Early Childhood Professionals

A brighter future.

Mary opened her family child care business five years ago in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis. At the time, she was not familiar with Parent Aware, Minnesota’s new quality rating and improvement system, but she was eager to learn how to have more impact in the lives of children and their families.

It had been many years since Mary had received any formal education herself.


For Early Childhood Professionals

Think of the possibilities.

Your job is important. Every interaction you have with children helps shape the person they'll grow up to be. Will they be ready for school?  Will they be equipped with the tools for success in life?  You have the opportunity for tremendous impact. And that's why we're here to help.

Think Small supports excellence in early learning for all types of professionals--providers, parent educators, and teachers. By offering classes, coaching, and financial support, we can help you become the best professional you can be. So you can help kids become the best people they can be.

When you're thinking of the possibilities, Think Small.


What is Parent Aware?

Parent Aware is the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for Minnesota.

Nearly every state in the country now has a QRIS. Learn more from the National QRIS Learning Network here.

What are the Program Benefits?

  • Have your quality recognized
  • FREE coaching and assistance
  • Increased access to Scholarships
  • Ongoing marketing support
  • Higher Child Care Assistance rates
  • Join the community of Rated programs
What are the steps to earn a Star Rating?
  1. Attend an Orientation Session and apply for participation in a January or July cohort.
  2. Join Develop and earn your step on the Career Lattice.
  3. Review your program strengths and set a Star Level goal with your Quality coach.
  4. Work with your Coach to gather program documentation.
  5. Submit your Quality Documentation Portfolio.
  6. Receive your Star Rating!
Contact Jennifer Barshack, Parent Aware Recruiter for the Metro District with questions at jbarshack@thinksmall.org or at 651.233.2297. 

Free Parent Aware Orientation Sessions 

See Scheduled Sessions and RSVP Information for Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott, Washington and other counties here

Hennepin and Ramsey County Information and Orientation Sessions
Monday, November 30th - Register Here
9:00am – 10:30am 
Think Small East - St. Paul
Thursday, December 3rd - Register here
6:30pm - 8:00pm 
Think Small East - St. Paul
Wednesday, December 9th - Register Here
6:30pm - 8:00pm 
Think Small West - Minneapolis

Register Today!

  1. Online above
  2. Email Jennifer
  3. Call Jennifer at 651.233.2297

Like to do your own online research?

Help Grow the Parent Aware Community
Exclusive opportunity for Metro Area participating Parent Aware Family Child Care Programs! Receive a $25 Target gift card when you refer a family child care provider who enrolls to become a star-rated Parent Aware program. Talk to your Quality Coach for details.
Learn More about Parent Aware, watch a video where Providers Speak about their experiences with Parent Aware.