Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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September 19, 2017

From the Smarty Education Corner and CCDS: Academic Excellence, Moral Courage, and Kindness

Country Day LS girls reading

Mark Reed, Head of School at Charlotte Country Day School sent an inspiring message to parents, faculty, and staff to start the new school year. Learn how academic excellence, moral courage, and kindness are central to a Country Day education. This blog was originally published on CCDS’s blog, BucsBlog, and we thank them for letting us share it with you!

August 22, 2017

Tomorrow, the campus comes alive again with over 1,660 students. Whether they are just beginning their educational journey or actively engaged in the Upper School as seniors, I know that they will benefit from the routine that comes with each school day. Our students are known, loved, and cared for by exceptional teachers who are truly committed to their success. While changes are taking place around them, both on Cannon campus with construction and in the world, this is a place where they will find comfort, consistency, and support.

Beyond our campus, as I consider all that is changing in our world, I would be remiss not to acknowledge that we, and our children, are witnessing challenging times of divisiveness and conflict. Please rest assured that more than ever Country Day is rooted in the Mission, Key Values, and Affirmation of Community that have guided our work for over 75 years. And, along with you, we are committed to providing a foundation that will prepare our students to thrive and lead in the world beyond our haven.

As I explained to the faculty and staff at our opening meeting last week, you can take comfort in the fact that our school’s mission and our work with students remains grounded in foundational key values that are simply a non-negotiable aspect of a Country Day education. They remain solidly intact as we experience “change” taking place around us. Three of those mission-centered, non-negotiable aspects of a Country Day education are academic excellence, moral courage, and kindness. Read More →

September 14, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: Eating? Allergies? What’s causing the older generation to have runny noses?

By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.

While our children may find themselves with runny noses during allergy season, it’s important to remember our older parents might have runny noses, too. In fact, they might even be developing allergies.

What is causing those runny noses?

Typically, allergies tend to decrease in people as they get older because their immune systems naturally get weaker and no longer react to allergens. OldwomanallergyblowingnoseWeb

If they have a runny nose, what they likely have is a symptom of a condition called nonallergic rhinitis. This can be caused by things like weather changes, air quality, and strong smells. Runny noses can also be stimulated by eating. In fact, 90 percent of the men who see CEENTA ENT doctor Hunter Hoover, MD, complain about runny noses when eating.

“Runny noses in elderly patients are very common and usually not due to allergies,” Dr. Hoover said. “Fortunately, there are prescription nasal sprays available to help with that runny nose that do not have the side effects associated with many over-the-counter medicines.” Read More →

From the Smarty Education Corner and Charlotte Latin School: Reflections from a Lower School Head

By Smarty Guest Blogger, Mark Tayloe, Head of Lower School, Charlotte Latin School

In the field of education, when we hear a teacher or parent say, “You can’t teach a dog new tricks,” most administrators like me roll their eyes and assert that they have once again heard another excuse by someone who is change averse. However, as I ponder that trite saying, I have compassion for those who struggle with trying something new. Whereas certainly an old dog can learn new tricks, it surely isn’t as easy as it used to be. Those of us who have the opportunity to be in an elementary school, where I have had the good fortune to be for the last 19 years, find this truth manifests itself every day. The children we see are prime for every new idea and concept they encounter and go about learning it with great gusto.Carpool_Edit_resize

The early childhood brain is so malleable that it’s often referred to as “plastic,” meaning easily shaped or molded. Teachers frequently refer to students’ brains as sponges that want to soak up everything you pour into them. Children are so hungry to learn and to try new things that we must take full advantage of this optimal time of child development to put them on a path for long-term success as students. Read More →

September 11, 2017

How to open your teen’s first checking account

By Smarty Guest Blogger Kimberly Paulk. For more tips on kids and money, check out her blog Parents + Money.

When my son walked out the door on his first day of high school, I panicked. It seemed like yesterday he was building with Legos on the back patio and suddenly here he was, practically packing to leave for college.DeathtoStock_Wired5

It was an overreaction, to be sure. But the realization that he was getting closer to “independence day” led me to many decisions. The first one: I decided he needed to learn to manage money. That meant opening a real, honest-to-goodness checking account.

Most financial institutions have savings accounts for children, but we went hunting for something that was more “teen” and less kid-focused. I also wanted something that would give him a lot of chances–to make a budget, make a plan and make mistakes.

We found the process to be fairly painless but it would have been easier if another mom had handed me a list of some options available in our area, along with a quick rundown of her experiences.

So here’s what we did, and what we learned. Read More →

September 1, 2017

From Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: Here’s what you need to know about the power of Active Reading

Active Reading Blog Header

By our Smarty friends at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

We all know that reading is important for children’s development. Studies even show that babies benefit from reading with their caregivers well before they can even grasp language. But, there is something simple you can do to significantly improve the language and reading skills of the children in your lives. It’s called Active Reading.

What is Active Reading?

Active Reading is a different way of reading a children’s book. It involves reading a book WITH a child rather than reading a book TO a child. This proven approach improves children’s language skills, vocabulary and ability to understand what they read on their own.

Active Reading works for children from as young as six months through sixth grade. (For younger children you’ll want to focus more on talking about the pictures.) In Active Reading, an adult shares a picture book with a child and provides the child with multiple opportunities to talk about and engage with the pictures, new words and ideas in the book. The idea is to use the book as a tool to talk with your child, asking questions, teaching new words and getting the child thinking and talking about the book. Read More →

August 31, 2017

From the Smarty Health Corner and CEENTA: Autumn allergies are around the corner

By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.

August will soon turn into September, and not only are your children back at school, but they might also start dealing with fall allergies. What causes them and how should you have your children treated?GirlAllergiesFallWeb

Charlotte’s pollen
Fall allergy season is generally from mid-August to mid- to late September. Late August and early September are peak pollen time. The most common causes of allergies are ragweed and pigweed, although grass counts are still high from the summer.

Allergies in southeast America are strong this time of year. The mild climate means the area has a long grass season – March to September – and mold stays for most of the year because the region does not have hard freezes. Read More →

August 30, 2017

From the Smarty Education Corner: 5 Tips for Preparing your Little One for Preschool

By Smarty Guest Blogger Stacey Rommich, Director – Providence Presbyterian Preschool

It’s hard to believe that summer is winding down and that our little ones will be back to school in a few weeks! Whether it’s their first school experience or they are returning to preschool, young children can sometimes have a difficult time adjusting to the new school year. Here are 5 quick tips to make your preschooler’s first few weeks run smoothly:

1. Create a regular sleep pattern.

Summertime means late nights at the pool and sleeping in later than normal! 😊 About a week or so before the first day of school, help your child by creating a consistent bedtime and routine. Turn off all the “screens” an hour or two before bedtime, have a good bath and story time, and then send them off to sleep at a decent hour. While they might wake up a little earlier than your liking, this consistent routine and sleep will help them be happier little students for the first weeks of school.IMG_2716

2. Help them help themselves.

Confidence builds when we can do things ourselves! No matter the child’s age, he/she can complete some tasks on their own…putting on their own clothing or shoes, cleaning up after a meal, picking up toys…celebrate all of these acts of independence with your child. Confidence at home translates to confidence at preschool! Read More →

August 29, 2017

From Girls on the Run Charlotte: Five Questions to Consider When Signing Your Child Up for an Afterschool Program

CSP Team Note: This post, written by Allison Riley, PhD, was originally published on the Girls on the Run website. Online lottery registration is now open for the Fall 2017 Girls on the Run Charlotte season. Click here to register.

Over the course of a typical school year there are around 525 hours between 3:00 and 6:00 pm. As an afterschool professional with over ten years of experience designing, implementing and evaluating out-of-school time programs, I’ve seen the afterschool hours spent in many different ways. I’ve seen youth participate in sports, church programs, tutoring and school-based programs and, as the Senior VP of Programming and Evaluation at Girls on the Run International, I’ve seen girls transform through youth development programs. afterschool

These 525 precious hours represent tremendous opportunity: opportunity to learn, to connect, to grow and to be active. A recent external study of the Girls on the Run program showed us just how impactful a high-quality afterschool program can be. Once you’ve determined the after school opportunities available to your child this year, here are some questions to consider to help your family take full advantage of this time based on what we learned from the study.

1. Does the program have specific goals – and do those goals match what my child and I hope that they’ll get out of the program?

It’s important to understand what you and your child hope to get out of the experience before you begin to explore a program. Look for afterschool programs that have clear goals for participants such as increased physical activity, enhanced life skills, or improvements in academic outcomes. For example, Girls on the Run offers an opportunity for girls to become more physically active while also developing important life skills like confidence, caring, and connection to others. A program is a good fit when there is overlap between your goals and the goals of the program.

2. Does the program have an intentional structure or curriculum?

A high-quality afterschool program will have both goals and a plan in place to ensure that participants reach these goals. In our study we found that girls who participated in Girls on the Run, which has an intentional curriculum, were more likely to learn and use skills such as managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others and intentional decision-making than girls in other activities.

3. Who’s leading the program?

There’s no question that trained, supportive adults are critical to the out-of-school time experience. The ideal program will be staffed with adults who are intentional about building relationships with and among program participants, creating an inclusive environment, and focusing on personal improvement. At Girls on the Run, our coach training, small group sizes and low adult-to-child ratios ensure that girls get what they need from program staff. Read More →

August 25, 2017

From the Smarty Education Corner and Charlotte Latin School: The Magic of Routine

By Smarty Guest Blogger, Mary Yorke Oates, Director of Admissions, Charlotte Latin School

The first day of school is filled with excitement. In so many ways, everything is like a brand new pack of crayons. The tips are sharp, the colors are organized, and the options are endless. The lunch boxes are clean, and the paper is crisp. For Kindergartners, we have packed so much hype into the start of school. From the grocery store to the mall, there are aisles and aisles of items to buy for school with an underlying message that we better get it now, lest there is a totally unexpected shortage of 3 by 5 index cards. After all, it might be impossible to go into a retail space once school starts. And even if we don’t need anything, we are still tempted to think, “Maybe we do need something. Will Sally be behind if I don’t get this?”DSC04360 copy

So, what do we really need to do to prepare our youngest for school? And more importantly, what do we parents need to do to prepare ourselves for the start of school? Read More →

August 24, 2017

Something Every Parent Should Do With Their Teenage Driver: B.R.A.K.E.S.

By Matthew Petchel

As I’m speeding down the road at 11:30 at night with my very pregnant wife in the seat next to me, the last thing on my mind is driving school for the yet to be born baby in her belly. To be honest, all I could think about was how much a new leather seat is going to cost if she goes into labor riding shotgun in my brand new Audi. I actually considered stopping at a convenience store to buy plastic trash bags to put between her and the seat. This is how an immature 30 year old thinks. My life was about to change in a major way.

Once you have kids, life seems to move much faster. And as a new parent, you realize every day there are new decisions that need to be made – and YOU are the one in charge making the decisions. As the years go by, these decisions get progressively harder and more important as kids get older. We all solve them with a mix of help from grandparents, reading, trial and error, common sense and of course, Google searches. They start out simple and small. Decisions like ‘what kind of jogging stroller should we buy’ and ‘should we visit your parents or mine for Christmas this year.’ But soon enough they turn to really important things like ‘where should we send our kids to school’, and ‘how to we get the kids to eat vegetables and how do you pronounce Quinoa.’ At the end of the day, many of these decisions are about preparing kids for the real world in some way or another so your kids don’t end up living in your basement at age 25 while they ‘find themselves and try and become YouTube stars’.

Fast forward from that night in my Audi 16 years and that baby is now teenager who’s body is changing, he’s started talking about girls AND he’s about to drive a car. Most likely one of my cars. When this hit me, I knew I had to do more than the bare minimum when it came to ensuring Mason was a safe and competent driver. I also was fairly certain that the school’s driving education wasn’t going to cut it for me. Consider this – by the time the average kid turns 16, he or she will have had thousands of hours of instruction/practice in either a sport, hobby or musical instrument. Yet, when it comes to driving, we throw them the keys to a 3,000 lb missle after only 6 hours of training. How crazy is that? It’s no wonder half of new drivers crash before they graduate high school and almost 90% have some kind of accident within 3 years.

In Mason’s freshman orientation at school, a man came and spoke about a driving program for teenagers learning to drive called B.R.A.K.E.S. – which stands for Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe. I liked his message and his passion for what he was saying. It turns out this guy was more than just a spokesman for B.R.A.K.E.S. – he was the founder of this non-profit after his teenage son caused a horrific wreck killing both his kids (16 and 12). His name was Doug Herbert and he stood there in front of 500 people and told the story no parent wants to tell (or hear) about how his son caused the wreck and we can all do a better job of making teenagers better drivers. To date, over 20,000 teenagers have taken the B.R.A.K.E.S. course in 18 states. I knew that when it came time to learn to drive, Mason was going to do the B.R.A.K.E.S. program.

B.R.A.K.E.S. Smarty Pants Read More →


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