This week, most of the Mecklenburg County Smart Start Staff is attending the 2017 Smart Start National Conference in Greensboro, NC. This is the leading event for early childhood systems professionals who are determined to be subject matter experts in the fields of early care and education, childhood health and development, family support, public engagement, fundraising, management, leadership, and beyond.  

We are all learning new skills, participating in thought provoking discussions, and enjoying world-class speakers while interacting with professionals from all areas of the early childhood field.
The most recent report to come from The Duke Center for Child and Family Policy discusses how well we are we preparing young children to enter kindergarten ready to learn? Educators in k-12 school systems are faced with wide disparities in skill levels of entering kindergarteners, which means that all too many children are already far behind many of their peers.

Findings in developmental science point toward the importance of early-life experiences in shaping brain development and suggest that if we knew how to provide these experiences in our early education programs, we could have a lifelong impact on children's success.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

Mental health is essential to everyone's overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. But people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently-and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem. 

Unfortunately infants and children are not excluded from mental health issues. Zero to Three, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, defines infant mental health as a continuum, ranging from a state affected by social and emotional problems and disorders to complete social and emotional wellness-an ability to form satisfying relationships with others and to play, communicate, learn, and experience the full spectrum of human emotions. Infant mental health develops in the context of family, community, and cultural expectations for very young children  

From birth through 5 years, children will reach milestones in how they play, learn, behave and interact. A significant delay in any of these areas could be a sign of a problem. The good news is the earlier it's recognized the more you can do to help the child reach his/her full potential. Z Five is a Mecklenburg County collaborative of Mental Health Specialist who work together to identify services for young children.  
Opportunity for Influence Breakfast
The Opportunity for Influence Breakfast, an early childhood awareness event was held on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 hosted by the Smart Start of Mecklenburg County Board and generously funded by pWC, Foundation for the Carolinas and Rodgers Builders. The event was hosted at the Charlotte City Club and was attended by over 150 influential community leaders and partners. The event highlighted Smart Starts role in the community and  raised over $6,000!  

Thank you to the Smart Start Board of Directors and Community at large for all of your support of this inaugural event.  
The Polliwog Project p rovides specialized therapies and child-centered behavioral intervention for children whose therapeutic needs do not qualify for Charlotte Mecklenburg School's Pre-K Exceptional Children's Program, the NC Infant/Toddler program, or whose challenging behavior impacts their child care placement.
Polliwog Project
Thompson Child & Family Focus
1645 Clanton Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28208 
Phone: 704-817-1607 ~

Smart Start of Mecklenburg County administers approximately $13 million a year in state and private funds to programs serving children  birth to age five, their fami lies, and their caregivers in Mecklenburg County. 
Thank You!

Thank you for all you do to Ensure that All Children in Mecklenburg County Enter School Healthy and Ready to Succeed!