Media Contact:
Dr. Maria Riestra-Quintero
[email protected]

Miami-Dade Head Start partners with education nonprofit Waterford to provide at-home learning during COVID-19

By providing computers, internet access and tools for parents, partnership aims to keep Florida children on track to enter kindergarten-ready this fall.

MIAMI ( May 13, 2020 )

COVID-19 has affected all aspects of our lives. Many children in need of an early education have found themselves at home without an option in the crucial months before they begin kindergarten. In order to make sure children are prepared for that first day of school this fall, Miami-Dade Head Start is partnering with to provide the  Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path.

The goal: to keep kids on track over the summer. This program aims to support the students and families who have been affected by COVID-19 either through personal economic hardship or due to the indefinite closure of many PreK and Head Start options.

“COVID-19 has exposed vast disparities regarding the availability of developmentally appropriate learning materials in low-income communities, as well as access to technology for children under five years of age. We are excited to partner with Waterford Upstart to bridge the digital divide and offer our children the resources they need to be ready for kindergarten, preventing the summer slide and potential learning losses due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Riestra-Quintero, Assistant Director, Miami-Dade Community Action and Human Services Department. is a national early education nonprofit with a mission to achieve universal literacy through access, equity and parent empowerment. The organization received charitable donations to provide the Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path to 3,000 families across Florida this summer at no cost.

The average Waterford Upstart graduate enters kindergarten reading at an almost first-grade level. Every year, roughly 2.2 million four-year-old children in the United States, particularly children from low-income households or who live in geographically isolated areas, are unable to access site-based preschool for a variety of reasons including cost and transportation. looks to fill those education gaps with the Waterford Upstart program.

“Help is on the way for parents who are doing their best but struggling during this stressful time. Many parents are trying to balance both work and their young child’s education and they may not have all the resources they need,” said Dr. Claudia Miner, Executive Director and Co-founder of Waterford Upstart. “Waterford Upstart includes an award-winning adaptive program along with the coaching and assistance parents need to prepare their child for school this fall, right at home”

With Waterford Upstart, parents will receive weekly calls from a personal coach to keep the family on track. Through Waterford Mentor, families will also receive push notifications, letting them know what their child is learning and ways they can continue that engagement offline. Waterford Upstart’s personalized online program will be used 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week during the condensed summer program. This will help students achieve the number of minutes necessary to be kindergarten ready and still falls well within the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) and World Health Organization’s recommendations of no more than one hour of screen time per day for four-year-old children.

The program’s offerings also account for the nation’s digital divide in technology and internet access, as 9.4 million children in the United States do not have access to the internet at home and will provide internet installation and tools such as laptops to families that do not have these resources.

For more information, please contact [email protected]