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Saturday, May 2, 2009

FREE At-Home Preschool

Original thanks goes to PYP member PinkyPoodles for posting this, but the state of Utah is offering an online at home preschool called UPSTART. Currently the program is at 60% capacity.

Details from the Salt Lake Tribune:

UPSTART has room for 1,300 kids, including 390 students from low-income families who can also temporarily get computers for free. So far, about 60 percent of the program's slots are filled, said Kathy Maksimov, product management director for Waterford Institute, the Utah-based company that created the game.

Children ages 4 and 5 are supposed to use the program for 15 minutes a day, five days a week, until they enter kindergarten. A cast of cartoon characters guide kids through short exercises about counting, sorting, letter sounds and vocabulary, among other things.

Testimonials from parents who are using or about to use the FREE program:

Some families have already started using UPSTART and couldn't be happier about it.

"It's great -- totally interactive," said Brenden's mom, Rebecca Gleason, as her son recently went through his UPSTART exercises for the day -- spelling his name, counting, learning how to read a calendar. She's hoping the program, combined with preschool, will help prepare Brenden for kindergarten, where he will be one of the youngest students in his class. She said her son wakes up in the morning asking when he can use the program.

Parent Jeanne Hock said she's eager for her daughter to start using UPSTART, which is scheduled to arrive at her door any day now. Unlike Brenden, Hock's daughter will be one of the oldest children in her class when she begins kindergarten in fall 2010. Hock's daughter is already 4 years old, and her mom wants to make the most out of the year she has left before kindergarten.

"She really has a love for learning, and I thought, 'Why not feed it?' " Hock said. "If something is free and educational for your child, it can't be all that bad."

There is criticism from the Utah Education Association as the funding of this program could be used to fund teacher salaries, supplies of existing school programs OR other UEA approved educational goals.

But in this blogger's opinion, the verdict is still out and let's give UPSTART a chance.

Interested in enrolling your preschooler? To find out more go to or call 1-800-669-4533.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the heads-up on this. Hopefully it will be a good resource.


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