We’ve Got Pre-K News!

Here’s some exciting news… this month, Thompson joined Mecklenburg County in their initiative to clear the child care subsidy waiting list and provide universal Pre-K to 100% of 4-year-olds. The counties most recent census has shown that there are 22,107 children under age five who are eligible for a child care subsidy. Did you know that of those children, only 19 percent of income-eligible children receive assistance? This means that over two-thirds of future students, residents, taxpayers, and employees in this city are operating at a deficit upon entering their 12-year educational journey.

The CDC has long broadcasted the statistic that kids achieve 90% of their adult brain volume by age 6. But in Charlotte, a little less than half (40% to be exact) of third-graders can read at grade level. Outside of reports, presentations, and task forces, these statistics have faces. They are mainly the faces of the low-wealth children who, without access to the fundamental foundations to education, will only continue to carry on the cycle of generational poverty as they continue to struggle against the gaping economic gap in our city. A gap that hides behind the headlines of luxury apartment buildings colonizing areas once considered affordable. At Thompson, we believe that Early Childhood Education (ECE) will be the great equalizer.

ECE has been cited as one of the most beneficial aspects of increasing social capital for the economically disadvantaged according to the CDC. Fundamentally, it minimizes the gaps in school preparedness. From there, once a child has access to a Pre-K program, it can begin to address the adverse childhood experiences common for children in low-income families. These early interventions can avoid or reduce the developmental delays that compromise a child’s healthy development ultimately inhibiting school readiness.

Mecklenburg County is all in for increasing ECE opportunities. Six-million-dollars-and-then-some-all-in. Thompson has answered the call for assistance, and we want to empower other childcare agencies in the area to do the same.

We’ve developed partnerships with both CMS and NC Pre-K to open up slots in our 5-Star Child Development Center to children who fall under the subsidy and children who are at risk of developmental delays.

In total, we’ve begun by serving 36 children on our expertly developed curriculum, which started this September. We opened 3 new classrooms at the center and brought on four additional staff to maintain our 1:9 child to teacher ratio. We utilize the Creative Curriculum for Infant, Toddlers & Twos, and Preschool, a research-based program that fosters skills like language, social-emotional, cognitive and literacy all focused on kindergarten readiness.

In addition, we’re providing bussing for children within a six-mile radius of our facility, which is located in the West Boulevard Corridor. To accommodate for working families the center also operates on extended hours opening up 6:30 am and closing at 6 pm. These additions to the center were made specifically with increasing economic mobility in mind. Special attention is paid to ensure parents feel just as supported and empowered as the children.

Overall, this growth model we’re creating is projected to continue serving all the children who fall under this subsidy, or in other words need the Pre-K but simply can’t afford it. And we’ve seen results. Our outcomes from last year showed an increase- 85% of children reaching their developmental expectations. We also have a significant effort in place to continue the progress of our children after they graduate. Thompson’s strength as an organization is that our services operate on a continuum. When a child enters Thompson (either at our child development center, in foster care, or residential services) they become wrapped in all we have to offer. We can and do continue to serve these children through outpatient therapy, family education, and most recently Friends of the Children.

We’re excited to take that momentum into this school year and even on to the next. We’re preparing to grow even more as Mecklenburg continues to expand its programs. All of the information regarding program openings and updates can be found on our website (www.thompsoncff.org) and you can contact us using a form built into the site to schedule a tour of the center or put your child on our list to be considered for admission. We also offer mentorship to childcare agencies in need of support.

As we roll into 2019 the time for planning is passed. Our city is growing and we have identified the largest faults in the foundation. At Thompson, we are now holding ourselves accountable for delivering results. As teachers, parents, donors, and residents, we deserve action!

Help us win $25,000!

From August 15th – 31st Capital Bank is running a contest to celebrate 25 years of giving! They have invited nonprofits across the Southeast to submit a 60-second video showing them how our organizations could use these funds. You can vote for Thompson every day by visiting this site. You can also check out our video below!

If our amazing “Friends” and two of our fantastic kids didn’t convince you, we thought we would break down exactly what $25,000 could do here at Thompson. For some context, $25,000 could provide…

  • Almost two and a half years of paid, professional mentoring for one of the children in our Friends of the Children program. 
  • It could pay for 338 hours of therapy
  • 56 days of Psychiatric Residential Treatment for a child

Helping us make a difference has never been easier. Be sure to #VoteThompson the next few days and share with all your family and friends!

5 Habits You Should Create with Your Children Before School Starts

Have you seen it yet? It’s there, popping up when you’re trying to watch the evening news or in the background while you pour your morning coffee. Back-To-School commercials are upon us. That can only mean one thing…school is close, but not tooo close (they always start these ads too early!)

With the countdown on, it’s a great time to start developing healthy routines and habits with your children. Especially elementary-aged kiddos! The great thing about the school year is the structure it provides for young minds. As adults, we may be bored by the predictability of our routine lives, but children have been proven to thrive on routine. It assures they are eating, sleeping, and socializing regularly, which are three keys to school success!

Children are impressionable. We may have even seen our own kids picking up on some of our own habits (the good and bad). So, it only makes sense to create these positive behaviors and habits while they’re so eager to learn and grow! With everything we know about the importance of early childhood educational objectives, here are a few things you should focus on building routines around to ensure your child has a leg up on the school year and in life!

1. Reading: Just because kids aren’t in school doesn’t mean their brains can’t stay active. It’s so important to create stimulation and challenge your child’s imagination throughout the year. Reading from an early age can give children a leg up when it comes to developing strong verbal and written skills, which goes on to predict a great deal of future success! 

Bonus tip: Weekly trips to the local library are a great, free, summer activity for all ages. Cool down between the shelves and let your little ones explore!


2. Healthy Snacking: The temptation to snack on junk food while the kids are home is very real. However, healthy snacking is so important for physical and mental health! Help your child get in the habit of reaching for some nutritious options versus sugary snacks with no health benefits. They’ll thank you later for helping them form these habits early.



3&4. Bedtime and Wake-up Time: Being out of school often means children are able to sleep in and ditch their early morning scramble to catch the bus. But maintaining a regular bedtime is going to keep your child’s internal clock in check and ensure that they get the amount of sleep they need to stay healthy. Just as important is making sure your child doesn’t sleep the day away. Sticking to a “lights on” rule every morning might not be their favorite, but it’s to their benefit. Spending the day asleep and the night awake is harmful to a child’s cognitive development, and it’ll make getting into the school-year routine that much harder. Children need structure, and maintaining the same habits throughout the year will mean they will always stay on track!


5. Cleaning Up: It’s great that summer can allow children to play all day. After all, play time is just as important in a child’s life as the rest of their schooling. However, it’s important that kids continue to be held accountable for picking up their toys, making their beds, and cleaning up after themselves. If we let these rules slide during the summer how can we expect children to do this the rest of the year? Fostering that appreciation for their home and their items will help your child understand the value of respect.


The main takeaway? Children are SMART, and they are in a very formative time in their lives. It’s important to give them the proper tools that will set them up to be kind, intelligent, and self-sufficient young adults!

Looking out for your mental health in the summer

July is here and before you know it the dog days of summer will be here too. With kids out of school, it may seem like you’re struggling to find a minute to yourself to breathe. The summer is typically known as a time to kick back and relax, but perhaps you’re feeling the exact opposite of zen.

Looking out for your mental health in the summer is just as important as any other time of the year. Here are a few tips to help you harness that sunshine and use it to fuel your depleted mental energy!

5 Easy Tips to take care of your mental health this summer

  1. Excercise– Excercise is one of the best ways to boost those natural chemicals in your brain that elevate your mood. During the other months of the year, we’re often forced into the gym to get our sweat on and, let’s face it, the gym is NOT for everybody. Take advantage of the perfect evening weather with a post-dinner time walk around the block. Even that small amount of activity and fresh air can do wonders for a busy brain!
    1. Bonus tip: Leave your headphones at home! There are immense sensory benefits to allowing all your senses to enjoy the outdoors, including hearing! Fill your brain with chirping birds and save the tunes for a car ride.
  2. Use Your Vacation Time– There are tons of travel deals floating around in the summer months. Cash in some PTO and take a long weekend. Set an intention to use that time to indulge in a little self-care. Read a book, take a long lunch, meet up with friends. You’ll be surprised what investing in yourself can do for your mental health.
  3. Take a Social Media Break– Social media is really just a highlight reel. And sitting down and scrolling through other people’s amazing beach and vacation photos can really drag you down. But comparing yourself to other people all the time is incredibly unhealthy. Take a week, or if you’re adventurous enough, maybe a month, and just delete the apps from your phone. A little mindfulness goes a long way.
  4. Let in the Sunshine– Sunshine has tremendous impacts on your mental health. Beyond even just getting Vitamin D (which is important in moderation). Open up the shades, and let in the light. Allowing light into your home, office, and living areas can be a simple step to boost your mood.
  5. Keep it Cool– Getting a good night’s sleep is an easy way to set you up to be in your best head space. The optimal temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 67 degrees Farenheight. Your AC is already cranked in the summer months, so make sure it’s set especially cool during the evening when it might be tempting to sleep with the windows open.

2018 Charlotte Summer Camp Guide

Here in the Queen City, the saying goes “Charlotte’s got a lot”. I would argue we’ve got so much that sometimes it’s hard to keep up with. That’s why we’re grateful that our friends over at Charlotte Parent put together a guide to 2018’s Charlotte Summer Camps. If you’re still looking your search ends here!