-in
  • Adobe® AIR 2.0

What if I’m not very comfortable with computers?

Waterford Early Learning® does not require you to be computer savvy. It is very easy to set up and use. User Support is also available at 1-800-669-4533 to help you with any problem that may arise.

Do I need any extra equipment?

No extra equipment is required; however, you may want to consider the following peripherals to enhance your child’s experience:

  • Small, notebook–sized mouse
    Often, it is difficult for little hands to move the cursor to the target on the screen and click smoothly with an adult–sized mouse. Also consider putting a sticker on the correct (or left) button of the mouse, so your child will know exactly where to press.

  • Headphones
    Headphones for your child can prevent distractions.

  • Printer
    A printer allows your child to print certificates and worksheets from the program.

What if I’m no longer able to participate?

If for whatever reason you cannot meet the program requirements, please contact User Support at 1-800-669-4533. You will need to return all UPSTART materials to us.

What if I move out of state during UPSTART?

If you move out of state you are no longer eligible to participate in UPSTART. Please contact User Support at 1-800-669-4533 to arrange for the return of your UPSTART materials.

The Learning Software

What software will my child be using?

Your child will be working primarily on Waterford Early Learning®—Waterford’s award-winning learning system with complete instruction in beginning reading, math, and science.*

Your child will also use Waterford Assessments of Core Skills™ as a measure of your child’s progress.

*For i3 rural UPSTART participants, call 1-800-669-4533.

What will my child learn?

Waterford Early Learning® includes a full curriculum. Each child moves through the lessons at his or her own pace. Each day your child will see reading first and then move into math and science.* Here are some skills that your preschooler will learn.

Reading Math Science
Spell their name Matching Five senses
Recognize capital A–Z Sorting Seasons
Recognize lowercase a–z Recognizing and making 1–20 Sun, moon, constellations
Nursery rhymes Counting and making groups Water and clouds
Letter sounds Shapes Living and nonliving
Alliterative books Positions Plant or animal
Print concepts Sizes Categorizing animals
Songs from around the world Measurement Ecosystems
Vocabulary words Logical reasoning Push and pull
Hearing the sounds in speech …and much more Observing an egg develop into a chicken
…and much more …and much more

*For i3 rural UPSTART participants, call 1-800-669-4533.

Does the program run from a CD or a DVD?

No.  Waterford Early Learning® is web-delivered.

Is the program easy for children to use?

Waterford Early Learning® is designed for very young children. It uses large buttons, obvious directions, and support that help children progress. Most children can use the program independently within 20 minutes of starting it.

How many times will my child take Waterford Assessments of Core Skills™ (WACS)?

Your child will take WACS twice during the UPSTART program. The first time your child takes WACS it will be at a central location under the direction of Waterford staff at the same time you are receiving program training. If you are unable to attend one of these sessions, Waterford staff will contact you to help you administer the test for the first time. The second time will be at the end-of-program graduation.

Can my child access other materials on the Internet while working on this program?

This program runs through a browser, so it is possible. To help prevent your child from accessing other websites, press F11 to turn on full-screen mode. This hides the address bar, the bookmarks bar, and any other open tabs. To exit full-screen mode, press F11 again.

Does the program include any materials not on the computer?

Yes. Your child can print materials directly from the program. From the Parent Manager, you can access a vast library of coloring sheets, worksheets, cards, and games to print anytime.

Your start-up kit will also include information to help you to make the most of your time in UPSTART. If you want more tips and tricks, convenient training, or User Support call us at 1-800-669-4533. Our team is available to provide ideas on how to use these extra materials.

Will my child socialize with other children through UPSTART?

UPSTART is an at-home program that prepares children academically for kindergarten. Because families are best at teaching social, ethical, and moral values, we encourage participants to find other ways to help their preschoolers prepare for school socially.

Program Support

How much support will I need to give my child while he or she works on the program?

Most children can use the program independently within 20 minutes of starting it. Encourage your child to work independently, and don’t worry if he or she makes mistakes. When your child gets an answer wrong, the computer program follows up later with activities and games to teach the skill again so your child can get it right next time.

While your child isn’t likely to need help working on the computer, he or she will need your encouragement to get started every day. Although the program is a lot of fun, your four-year-old may choose to assert his or her independence by saying, “Not today.” Your enthusiasm and follow through are an important part of the program. And when you need ideas, User Support is available to help at 1–800–669–4533.

Will I receive any reports on my child’s progress?

The program includes simple reports that are available any time. Reports include recommendations of activities preschoolers can do with parents to continue the learning away from the computer.

Your child will also participate in a simple, computer-based reading test at the beginning and at the end of his or her participation. Reports are available online immediately after the test is complete.

We know you will be interested in how well your child is doing, and these reports will provide you with the information you need. You can also contact User Support at 1-800-669-4533 anytime for help accessing and using reports.

Technical Troubleshooting

Why isn’t my password working?

Your unique password is case–sensitive. Enter your password exactly as printed. If your password still is not accepted, click on the Forgot your password? link and a new password will immediately be sent to the e–mail address we have on file. For additional help call User Support at 1-800-669-4533.

My e-mail address or child’s name is incorrect. How do I correct it?

If your e-mail address or child’s name is incorrect, please call User Support at 1-800-669-4533 so we can update your information on all our records.

Why am I stuck at the loading screen?

This is a firewall issue. Please call User Support at 1-800-669-4533 for help with this problem.