Each Child. Every Neighborhood.
Summer Feeding Programs

Free breakfast and lunch for children 1-18 years old
Summer is an exciting time for many children. But for students who rely on school for two meals a day, summer can quickly become a time of worry and fear as they struggle to know where they will get their next meal. Thankfully, there's a solution.

Summer Food Service Program
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and the NC Department of Public Instruction, will offer breakfast and lunch at over 50 schools throughout Mecklenburg County. This program is free and available to all children 1-18 years old. All meals meet nutrition standards based on federal guidelines

Kids Eat Free at Atrium Health University City
Similarly, all children under 18 years old can receive free breakfast (7am-9am) and lunch (11am-1pm), Monday-Friday at Atrium Health University City Hospital Cafeteria.
Meck Basics Tip of the Month
Count, Group and Compare
With your infant (0-12 months):
Move to the beat! Tap your baby’s tummy or clap their hands together to the rhythm of a song. You can also rock them as you sing a lullaby.

With your toddler (12-36 months):
Compare sizes and amounts. Your toddler may be interested which things are “big” or“little.” You can also talk to them about whether they want “more” or “less.” 

Preparing your child for Pre-K
Let guest writer Mary Beth Kelly from Providence Preparatory School ease your nerves about sending your child to Pre-K this fall.
Parents often get nervous when they think of having to get their child prepared for their Pre-K year. While it is often an adjustment, there are many things that can be done at home to make the transition easier.

  • Play- Play is often looked upon as the opposite of learning, but according to research, we know that children learn through play. By actively playing, children develop their cognitive skills, gross motor skills, extend their vocabulary, build their social emotional skills and early literacy skills.

  • Practice Active Reading- While you are reading a story, ask your child questions to encourage connections. Point to the pictures to show your child that the pictures relate to the words.

  • Build Self-Help Skills- Helping your child build their self-help skills is often a struggle for parents because it takes extra time. Allowing the opportunity to practice things like independently using the bathroom, zipping up jackets, and putting on shoes will allow for your son or daughter to master these skills.

  • Practice sharing and cleaning up- One of the most common things children struggle with is taking turns and cleaning up after an activity, an important aspect of the social emotional development of a preschooler. 

  • Get Crafty- One way to help with fine motor muscles and muscle development is cutting with scissors and using smaller crayons. These skills will help later when your child needs to hold a pencil properly for writing. 

  • Encourage Questions- Encouraging your child to ask for help if they need it is a skill that will allow your child to have less anxiety when they enter their Pre-K classroom. They will feel confident that they will succeed with the help of their teacher or peers. 

  • Talk it Through- Taking time to discuss Pre-K and allowing the children opportunities at home to build skills will help your child with their transition into Pre-K.
Just For Reference
Summer Fun with Your Littles
Summer is finally here! With all that is available to families, summer is a great time to be intentional about making memories with your little ones. Need help thinking of a few ideas to keep the "I'm bored" refrains from ringing in your household? Here are just a few:

  1. Cool down at splash pads and spraygrounds.
  2. Have fun trying different fruits and veggies at one of the many local farmer's markets.
  3. Grab your popcorn and bug spray and find a kid-friendly outdoor summer movie or concert.
  4. Need some time in the cool A/C? Check out this list of $1 children's movies at local theaters.
  5. Join the library's Summer Break program to read books and win cool prizes!
Cooking in the Classroom
Cooking in the classroom is more than just a fun way change up your daily routine. Cooking is a great way to incorporate lessons from math, reading, science and art! It's a wonderful way to add dimension to lessons and bring stories to life. It is also a neat way to talk about important topics like culture and nutrition.

Watch the video above to learn why cooking is important, how to incorporate it in the classroom and what recipes are well suited for easing into classroom cooking.

You can also watch these fun cooking videos from our Healthy Futures program for recipe ideas:

Upcoming Events You Won't Want to Miss!
Ongoing - MECK Pre-K Registration
8:30am-4:30pm, M-F | MECK Pre-K Offices
Come register your 4-year-old before the slots fill up! Learn More and Apply
July 13 - 1st Annual Children's Business Fair
4:00pm-8:00pm | StoneCrest at Piper Glen
Don't miss the opportunity to support young entrepreneurs at the 1st Annual Charlotte Children's Business Fair. Children ages 6-14 will host booths to set up their pop up stores. Learn More
September 16 - Chip in for Children
7:30am-2:30pm | The Golf Club at Ballantyne
Join Smart Start for our second annual golf outing fundraiser. Grab a few friends to make a team, join as a sponsor, or simply donate to the event. A day out of the office to golf on a beautiful course while supporting local children...what's not to love? Register Today
Funded Program Spotlight
Central Piedmont Community College
Early Childhood Teacher Education
CPCC offers courses designed to prepare early care and education teachers to work in their field. Activity supports a coach/recruiter and a variety of classes for early childhood professionals.   Learn More
FREE Books for children under 5!
ALL children in Mecklenburg County are eligible to receive a FREE book in the mail each month until their fifth birthday. Start building up your child's at-home library when you sign up today!
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