Who is eligible to participate?

UPSTART is for children the year before they enter kindergarten. The child must reside in a Utah school 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. Loan qualification is based on family income and size as stated by Utah Legislation. Contact User Support to see if you qualify.

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, UPSTART is a great enhancement to children already attending preschool; the program provides personalized learning in reading, math and science, but it does not address other important areas of early childhood development, such as: self-help skills, social/emotional skills, and large/small motor skills. The activities you are doing with your child in your home or preschool setting will complement the cognitive development that UPSTART provides for your child.

What if I live outside of Utah?

You are not eligible to register for UPSTART at this time. We encourage you to stay updated on UPSTART’s pilot programs in other states.

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 preschooler may choose to assert his or her independence by saying, “Not today.” To help, we offer convenient training with strategies to establish and keep a daily routine. User Support is also happy to assist with motivational strategies.

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

How long does the UPSTART program last?

Participants should begin using the program in late summer, within a day or two of parent training. All families should continue using the program consistently until June 30th, and preferably until UPSTART graduation, usually held in July or August.

When is the first day of the program?

Participants should begin using the program within a day or two of attending parent training, which is held in late summer.

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

Your child can use any computer or laptop that meets Waterford's system requirements. You will need speakers or headphones.

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. Contact User Support if you need help 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. You will need to return all UPSTART materials to us, if you receive any.

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. You will need to return all UPSTART materials to us, if you received any.

The Learning Software

What software will my child be using?

Your child will be working primarily on Waterford Early Learning—an award-winning, adaptive learning software with complete instruction in early reading, math, and science.* Your child will also use Waterford Assessments of Core Skills™ as a measure of your child’s progress.

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
Spell their name
Recognize capital A-Z
Recognize lowercase a-z
Nursery Rhymes
Letter Sounds
Alliterative Books
Print Concepts
Songs from around the world
Vocabulary words
Hearing the sounds in speech
...and much much more

Recognizing and making 1-20
Recognizing and making groups
Logical reasoning
...and much more

Five Senses
Sun, moon, constellations
Water and clouds
Living and nonliving
Plant or animal
Categorizing animals
Push and pull
Observing egg develop into a chicken
...and much more

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. The second time will be at the end-of-program graduation.

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 training packet will also include information to help you to make the most of your time in UPSTART. If you want more tips and tricks or convenient training, contact User Support. 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.


How is this program funded?

In Utah, UPSTART is publicly funded by the State Legislature. Learn more about UPSTART’s pilot programs in other states.


What happens after you pre-register?

The next step is to complete the full registration (application), which takes place by phone. The time between when you pre-register and when you receive a registration call from UPSTART to complete this full registration will vary, depending on: when you’re child begins kindergarten, when you pre-register, and where we are in the queue of call-backs. But we WILL call.

During this registration process, families are either immediately enrolled or placed on a waiting list, depending on several factors, including the number of slots available each year. Registration generally begins in January until the program starts in late summer.

Does pre-registering mean I am enrolled?

Not yet. Pre-registration holds your place on our pre-registration list, which we use when calling families to complete the full registration (application) process. The full registration form must be completed in order to determine acceptance. During this registration process, families are either immediately enrolled or placed on a waiting list, depending on several factors, including the number of slots available each year.

What should I do while waiting to hear from UPSTART?

Look for updates from UPSTART.
Keep us updated with your latest contact information.
Answer calls from “Unknown 800 number” - it could be UPSTART!
If you need to call us, contact us during regular business hours (Monday—Friday 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain Time).

Can you explain your priority registration policy?

UPSTART is a state-funded program that prepares children for kindergarten by providing a high-quality learning curriculum. The program is open to all Utah residents, but offers priority registration for low-income families and non-native English speaking families.


How much support do 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. We also have families who prefer to sit with the child during this time to experience the software and provide motivational support. You just need to remember not to help the child with the activities while he/she is on the software.

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.

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

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

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 access the Parent Manger by clicking the User Login tab on or you can contact User Support anytime for help accessing and using reports.

You will also receive final WACS results from testing that occurs during Graduation. Waterford will send this report via USPS in September.

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.

Can I register my younger children?

We recommend you pre-register any child who has at least one year before they will start kindergarten. We often have waiting list and will accept children based on the date they pre-registered, so we recommend doing so early.

Can my other children use the program?

Children enrolled UPSTART the year prior to kindergarten are considered official UPSTART participants. Other children (up to five children) are also welcome to enjoy and learn from the program, but they will not be official UPSTART participants and they should never use the UPSTART participant’s account. Contact User Support if you wish to add additional family member accounts. This is limited to members of your household or immediate family only.

Why isn’t my username/password working?

Your username is the e-mail address you provided at the time of registration. If you do not have an email address, we will provide one for you at training and this will be your Username.

Your default password is Upstart123. You will be prompted to change the password when logging in for the first time.

If your password still is not accepted, click on the Forgot your password? A new password will be sent to the e–mail address we have on file. For additional help, contact User Support.


to UPSTART Parent Manager

Activities & Printables

to get inspired with resources and educational activities to do with your child off-line.


your UPSTART story.

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