Smart Start

SmartStartSmart Start was created in 1993 as a solution to a problem: children were coming to school unprepared to learn. Smart Start is a network of 76 nonprofit local partnerships led by The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc (NCPC). NCPC works to provide fiscal and programmatic oversight to the local partnerships in all 100 counties. Is it working? Smart Start is producing some measurable results.

  • Childhood obesity-Smart Start is partnering with The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation on a “Shape NC” grant. This is a strategy to create a healthier state.
  • Improving early literacy- Programs like Raising a Reader and Reach Out and Read are providing books to parents to read with their children. Information is also being provided on how to help children develop literacy and language skills.
  • Increasing access to high quality child care for subsided families. In 2012-13, 84 percent of children whose families received help with payment attended 4 and 5 star centers.

The North Carolina Partnership for Children helps all of the local partnerships by providing tools to do business including offering leadership training to Executive Directors, board members and management teams. They also help support child care businesses in improving and achieving higher stars, onsite technical assistance and training. All of these things guarantee that all of NC’s children have the opportunity to benefit from Smart Start.

Child Care Subsidy and Administration

abc blocksThis program purchases child care for children whose families meet local, state and federal requirements.  This program is provided by the Department of Social Services in each county.

Gaston County
Contact our Child Care Coordinator, Nocona Brittain, at 704-862-7836 or come by our office at 330 N. Marietta Street, Gastonia.

Lincoln County
Contact Susan McCracken at 704-732-0738 or come by our office at 1136 East Main Street, Lincolnton.

Quality Enhancement

quality childcareThis service recognizes that quality child care is an important part of the development of young children.

This project provides on-site technical assistance, training opportunities, and incentives to child care providers to improve quality in child care centers and family child care homes rated four stars or below in Lincoln & Gaston Counties.

Quality Sustainability

It is important in the development of young children ages 0-5 with the current focus for sustaining high quality child care on curriculum, teacher ability and commitment.

This activity provides financial support to sustain four and five star facilities that meet high quality indicators. 

In addition, participating facilities receive on-site technical assistance and staff training to sustain high quality.

Early Learning Tips

children born ready to learn












How to Support Early Learning and Language Development


Talking to your child will give them lots of examples of how to use words to share ideas and get information. The more you talk to your child, the more opportunities they have to learn how to express themselves and understand what others are saying.

  • Talk through or comment on your family's routines. For example, when washing hands you can say, "We are washing our hands. We are making lots of big bubbles."
  • Comment on your child's actions or objects.
  • Respond to your child's nonverbal communications with words. For example, you can say, "I see you reaching for the blocks. Would you like to play with the blocks?"
  • Ask questions and pause for answers. If your child isn't talking yet, provide the answers to your questions.


Your home is where your child will get his or her first experiences with books and reading. It's never too early to start, so pick up a book and start reading aloud to your child today!

  • Make reading aloud a part of your daily bedtime routine.
  • Make the story come alive by reading with fun and excitement in your voice. Try loud, soft or silly voices.
  • Go to your local library to get more books. When your child is old enough, let them choose which ones to bring home.
  • Infants (6 months-12 months) do best with board books that are sturdy and brightly-colored. The most suitable books will have pictures of things they see every day - balls, bottles, chairs, dogs, etc.
  • Younger toddlers (12-24 months) enjoy sturdy books that they can handle and carry. They like books that show children doing similar things like sleeping, eating and playing.
  • Older toddlers (24-36 months) enjoy books with pictures and names of many different things, silly books and funny books, books with rhyme and rhythm, and repeated text they can learn by heart.
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years) like books that tell stories. They enjoy reading about going to school or daycare, learning about different places, counting books, alphabet books and search and find books.


"More Than Baby Talk" by Nicole Gardner-Neblett and Kathleen Cranley Gallagher
Reach Out and Read


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lil head

Contact Us

  • 704-922-0900
  • Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties
  • 120 Roechling Street
    Dallas, NC 28034
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Smart Start