Charlotte Smarty Pants

Charlotte Smarty Pants – Daily Scoop for Savvy Charlotte Moms

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February 19, 2017

Smarty Alert: This Week’s School Open Houses


Don’t miss this week’s School Open Houses we’ve listed below. This is NOT the full Open House listing for each school or school system – it’s just this week’s. For our full listing of open houses, please see our 2016 Smarty School Open House Guide.

February 23, 9:15 am: Trinity Episcopal School (Super Tour)
February 24: Palisades Episcopal School Storytime Adventure – Reading and art workshops for parents & children ages 3-5 years. All Storytime Adventure events begin at 10 a.m. Please RSVP to 704.583.1825 or Space is limited.

February 18, 2017

Smarty Mom: Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor is a perfect example of the proverb, “Good things come in small packages.”

What can I say about “Miss Jenny.” The truth is, what can’t I say about Miss Jenny… she is the heart and soul of St. John’s Preschool. She is there to greet you in the morning and bid you farewell in the afternoon. She is never without a tremendous smile. What I love most – she puts your children first! In the carpool line, my twins pray that she is the one that is going to open their door. They LOOOOOOOOOVE her! Her kindness, grace and warmth is felt throughout the entire school. I feel so incredibly blessed to have her in my children’s lives. It is the most amazing feeling to be able to drop off your children and know they are safe and loved.

Let’s get to know a little bit more about this week’s Smarty Mom Jennifer Taylor. image5

Smarty Mom: Jennifer Taylor

Name: Jennifer Taylor
Married to: Jeff
Number of years married: 25
Number of Children & Ages: 19 and 22
Neighborhood: Olde Providence
Career: Preschool Director

Are you a Charlotte native?

If not, where did you move from?
Jackson, Michigan

What is your favorite date night place to go?
The Lodge Read More →

February 17, 2017

From the Smarty Education Corner and Charlotte Latin School: The Balmy Days of Winter


by Mary Yorke Oates, Director of Admissions, Charlotte Latin School

February and January are usually a time of snow days, ice storms, and “late starts.” Instead, I have seen boys and girls in shorts and windbreakers, skipping in and out of the school yard. Outdoor play has been delightful, and the children are engaged in an even more meaningful way with these balmy days of winter. With Chinese New Year, Martin Luther King day, the Inauguration, and our Global Studies focus on Egypt, this time of year is full of great learning opportunities. Our youngest students cement skills and acquire impressive tools for the academic journey ahead. In grades TK through 1, while students read, write and actively engage in math thinking; they also weave current events into historical moments. Lower School halls are filled with art projects such as Robert Indiana’s LOVE design so familiar to us this Valentine time of year, Paul Klee’s famous cats, and impressive face jugs help children understand the connection between self-portraiture, expression and pottery. The face jug collection alone celebrates the influence of Chinese and English cultures on society linking our own American roots to the tradition from our backdoor neighbors in Catawba County. Read More →

February 16, 2017

Must-See Video for Parents of Tweens & Teens: SCREENAGERS

screenagers teens

A few weeks ago, I went to the JCC for a screening of a parenting documentary on screen time and video games, SCREENAGERS. I left feeling a little anxious but also somewhat proud of my social media parenting approach. Screen time and social media are not going away, so we need to figure out how we are going to guide our children through their digital lives.


Award-winning SCREENAGERS probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director’s own, and depicts messy struggles, over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through surprising insights from authors and brain scientists solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world.

The take-away for me is that we as parents are in a new world of parenting, and screen time and social media are at the heart of it. We need to be aware and be present in our teens’ lives now more than ever and come up with a realistic family digital citizenship program, which is unique to each family.

This film is a great way to create conversation with your family on social media and what is happening in their lives. I would highly recommend you watch it with your kids at a future screening. I can promise you, changes will be made immediately in your household. After our family watched it, we immediately implemented a Tech Talk during Sunday night dinners. This is our chance as a family to openly discuss what’s going on in their social media world. We’ve already had two “Plym Tech Talks” and I was floored by some of the things my kids were sharing. Read More →

February 14, 2017

From our Smarty friends at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: Love your Library

Love Your Library - Top Photo

By our Smarty friends at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air. It doesn’t have to be just about chocolate and greeting cards, why not spread love and kindness in our community while we’re at it? Charlotte Mecklenburg Library appreciates the love you show the Library every day of the year, as users, advocates, volunteers and supporters. We want to use this opportunity as a way to let you know we love you back!

During the month of February, we invite you to share the love in many different ways with special events, storytimes and community service projects. Or just visit us to check out a book – it always warms our hearts to see you.


Let Off Some S.T.E.A.M.
Cornelius Library
February 18 at 2 p.m.

Let off some S.T.E.A.M. with some post-Valentine’s Day magnetic experiments, including magnetic mazes and slime. Then, put your math skills to the test with geoboard and tangram fun. To register for this K-5 program, call 704-416-3800. Read More →

February 7, 2017

From the Smarty Education Corner and Providence Day School: Lessons Learned – Building your parent–school partnership

By Smarty Guest Blogger Rachel Spector

Two years ago, during the application process, I picked my daughter up from her 3rd grade “buddy visit” at Providence Day School. When she got into the car, I cautiously asked her how her day went and with a huge grin she began, “It was the best day ever! The cafeteria is awesome, the kids were great, we heard a cool story and look at the picture I made!” She continued to tell me detail after detail about her day and ended with what I had been hoping to hear. She exclaimed, “I love it here!”

Photo courtesy of Providence Day School

Photo courtesy of Providence Day School

PDS was a new school for both of my children. As the end of their first year approached, I thought about the incredible bond they were developing with their new school community. Through thousands of hours and the gamut of experiences, PDS was becoming a partner in helping my children become their best “selves.” At the same time, I began to wonder what my relationship was to this new community that had become such a big part of my family life?

My outlook on this parent-school relationship became similar to making a new friend. I quickly realized just like building the foundations of a friendship, a strong parent-school partnership started with good communication, collaboration, being supportive, trusting, and sharing in experiences. Read More →

January 27, 2017

Smarty Giveaway: Two tickets for the Joined in Education’s ‘How to Raise An Adult’ keynote address and parent workshop


****This giveaway has ended. We have a winner****

Joined in Education, a local group dedicated to advancing early childhood and elementary education in Charlotte, is hosting a two-day educational symposium for parents and childcare professionals on February 8 and 9, and we’ve got tickets to give away! This is a goodie, Smarties. We are SO lucky to have JIE in our city – they’re goHow to Raise an Adulting great things. Keep reading!

The event will include a keynote address on Wednesday night by Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Stanford University Dean of Freshman and author of New York Times best-seller How to Raise An Adult. (If you haven’t read this awesome book, stop what you’re doing. Head to the library, bookstore, or your computer and pick up/order a copy for yourself. It focuses on growing successful and independent children, which, in today’s sometimes over-scheduled and over-parented world, is a good reminder for us all.)

Erin Walsh will anchor Thursday’s parent workshops. She’ll examine the impact of stress on the brain and share practical strategies for raising resilient children. Topics will include: Executive function and success in school and life, finding the “resilience sweet spot,” how to handle perfectionism in children, the power of growth mindset, and setting appropriate limits Read More →

January 26, 2017

Smarty Alert: YMCA Camp Thunderbird Early Bird Discount Ends 1/31!

Summer fun at Camp Thunderbird on Lake Wylie, SC

Smarties, get your summer calendars ready and start mapping out your kids’ plans – YMCA Camp Thunderbird has an early bird discount that will expire on January 31st! Every dollar helps, so don’t forget to register NOW!

YMCA Camp Thunderbird is the BEST! It’s close to Charlotte, hosts day and resident campers, and is one of the few places in the QC that can boast generations of camp alum. There’s a lot to be said for that. Plus, it was voted Best Day Camp in the 2016 Smarty Awards!

For more info on YMCA Camp Thunderbird:

Camp Thunderbird new logo

YMCA CAMP THUNDERBIRD is a co-ed resident camp on 1.7 miles of beautiful Lake Wylie, SC shoreline. Your child will learn new skills, make lifelong friends and grow in confidence on Thunderbird’s ultimate water playground and diverse land activities. Wakesports, paddleboarding, horseback riding, high ropes, and archery are just a few of the programs your child can experience this summer.

Smarty tip #1: Members of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte receive a $100 per week discount when registering for resident camp.

Smarty tip #2: Take advantage of Thunderbird’s easy payment plan. Make a $200 deposit and five additional payments beginning in February. Read More →

January 17, 2017

From our friends at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: You’re going to rock 2017

Cutting word "I can't" flat lay

By our Smarty friends at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Gyms are packed, kale is flying off the shelves – New Year’s resolution season is in full bloom. Now is the perfect time of year to turn to Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to get inspiration. You’ve been doing a great job of checking in with us already. Keep it up in 2017 by visiting us online or in person anytime you need a boost.

Here are ten ways to rock the coming year, and how your Library can help.

1. Start building a great 2017 reading list.

1 - Start building a great 2017 reading list - Photo
And if you need recommendations, come to us. (We’re really good at it.) Speaking of reading, here are the titles that were most borrowed by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library readers in 2016. If you missed them last year, you might want to add these books to your 2017 reading list.

2. Figure out how that new device works.

If you got a tablet or e-reader over the holiday and want to know how to load it up with free e-books from the Library, we can help. Find a class or tutoring session at your nearest branch. Read More →

January 15, 2017

Smarty Alert: This Week’s School Open Houses


Don’t miss this week’s School Open Houses we’ve listed below. This is NOT the full Open House listing for each school or school system – it’s just this week’s. For our full listing of open houses, please see our 2016 Smarty School Open House Guide.

January 20, 2017 – Palisades Episcopal School

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