Join Us in Celebrating #TeacherThankYouWeek

June 2022

Each year we celebrate #TeacherThankYouWeek during the first full week of June. This year, between June 5 June 11, we reflect on our Meck Pre-K educators who helped our students stay busy learning, growing, and having fun while developing essential skills for lifelong learning.

Over the course of the school year, more than 1,600 students were served throughout 105 classrooms in 46 childcare centers across the county. As we close out the school year, we look forward to offering over 1,800 seats to eligible four-year-olds next year.

Four years after the launch of MECK Pre-K, the program is excited to begin enrollment for the fifth year. All children residing in Mecklenburg County who turn four on or before August 31 can enroll to attend high-quality, free pre-k to prepare them to enter Kindergarten. This significant achievement will set the trajectory for a lifetime of learning.

A History of MECK Pre-K

In 2014, the Chetty Study ranked Charlotte last among the 50 largest US cities. Mecklenburg was ranked 99 out of 100 counties in upward mobility.
In response, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force released the Opportunity Task Force Report intended to be a living document. Access to early care and early childhood education was identified as a priority area early on.  The newly formed Early Childhood Education Executive Committee released a plan that included clearing the childcare waitlist for children from birth to age 5, creating universal Pre-K for four-year-old children, and investing in talent development strategies to support high-quality childcare and Pre-K programs.

Supported through increased funding from the 2019 budget, Mecklenburg County launched a public Pre-K program, MECK Pre-K, to provide universal Pre-K across the county. Smart Start of Mecklenburg County was thrilled to administer the innovative program.

Why Choose MECK Pre-K

Pre-k provides the strong foundation needed for children to be successful in every stage of their education journey and eventually grow into self-sufficient adults who contribute to the strength of their community. Research shows that the impact of children attending pre-k goes far beyond the early childhood years. In a recent study, The Life-Cycle Benefits of an Influential Early-Childhood Program, it is shown that every $1 invested in early childhood care and education generates more than $7 in returns.
If you're looking for more information, reach out to MECK Pre-K, a high-quality, free pre-K program for four-year-old children in Mecklenburg County. MECK Pre-K is administered by Smart Start of Mecklenburg County and funded by Mecklenburg County. Classes are taught by licensed teachers and highly qualified teaching assistants. For more information and to apply online, visit

Smart Start of Mecklenburg County mobilizes resources, forges partnerships, supports families to improve early childhood health, education, and development, and ensures children enter Kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed. Three foundational pillars guide the organization: innovating, collaborating & convening, and investing.