COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus City Schools is offering a virtual early education option to help prepare four-year olds for kindergarten.

“Research shows that children who begin school unprepared for kindergarten are likely to stay behind academically,” said CCS Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon. “That is not equitable education.”

Dr. Dixon said CCS is partnering with a non-profit to provide the at-home Waterford Upstart program to 1,700 students across the school system at no cost to families. To pay for the program, CCS says it’s using a portion of federal funds made available to mitigate the COVID-19 effects on education.

Waterford Upstart is described as “a responsive, online education tool that adapts to the unique needs of each child, moving them toward kindergarten readiness in just 15 minutes a day, five days a week.”

Columbus families can apply at and may request a free computer and internet access.

More information can be found on the CCS web site.