• What is Smart Start?
    • Smart Start is North Carolina’s nationally recognized early childhood initiative using state funds to help all North Carolina children enter school healthy and prepared for success.
    • Smart Start was launched in 1993 by Governor Jim Hunt.
  • What is Smart Start of Davidson County?
    • SSDC is a local private non-profit that was created in 1994, with funding from Smart Start, to develop a comprehensive plan that allows our community to develop services to address the needs of young children.
  • Why do we need Smart Start and SSDC?
    • 85% of a child’s intellect, personality, and social skills are formed by age five.
    • Early experiences help to determine brain structure and shape, the way people learn, think and behave for the rest of their lives.
    • Timing is critical.  If young children’s brains do not receive appropriate stimulation, neural connections are lost forever.
  • Who do we serve?
    • Our programs and services target all young children (ages 0 through 5) in Davidson County and their families.
  • What are the key areas our services and programs address?
    • Quality Early Education-Education begins at birth, not when school begins.  Research shows that children in high quality early education programs have higher language and math achievement scores, higher promotion rates, fewer referrals to special education, and less involvement with the criminal justice system.
    • Family Support-A parent is a child’s first and most important teacher.  The adults our children become will be the end result of a parent’s nurturing care.  Children who do not receive early nurturing can suffer from physical, emotional, and cognitive delays.
    • Preventive Health-Every young child must have basic health services that are accessible, available, and affordable.  Many health problems such as poor vision or hearing are correctable if detected early.  If not detected, these children often fall behind in development and their ability to learn.  Parents need to know and understand the importance of preventive health care and what resources are available for their children.
  • Why is it important to ensure all children are healthy and ready to succeed?

    We prepare children to enter kindergarten.

    • If our schools (K-12) are to succeed, test scores are to rise and the achievement gap is to close, we must ensure children have a strong foundation on which to build.  Education begins at birth-not kindergarten.
    • For every $1 spent on high quality early education programs, taxpayers get $4 in education savings.

      We improve NC’s economy by supporting working families.

    • In today’s world, many families don’t have a choice between staying home with their children and work.
    • A lack of reliable, affordable and accessible child care can cause parents to lose time at work and be less productive at their jobs.
    • Children in child care must have qualified, educated teachers.  83% of all child care teachers in NC now have a college degree or some college credits.

      We reduce crime and violence.

    • For every $1 invested in quality early childhood education, $17 is saved in lower crime rates, increased earnings and fewer high school dropouts.
    • A survey across the nation found police chiefs agree that if we don’t provide programs for young children, the nation will pay significantly more later in higher juvenile delinquency and crime.

      We improve child health.

    • Children are more likely to be immunized on time.  Vaccines are the single most effective protection against diseases that continue to threaten our children.
    • The number of children receiving health and developmental screenings has dramatically increased.
  • What is the difference between Head Start and Smart Start?
    • Head Start is a federally funded child care center that targets low-income 3 & 4 year olds.
    • Smart Start is funded through state and private funds and provides a variety of services for all children under 6 and their families.  Smart Start is not a child care center.
  • What is the difference between NC Pre-K and Smart Start?
    • NC Pre-K is a pre-kindergarten program specifically targeted to four year olds at risk of school failure.
    • Smart Start begins serving young children at birth with high quality child care, family support and health services.
  • What does the future hold for Smart Start?
    • Smart Start has been in existence for over ten years and most agree that it is unlikely to be eliminated completely.
    • SSDC, through members of the community, must continue to advocate for Smart Start funds at the state level.  We could never replace the level of these funds with local/private funds.
    • We must continue to raise private funds to meet all of the needs of our young children.
  • What can we do to ensure its success?

    • Donate – provide private funding to stretch public funds
    • Volunteer – provide services to organizations serving young children
    • Educate – promote understanding in our community
    • Advocate – promote Smart Start to our Legislature