Early Care & Education Programs

The Challenge |  Most preschool-age children and infants in Mecklenburg County live in families where all parents or care givers work outside the home. These families are struggling to afford quality early education due to rising costs of inflation rates per child. Without it, parents can’t work.

How We Help | 
Therefore, over 80% of Smart Start’s funding is invested in early childhood education, assisting working parents who can’t afford high-quality care and special services for at-risk children. Other programs improve the quality of child care in our county through teacher education.

Charlotte Bilingual Preschool

A 5-star program that provides high-quality preschool education to low-income, at-risk Hispanic/Latino children, ages 3-5. Charlotte Bilingual Preschool prepares students for a successful transition to kindergarten and offers parent training and engagement.

6300 Highland Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28215
Phone: 704-535-8080
Email: banu@bilingualpreschool.org


Through consultation, health education and technical assistance, nurses and health educators work with individual child care facilities to help create environments that best support the healthy growth and development of young children.

2845 Beatties Ford Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28216
Phone: 980-314-9342

Child Care Resources

Helps low-income families pay for quality care in 4 and 5 star child care centers, which allows them to work or attend school. The program is administered through Child Care Resources Inc. 

Helps families select quality child care arrangements that meet their needs and preferences. Parents are informed about child development issues, quality indicators, program options and features. Provides referrals to programs and information, financial assistance and community resources.


More information to come.


More information to come.


4600 Park Road, Suite 400
Charlotte, NC 28209

(704) 376-6697


Early Childhood Teacher Professional Development

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.

Harris Campus, Building I,
Charlotte, NC 28235
Phone: 704-330-4762


MECK Pre-K is a Mecklenburg County-funded program that offers a high-quality Pre-K experience to ensure children are academically and developmentally prepared for kindergarten. Classrooms are located in 4 and 5 star child care centers and children attend a 6.5 hour school day program.

Rita Frye
Assistant Director of MECK Pre-K
Email: afrye@smartstartofmeck.org

North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten
(NC Pre-K)

Offers a high-quality pre-k option for at-risk children and prepares them for success in school. Children attend a 6.5 hour school day program following the CMS schedule. Classrooms are located in 4 and 5 star child care centers and Head Start programs.

Mecklenburg County NC Pre-K is accepting applications from 4 and 5 star licensed child care centers that are interested in becoming an NC Pre-K site for the 2020-2021 school year.

Interested sites must send a representative to the Information Session.  This meeting will be held on March 9th at the Smith Family Center (1600 Tyvola Rd.) in the Multi-Purpose Room from 9:00-10:00 am.

Applications must be delivered to the CMS Pre-k Office Room B3 located at Smith Family Center 1600 Tyvola Rd Charlotte NC 28210

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
1600 Tyvola Road
Smith Administrative Building
Charlotte, NC 28210

The Learning Collaborative

Serves preschool children from at-risk families through a 5 star, tuition-free program with literacy-rich activities that address their educational and social needs. A Family Support Specialist builds and nurtures relationships with parents to lay the foundation for on-going involvement in their child’s education.

3241 Sam Drenan Road,
Charlotte, NC 28205
Phone: (704) 377-8076


The Polliwog Project

This program provides behavior support and developmental therapies to children experiencing challenging behavior in their early childhood school setting and prevents expulsion. A behavior specialist works with the teacher, parent, child, and other professionals to support success for the child.


The Child Care WAGE$® Program provides education-based salary supplements to qualifying teachers, directors and family child care providers working with children between the ages of birth to five. The program is designed to provide preschool children more stable relationships with better-educated teachers by rewarding teacher education and continuity of care.

1829 E. Franklin Street
Building 1000
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Phone: (919) 967-3272

You Can Help Children Turn Five Ready to Thrive.


Turn Five Ready to Thrive

Smart Start of Mecklenburg County
(704) 377-6588
601 E. 5th Street, Suite 500
Charlotte, NC 28202