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Research study seeks pre-K families to evaluate early learning curriculum for kindergarten readiness

Julie Mathiesen
Arielle Zionts
Julie Mathiesen

This interview is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment, hosted by Lori Walsh.

There are multiple paths to kindergarten readiness for early learners. Technology and Innovation in Education (TIE) is partnering with Waterford Upstart to conduct a study on pre-K learning.

TIE is an organization which help schools and educators leverage technology for learning. Waterford Upstart is an organization based in Utah. Thanks to a grant, there is funding for 500 early learners in South Dakota to participate in a home-based research study that will provide pre-K learning opportunities.

Using Waterford's software, participants will engage in reading, math, and science programs. Families will receive a free computer that they can keep. Waterford will assist with internet access if it is unavailable.

Julie Mathiesen is the director of TIE. She says the early learning program is not meant to substitute face-to-face learning. It is something that families can do at home in addition to other programing.

"South Dakota is a very rural state; some families don't have access. It may not be practical to drive your four-year-old 60 miles to town three days a week for pre-K learning." Mathiesen says. "The Original Waterford Upstart program was an effort to get more early learning opportunities to families."

The program is open to children who will start kindergarten in Fall 2022. Participants will be selected at random and compared with a control group. To register and learn more visit TIE.net and Waterford.org