Online early education program prepares Wyoming children for future

By  | 

CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Waterford.org has been offering early education programs for years. Its UPSTART program is in its second year in Wyoming. It's helping provide online education for families in our most rural areas.

A Casper Waterford.org UPSTART student plays a learning game on his computer.

"We definitely want to make sure we're reaching those most rural children, so those are the first families we're signing up and the additional 20 percent will be families that are in city limits but the most important thing is reaching kids who don't have an option," said Waterford.org Public Relations Director Kim Fischer.

Using a three year federal grant, Waterford.org UPSTART will reach around 600 Wyoming kids.

"What we are is just a tool. We are presented to this parent and say hey, here's a tool to help you educate your child and giving a parent a tool and the confidence that goes along with it goes a very long way into what we're able to do with their kids," said Fischer.

For 15 minutes a day, five days a week, the families are able to choose how and when their children learn.

"I love the idea that I get to spend more quality time with my child and also have more of a hand in what he's learning and how he's learning it," said Waterford.org UPSTART user Carmyn Juntunen.

"These games are educational, they're teaching. These games, they have to add to win, they have to subtract to win, and so it's fun for them but it's so much more because they are able to learn," said Waterford.org UPSTART user Cami Gordon.

Waterford.org said by the time its UPSTART students start kindergarten, many are already learning at a first-grade level.