To advance quality care and education of children in their crucial early years.


In 1971, no one imagined that a community’s first, simple steps to help working moms would decades later grow into a leading voice for children.

But that’s how we started.

It was a time of profound change for families in St. Paul and around the nation. With mothers of young children entering the workforce in record numbers, child care arose as a major issue. Who would take care of the kids while mom was at work? Where? How? Would it be affordable? How could the community help?

We started by creating a mobile toy lending library that visited family child care homes. While children enjoyed supervised play on the bus, providers participated in training sessions aimed at improving the quality of care.

The Toys N Things Training and Resource Center was a humble, colorful beginning of a group that would in time join with four other organizations—each dedicated to affordable, organized, and accessible early childhood care and education—to ultimately become Resources for Child Caring.

In 2012, we changed our name to Think Small, a name that’s contemporary, differentiating, and reflective of our intense focus on early childhood. We remain as dedicated to our mission now as we have always been—and to the principles that gave rise to our organization in 1971:

  • That the quality of a child’s early experiences greatly influences his or her success later in life.
  • That there is much that can be done to improve the quality of early childhood settings to optimize a child’s development.