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Insights, Ideas, and Resources for Early Learning

Welcome to the Think Small Blog, your go-to destination for valuable insights, innovative ideas, and inspiring stories in the field of early learning. Dive into a treasure trove of articles crafted by our team of experts, dedicated to empowering child care providers, educators, and families.

Discover practical tips, evidence-based strategies, and the latest research findings to support children aged 0-5 on their journey to kindergarten readiness. From fostering social-emotional development to promoting cognitive skills, our blog covers a wide range of topics, ensuring you stay informed and equipped to make a positive impact on young lives.

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Guest Post: What is the READ Act?

In Minnesota and around the country, many children are not on track to read proficiently. The latest Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) results show just 48% of 3rd graders met or ...

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Getting to 7%: A Parent’s Guide to MN’s Movement for Child Care Affordability

If you’ve learned about efforts to make quality child care available and affordable for Minnesota parents and are wondering what it would take to make the results you see on ...

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What is this 7% thing all about?

If you’ve used the Child Care Cost Calculator and you’re left wondering:  How the heck would all of this work?  This blog post is for you!    Think Small created the ...

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2024 Minnesota Early Childhood Reports

If 2023 was the year of legislative activity for child care in Minnesota, 2024 is the year of reports! As projects from the 2023 session get underway and existing projects ...

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Child Care Affordability Calculator: Additional Context

By Ericca Maas There is broad agreement that Minnesota’s current early care and education system is not working well for parents, children, or providers. Costs for parents are too high ...

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Literacy Starts at Birth

By Nikki Darling-Kuria, Strategic Leader of Content and Innovation & Director of Redleaf Press Children’s brains in the first five years of life are rapidly forming new connections and building ...

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A close up of a childs chest who's holding several crayons

Early Childhood Newsletters--Get Connected!

By Marie Huey, Public Policy and Advocacy Staff Leader A great way to stay connected with early childhood policy is by making sure you’re signed up to newsletters from organizations ...

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Ramsey County Early Childhood Academy

By Ashley Hallberg, Capacity Building Team Leader It’s no secret that Minnesota is in the midst of a child care crisis. Quality child care in Minnesota has become hard to ...

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Child Care Assistance Program: Additional Changes and Future Aspirations

By Clare Sanford, Vice President of Government and Community Relations at New Horizon and the Government Relations Chair for the Minnesota Child Care Association & Deb Fitzpatrick, Policy and Research ...

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Child Care Assistance Program: Waitlist and Eligibility

By Clare Sanford, Vice President of Government and Community Relations at New Horizon and the Government Relations Chair for the Minnesota Child Care Association & Deb Fitzpatrick, Policy and Research ...

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Child Care Assistance Program Reimbursement Rate Changes

By Clare Sanford, Vice President of Government and Community Relations at New Horizon and the Government Relations Chair for the Minnesota Child Care Association & Deb Fitzpatrick, Policy and Research ...

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What’s in the Budget AND When is it Happening: Child Care Assistance Program

By Marie Huey, Public Policy and Advocacy Coordinator In the summary of what passed this legislative session, one of the important items was changes and funding for the Child Care ...

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From the Front Lines of Child Care: Creative Kids Academy

Update: As you will see from the video and photos below, we first met with Creative Kids to do this story on a warm September day. While the situation remains ...

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Snack Pack Delivery to Child Care Providers

It’s always a pleasant surprise when healthy and money-saving treats show up on your doorstep. The ‘You Matter’ snack packs come from Health Fair 11, a non-profit dedicated to improving ...

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Keys to a Successful Meeting with an Elected Official

There’s the saying, “it’s all about who you know.”  When it comes to gaining support for your issue, meeting in person with your legislator is one of the most effective ...

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From the Front Lines of Child Care: Lori's Story

Lori Williams started offering child care from her home when her son was about a year old. He’s 30 now. “I had planned to go back to work as an ...

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From the Front Lines of Child Care: Erin's Story

Erin Echternach is back at the office now… her 14-month old son, Aiden is once again attending his much-loved family child care program. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. “It ...

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From the Front Lines of Child Care: Annie's Story

Annie Dunham is a Center Supervisor at Radiant Montessori, an early childhood program that typically provides care and education to more than 100 students in the Maple Grove area. Due ...

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Child Care Provider Sanitizer & Bleach Give Away

Nearly 300 child care providers in the metro area picked up hand sanitizer & bleach beginning in April. The hard-to-find products were made available to child care programs at no ...

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A Middle-Class Mom Looking for Help

By Viktoria Bjerke from Belle Plaine, Minnesota My name is Viktoria Bjerke. I am 24 years old, married, and I have two children, ages one and two. We are a ...

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Keeping My Kids in High-Quality Care

By Kathy Benjamin from Moorhead, Minnesota I am a single parent of three children. All three were in daycare at one point.  I was already receiving child care assistance from ...

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About Todd Otis

Todd Otis’ lifelong advocacy career in Minnesota, and his work as a change-agent in early childhood, has had a significant and long-term positive impact on early childhood public policies, systems, ...

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