Smart Start of Mecklenburg County mobilizes resources, forges partnerships and supports families to improve early childhood health, education, and development - all to help ensure children are prepared for kindergarten. Our four areas of focus are early care and education quality and accessibility, family support, health, and early literacy for children ages birth to five.
Income Restrictions Lifted to Help Families Impacted by COVID-19
To help families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mecklenburg County has lifted the income restrictions for MECK Pre-K’s 2020-2021 school year.

To be eligible for MECK Pre-K, children need only to live in Mecklenburg County and be four on or before August 31. Income documentation will still be required, but families earning more than 400% of the federal poverty level for their household size will still qualify.
Explore Through
Movement & Play
Exploring through movement and play encourages curiosity, exploration, and discovery, and supports the development of motor skills and a healthy body. Staying safe during the pandemic doesn’t mean we have to stay inside. Opportunities to Explore through Movement and Play are often right outside the door. Being outside, enjoying fresh air and sunshine, and exploring nature can build brain connections and help families de-stress. 
You can create opportunities to move and explore inside too. Open or look out a window and talk about the sights and sounds. Ask children to imitate what they hear or to use their imagination. Set up an obstacle course in the living room, play hide-and-seek, or create an indoor scavenger hunt.
Find more ways to Explore through Movement and Play and learn more brain-building tips any parent or caregiver can use at home.
If you know of a local, young children’s influencer/advocate/public figure that may be willing to help raise awareness for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Mecklenburg County, we would love to be connected.

All we ask is for the influencer/advocate/public figure to read a book from the Imagination Library collection and upload it to their social media account. Further details of book choice and preferred social media copy will be finalized with the individual(s) once confirmed.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library delivers FREE, age-appropriate books to 27,000 Mecklenburg children ages 0-5 each month. While we're proud of these numbers, our goal is to reach all 85,000 local children within this age bracket.

That's where you can help!

Please submit contacts for consideration below and feel free to share.

Submit contacts to
What Is Self-Care?

The dictionary defines self-care as the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's health, well-being, and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. Self-care comes in many forms; it is about making yourself feel happier and calmer. Self-care does not have to cost a lot of money and may be as simple as taking a daily walk or enjoying a favorite movie. At its root, it is making sure that you maintain a balance between taking care of your physical and mental health that allows you to function at your best.

If you are like me, you have way more on your to-do list than what you can actually do in a day. Give yourself the love and grace that it is okay if you don't finish your list.

Take The GPS Challenge

Pick one thing today that you have been avoiding on that list and just do it. I guarantee you will feel lighter knowing you made that call, folded that basket of laundry, filled out that form, or whatever it is, just make it a priority to get it done and cross that bad boy off the list.

Home-schooling, social distancing, and adjusting to a new life amid COVID-19 is tough. However, for children with speech-language delays and communication disorders, this time away from school can be especially difficult. Therefore, Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center (CSHC) want to provide resources for your family during this critical time.

CSHC has also pivoted its services to ensure that they continue to serve you while doing their part to guard patient safety and are proud to continue providing speech-language services at this time by offering tele-therapy, parent consults, and coaching.

Thanks to a grant provided by the COVID-19 Response Fund, a partnership to support Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community members impacted by Coronavirus, CSHC is now able to offer these services to the entire community at no or greatly reduced cost. Expert SLPs are happy to offer supplemental services to children receiving virtual I.E.P. services or who are unable to access their normal provider. 

Are you interested in scheduling a virtual or in-person appointment?
Community Happenings
National Nonprofit Day Is Coming!
Complete the Census in only about 10 minutes
The work Smart Start does every day impacts the 85,000 children ages 0-5 in our community. These advances and opportunities would not have been possible without the generosity of our funders and friends. 

The census count helps bring valuable resources to our community, such as federal funding for things like healthcare, education and transportation. It also impacts our representation in government and our ability to plan for the future.

Complete it today in about 10 minutes
MECK Pre-K Drive Through Registration
August 15
Proudly Announcing our FY20-21 Direct Service Providers
Join MECK Pre-K for another Drive-Thru Registration Event on August 15.

Families will be able to interact with MECK Pre-K staff in person from the safety of their cars.
We were founded in 1993 under the leadership of then-Governor Jim Hunt as a state-wide, public/private, partnership helping Mecklenburg County children enter school healthy and ready to succeed. We are excited to announce the partnership with our FY20-21 Direct Service Providers (DSPs) as we work together to make a direct impact in the community together.
To learn more about the programs we support and how you can make a difference in our community, follow us on social using the links in the footer.

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