90% of a child’s brain develops by age 5. Without proper and equitable early learning, achievement and economic gaps widen.
Think Small’s purpose is to close those gaps by getting every child kindergarten-ready. We are a comprehensive resource for early learning; we empower child care providers, educators, and families through connections, training, coaching, and financial support. We also educate and influence policy makers.
Mission & Vision
Think Small’s mission is to advance quality care and education of children in their crucial early years.
We envision a time when economic and achievement gaps are closed and every child is ready for kindergarten, ultimately realizing their full potential.
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.
Theory of Change
To support the full potential of every child, Think Small is committed to championing policies and practices of equity that foster a just, inclusive, and equitable care and education system for all children in their crucial early years.
If children have access to quality child care with sufficient dosage they will be ready for kindergarten. We stand on the result of being ready for kindergarten.
Think Small’s contribution is to ensure quality early care and education is available and accessible
The population goal that we’re looking to meet in strategic plan, which was set by the Board of Directors, is to ensure that all children are ready for kindergarten. And for us then that means a particular focus on those children that are in the opportunity gaps, or what some call the achievement gap. A good descriptor of that is income. You can fall into such a gap for other reasons, but a large percentage of children from low income families, will be at a much higher risk of falling into opportunity gaps. For us, that’s exactly the work that we’re trying to do, and where we focus our efforts.
Board of Directors
2015 – 2020
Think Small offers employment opportunities in an innovative and collaborative work environment.