For the first time ever, Smart Start is excited to announce that it has awarded five local projects a total of $118,904 in one time funding to develop innovative projects that will help us come closer to our vision that every child in our county enters kindergarten health and ready to succeed.
These funds will be used for rapid cycle, evidence-based or evidence-informed projects that will help us better pinpoint needs, investigate some of the causes of outcome disparities in our most vulnerable families and begin to assess some of the fall-out of the pandemic response on preschool aged children. Four of the five projects will forge new partnerships for Smart Start.
Smart Start of Mecklenburg County mobilizes resources, forges partnerships, and supports families to improve early childhood health, education and development and 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 birth to five.
Atrium Health Foundation
Bridging Healthcare and Community Settings for Infant Health
Atrium Health Foundation seeks to identify the root causes for racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality in Mecklenburg by evaluating current services and programs for infants and families, convening stakeholders and identifying opportunities to address social determinants of health.
Charlotte Bilingual Preschool
In partnership with Read Charlotte, Charlotte Bilingual Preschool is piloting a Spanish-language Reading Bridge program to provide peer supported at-home literacy activities for isolated, Spanish-speaking families using Read Charlotte’s Reading Checkup tool that has been adapted for Pre-K and Spanish.
Learning Charms Occupational Therapy
Virtual Fine Motor Skills Curriculum
Learning Charms Occupational Therapy wants to address fine motor deficits in preschool-aged children (ages 3 to 5) through the creation of a virtual curriculum to promote the strong fine motor foundation they need to be successful in kindergarten.
Myers Park Pediatrics
At-risk Newborn Intervention
Myers Park Pediatrics’ pilot program aims to provide a ‘warm hand off’ from hospital to pediatric practice for mother-baby dyads to improve clinic show rate, parental access to resources, rate of immunizations and well-child checks, and improve communication with primary care providers around the health and well-being of this cohort of newborns.
National Black Child Development Institute
Addressing Exclusionary Practices in Early Childhood Education Using a Systems Change Approach
National Black Child Development Institute will convene the community to solicit data on 0-5 expulsions in childcare facilities, to investigate implicit bias and exclusionary practices in early childhood education using a proven, systems change approach.