At-home, pre-K readiness curriculum increases available slots thanks to research grant

Local News

There’s an online, at-home program preparing 4-year-olds for kindergarten.

The free program recently received funding from the state, tripling available slots. Now, organizers are trying to draw in more recruits.

“I’ve been very happy with it. The kids find it engaging and it’s a fairly short amount of time in our days,” said Brittany Barraco.

With just 15 minutes a day spent on the computer, students like Barraco’s daughter are learning about letter recognition and numbers participating in the Waterford Upstart Program.

“We’re able to give them something fun, educational and in the period of the time when they’re not going to check out,” Fischer said.

In July, there were only 400 slots available.

Now with the Educational Innovation Research Grant, 1,200 slots are available but organizers say they are having trouble reaching families.

“There is a little more difficulty to get in touch with those families unless you’re going door to door and knocking to let the families know this program is available,” Fischer said.

Barraco, a military mom from Minot, has her 4-year-old, Adalyn, in the program.

She said she is grateful to not have to pay for a pre-kindergarten program.

“We’re a single-income family, so having to pay for preschool in North Dakota is something we can’t really afford to do right now,” Barraco said.

Adalynn knows how she feels about learning.

“I’m very excited,” said Adalynn.

Registration has been extended until October.

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