Each Child. Every Neighborhood.
At Smart Start, we believe that every young child in Mecklenburg County, regardless of zip code, deserves a smart start in life that will help set them up for success as students, adults and future contributing members of our community.
When you support  Chip in for Children, you are helping Smart Start serve our community’s youngest children and their families in the most critical years of development so that they are prepared for school success.
Register your team today to start making a difference in lives of children, their families and our community.
Meck Basics Tip of the Month
Read and Discuss Stories
With your infant (0-12 months):
Actively involve them: As your baby develops coordination, involve them more in the reading experience. Let them hold the book or turn the pages. 
With your toddler (12-36 months):
Your toddler will learn the most if you have discussions while you read. Respond to their comments and questions about the story. Ask questions that get them thinking. “Why is the boy sad?” “What do you think is going to happen next?” 

Join Us for Coffee
Business Smart. Family Friendly. Future Ready.
October 1 | 8:30-10:00am
The Duke Endowment

Family-friendly benefits make businesses competitive in hiring and retaining qualified workers.

Join us to learn more about  Family Forward NC , an innovative initiative of the  North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation , to improve children’s health and well-being and keep North Carolina competitive. It is business-led change towards adopting family-friendly policies which help children build a strong foundation for future academic and career success through improved access to high-quality health care, education, and family economic security. 

Attendees of “Business Smart. Family Friendly. Future Forward.” will be eligible to receive 1.5 hours of continuing education credit through The Charlotte Area Society for Human Resource Management.
Cheryl L Richards, PhD, CEO & Regional Dean at Northeastern University – Charlotte, SSMC Chair

  • MaryBeth Simon, Director of Marketing at NewDominion Bank, SSMC Board Member
  • Joanette Freeman, MSL, PHR, SHRM-CP, Executive Director Compensation and Benefits at Central Piedmont Community College, SSMC Board Member
  • Andrew Oliver, MSSW, Executive Director at Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center
  • Dr. James M. DuRant, Novant Health Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
Funded Program Spotlight
Learn about two of our newest funded programs
Charlotte Speech and Hearing has recently been approved to receive Smart Start funding for their Sound Beginnings and APPLE a Day programs.

Sound Beginnings provides evidence-based, early language intervention that uses a parents-as-teachers model to promote brain development, build stronger family relationships and enhance mother-child interactions in classrooms at The Learning Collaborative, Lakewood Preschool, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, Howard Levine Child Development Center and selected Bethlehem Center Early Head Start programs. It has three main objectives: parent education, early intervention and social support. Speech-language pathologists will provide direct intervention with 3-5 year old children, focusing on early communication skills and emerging receptive and expressive language. 
APPLE a Day focuses on  A uditory comprehension,  P honological awareness,  P rint knowledge and  L anguage  E xpansion as tools to maximize language and early literacy growth during the brain’s most critical period of development. These skills are addressed at the individual, small-group and whole classroom level, depending upon the age and need of each child. Teachers with less experience benefit from frequent observation of activities led by a speech-language pathologist that incorporate specific language intervention strategies. 
For more information contact LHenderson@smartstartofmeck.org.
Just For Reference
Tips to Get Your Preschooler Talking About School
We've all gotten the one-word answers when we ask our child about his or her day: "Good." "Bad." "Fine." When you find yourself in the one-word rut and long to hear more about their day and how they're feeling inside, follow these tips to get your child to open up.

  1. Ask open-ended questions. These are questions that cannot be answered with one-word answers. Instead of "How was school today?" try "Tell me something new you learned in school today."
  2. Know their school schedule. If you know they have art on Wednesdays and go to the library each Friday, you can ask specific and relevant questions about their day, such as, "What projects did you start in art class today?"
  3. Model sharing about your day. It is important for children to see good communication modeled for them. Try sharing a high and (age-appropriate) low from your day. For example, "I accidentally burned my hand on the toaster this morning, but I got to have coffee with Grandma and I really enjoyed my time with her."

Learn more tips at ParentsChoice.org.
Have You Discovered the Teaching Channel Yet?
The Teaching Channel is a collaborative website chock-full of resources for and by teachers. There are a multitude of teachers with fun, creative and innovative ways to reach children in the classroom, and now you can watch their videos and read blog posts to learn how and why they use different techniques. Here are a few that we love:

  1. Line Up & Count - In this video, learn how one teacher uses transitions in the day to sneak in a little extra math and creativity.
  2. Say It With Your Hands - Learn how one teacher uses and teaches students to use hand gestures to clarify language. This is especially helpful for teachers of English language learners.
  3. Praise the Process - This video shares how a teacher praises the students on the process of their work as opposed to their final product to encourage a growth mindset.
  4. Using Math Throughout the Day - This blog explains how ECE educators can creatively infuse math throughout the school day. Are there any tips you found particularly helpful? Let us know!
Upcoming Events You Won't Want to Miss!
Ongoing - MECK Pre-K Registration
8:30am-4:30pm, M-F | MECK Pre-K Offices
It’s not too late to register for MECK Pre-K! Don’t miss out on this FREE opportunity for your 4-year-old. Begin your enrollment process today. Learn More and Apply
September 16 - Chip in for Children
8:30am-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
September 21 - Autism Support Workshop: The Ins and Outs of Autism Assessment
10:30am-12:00pm | University City Regional Library
What do the scores really mean? Join us as we learn from Dr. Heather Coleman about what the results of assessments actually mean. Learn More
October 1 - Business Smart. Family Friendly. Future Ready.
8:30am-10:00am | The Duke Endowment
Family-friendly benefits make businesses competitive in hiring and retaining qualified workers. Join us to learn more about business-led change towards adopting family-friendly policies which help children build a strong foundation for future success.  Register Today
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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