The Farabee family is elated by the progress their two children are making after using UPSTART. Their daughter has been able to improve her pronunciation so much that speech therapy is no longer a concern for her parents. Their son has progressed so rapidly with just UPSTART that the Farabee’s feel he won’t need preschool as he is nearly kindergarten ready.
Maggie Farabee is the mother of three children and lives with her husband in Lehi, Utah. The family recently moved from Texas, where her oldest child attended preschool for one year. She is now in kindergarten and uses UPSTART as an intervention tool.
Maggie’s younger son also uses UPSTART daily and has already surpassed the level of readiness that his older sister reached at the preschool in Texas. Her third child is not yet preschool-aged.
Challenge and Needs
In Texas, the Farabee’s oldest daughter attended an all-day preschool. While it left her pretty well-prepared for kindergarten, there were a few problems. Maggie felt that an all-day program was too much for her daughter, who at 4, needed more time at home. Maggie struggled to find balance between the all-day programs offered in her area and her daughter’s need for kindergarten readiness.
Second, Maggie’s daughter had some speech issues that she felt were not being addressed. “We were concerned we would have to send her to speech therapy because she lacked correct pronunciation,” said Maggie. “The teacher just couldn’t provide individual attention.”
After moving to Utah, with their son now approaching school age, the family became concerned about the cost of paying for preschool.
During a search for free preschool programs for her son, Maggie found UPSTART. This seemed like the perfect solution—at no cost, Maggie could give him the experience he needed to prepare for kindergarten while remaining in their home. She enrolled him in September 2013 and he immediately started using UPSTART for 15 minutes a day, five days a week. Her son is now progressing faster than his sister was when she was the same age and attending an all-day program, and he’s only investing a fraction of the time.
Also thanks to her son’s enrollment in UPSTART, Maggie’s daughter was also able to set up an account. She began using the program to practice her pronunciation skills that needed honing. Now that she attends kindergarten, UPSTART has become an effective tool for Maggie to work with her daughter’s teacher to help her improve on those challenging areas on an as-needed basis.
After three months of using UPSTART, Maggie’s son had reached the level of kindergarten readiness that his sister had reached in a whole year of attending a full-day preschool program. Since his initial UPSTART evaluation, she has witnessed her son make rapid progress that wasn’t visible in the Pre-K program her daughter attended. Maggie is confident that he is very well prepared to begin public school.
Maggie’s son says he likes UPSTART because it teaches him about school, and how to listen to the teacher. He says that knows that he can learn.
Before Maggie’s daughter used UPSTART, the family was worried they would have to put her in speech therapy. Now they have no concerns, as using UPSTART helped her overcome her pronunciation problems that preschool did not address.
Maggie appreciates UPSTART because it makes it possible to be involved. While in preschool, Maggie had little chance for involvement but UPSTART allows her to be as involved as her children need her to be. It also gives her a tool to be more involved in her daughter’s public school education.
She also notes that UPSTART has taught her children to focus. Her son has trouble sitting still for long, but Maggie says that UPSTART keeps his attention. Sessions are long enough to be effective and enable children to develop the skill of focus, but they don’t dwell on the same concept for too long. As an adaptive software, UPSTART uses various games, songs, and activities to practice a concept. For example, Maggie’s son struggles with the “th” sound. The program will teach the concept, let him practice, and come back to it if he still struggles.
“I would recommend UPSTART to anyone,” said Maggie. “UPSTART prepares kids so much that kindergarten can be a refresher for them.”
For the Farabees, UPSTART has made all the difference for their two young children as they enter public school. It was a defining factor in their choice not to seek special education services for their daughter. And after learning from their daughter’s preschool experience, UPSTART has helped them achieve balance between educational and family goals for their son.