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 18, 2017

From the Smarty Education Corner: Charlotte School Open House 2017-18

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Charlotte School Open House Season? WHAT? School just started! It’s hard to believe and hard to handle when we are just sliding into the new school year. In typical Smarty style, we took some of the pain out of the process as we unveil the 2017-18 Smarty School Open House Guide below!

We are very proud to announce our partners for the 2017-18 Smarty Education Corner: Charlotte Christian School, Charlotte Country Day SchoolCharlotte Jewish Day School, Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte Preparatory School, The Fletcher School, Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools, Providence Day School, and Palisades Episcopal School. Over the coming months, we’ll keep you informed on key dates for open house schedules, trending education topics and highlights on educators and students doing amazing things in our community.

Mark your calendars, Smarties, you’re going to want to hit all of the amazing schools that Charlotte has to offer! Read More →

September 14, 2017

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 4, 2017

The school bell has been rung!

Can you believe it? Really can you believe it? With every new school year, I have such a hard time grasping the fact that a new school year has begun. How did time manage to pull the wool over our eyes once again? How did time manage to end what seemed like a never ending summer? Three months ago we all felt like we had endless possibilities to mold summer into what our Pinterest boards envisioned for us or felt like we could easily slash through our summer bucket lists. IMG_0038

Whether or not you made it through your vision of summer, the fact is the bell has been rung and classes have started. The first day of school kind of reminds me of the anticipation of Christmas or any other holiday where you feel the pressure to find the perfect gifts, arrange logistics that will please everyone, plan meals, check schedules, and have the right outfits. Consider the start of school a warmup for the holidays!

In the weeks leading up to the first day of school (literally Christmas for some of you) and into the first couple of weeks of school, we find ourselves relating to the trials and tribulations that come along with the new school year:

– After finding the exact sized binders (mom, it has to be ½ inch, not one inch), you find out that you child really needed a three-subject notebook instead.

– Then after really finding the exact sized binders and notebooks, you venture back out for forgotten dividers (which have to have pockets and are $10 more) only for your child to see binders that are indeed Pinterest worthy; commence the start of the return pile by the back door. Read More →

September 1, 2017

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

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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

#freedom #backtoschool

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I’m not getting political. I’m getting personal.

Don’t judge my freedom. Don’t judge my hashtags. Don’t judge my joy.

Back to School is upon us and I’m whistling Dixie. I’m going to hashtag the life out of my happiness and I’m totally not okay with you judging me for it. Especially, if you don’t have children. Bite your tongue and watch me bask in the glory of personal triumph . . . I made it another summer. I did it.

Quit shaking your head at me questioning what I’m going to DO with my time. What time? I have the same responsibilities, chores, tasks and appointments I did all summer long. But, now I get to do them with a shred of dignity.

I can use the bathroom myself. I can make a phone call myself. I can eat a meal without someone asking me for something, ANYTHING before I take a bite. 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

Smarty Alert: Jami Masters School of Dance Shoe Fitting THIS Week!

JMSD Camp

Back-to-School is here, Smarties – woot, woot! It’s time to gear up, get organized and map out your fall activities for your kids. We’re here to help you with your BTS planning and today we bring you Jami Masters School of Dance (JMSD).

My daughter is entering her 9th year at JMSD and she loves it more and more each year. It’s also our 3rd year on Junior Company and I can say with conviction, JMSD is her #1 sport. JMSD comes first before everything else and nothing makes me more proud. JMSD dancers are leaders at their schools, involved heavily in our local community, and a very special group of young ladies.

What I love about JMSD is their low-pressure philosophy:

To instill the love of dance in all of their students. They encourage each child to be the best they can be, and do this in a loving, caring, nurturing, and noncompetitive environment. Through careful, supervised dance training, students gain confidence and charm while developing stronger, healthier bodies. Read More →

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 →


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