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 steps to earn a Star Rating?

  1. Attend a Parent Aware Information 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 coach.
  4. Work with your coach to gather program documentation.
  5. Submit your Quality Documentation Packet.
  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 Information Sessions 

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

Evening Sessions for Hennepin & Ramsey Counties

Tuesday, October 20 - Register Here
6:30pm – 8:00pm
Think Small East
Monday, November 9 - Register Here
6:30pm – 8:00pm
Think Small West
This session also includes dinner and a learning activity demonstration hosted by Lakeshore Learning
Morning Sessions for Hennepin & Ramsey Counties
Tuesday, October 6 - Register Here
9:00am – 10:30am
Think Small West 
Thursday, October 29 - Register Here
9:00am – 10:30am
Think Small East
Wednesday, November 18 - Register Here
9:00am – 10:30am
Think Small West
Monday, November 30 - Register Here
9:00am – 10:30am
Think Small East


3 Ways to Register for a Think Small Info Session

1. Online - Register here
3. Call Jennifer at 651.233.2297


Like to do your own online research?

Check out information for providers on www.parentawareratings.org
Find your child care business and see how parents are using Parent Aware to locate child care. 
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.