Smart Start Partnership for Children invests in young children and their families to provide the opportunities children need to be successful in school and in life.

There are only 2,000 days between the time a baby is born and when he or she will begin kindergarten. During that time, brain architecture is forming, creating the foundation for all future learning.

Our mission is to support, educate, and advocate to build a strong foundation for young children in our community, and we are accomplishing this by partnering with local organizations that:

• Improve the quality of early childhood education;
• Increase access to affordable, high-quality care for children while their parents work or attend school;
• Provide the tools families need to support their child’s healthy development;
• Expand early literacy opportunities so that every child in Henderson County begins school ready to learn to read.

Our vision is one where all families have access to quality services so that children in Henderson County have an opportunity to reach their full potential. 

We are a Smart Start Partnership

Smart Start was created in 1993 as an innovative solution to a problem: Children were coming to school unprepared to learn. Policymakers recognized that progress would require tapping into the same innovative spirit that inspired private sector advances, and therefore, established Smart Start as a public/private partnership. Independent, private organizations work in all 100 North Carolina counties through the North Carolina Partnership for Children and 75 Local Partnerships including Henderson County's Smart Start of Partnership for Children.

The power of Smart Start is that it delivers outcomes by giving communities local control to determine the best approach to achieving them.


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In North Carolina, around 25% of children have experienced at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). High quality early childhood education and parental support have proven to mitigate the negative effects of ACEs.  

Source: Child Trends 

22% of parents in North Carolina have developmental concerns about their children under age 6. Frequent well-child visits, home visits, and quality early childhood education are a great way deliver developmental screenings to these families!

Early literacy is so important! Did you know that in North Carolina, 44% of children under six are read to less than four days per week at home?

In North Carolina, 39% of children under 5 are enrolled in an early childhood program, and of that number, 28% are enrolled in programs rated 3 stars or less – an excellent reason to invest in enhancing and maintaining early childhood programs!

Source: Kids Count Data Center

Have you ever heard that young children are like little sponges? It’s true, they soak up everything! Preschool children have the most dramatic brain development of any age group, and will achieve 90% of their adult brain volume by the age of 6 – even though it won’t stop developing until their mid-20s.

Source: CDC 

The more a parent responds to a baby’s babbling, the faster language can be developed. In fact, babies whose parents talk to them frequently tend to know 300 more words by age 2 than babies whose parents rarely speak to them.

Language development happens in four stages: babbling, single words, two words, and finally short sentences!

Studies show that young children develop best when they have at least three loving and supportive caregivers in their lives, making quality childcare and well-educated infant teachers crucial for families who have little to no external support.

By 18 months, a toddler adds a new word to his vocabulary every two waking hours. By six years old, he can understand around 13,000 words, even though he may not use that many in speech.

If a baby’s body grew at the same rate as her brain, she would weigh 170 pounds by one month old!

Source: Fact Retriever