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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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Women's History Month Books: Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

We’re celebrating women who advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion all month long. Check out the reads below! Children’s titles Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight: Patsy Takemoto Mink ...

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Picture Books Featuring Women Inventors, Scientists, and Athletes

Women’s History Month is coming up in March, but before we get there, check out these picture book titles that honor women during National Women Inventor’s Month (February), National Girls ...

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Collage of book covers

Black History Month Books: African Americans and the Arts

Black History Month 2024 is just around the corner, and one way to celebrate is diving into newly published titles and returning to old favorites. Check out the list of ...

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Books for Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day honors the great Civil Rights leader and has the distinction of being the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service. On this ...

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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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Ideas to Celebrate the Week of the Young Child 

By Heather Charmoli, Program Administrator for MnAEYC (Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children)  A fun way to add excitement to any week is by adding a theme that ...

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November Highlights and Free Activities and Ideas from Think Small Institute

November has arrived and with it encouragement to celebrate Native American heritage, voting, All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving, and more. Here at Think Small Institute, we ...

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Resources for Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Chokma! Chickasha saya.   Hello! I am Chickasaw. I am one of just over 5 million Native Americans living in the United States. That’s just over 1% of the entire country’s ...

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Resources to Help Celebrate Filipino American History Month

By: Jennie Walker Knoot, Librarian at the Debra S Fish Early Childhood Resource Library Add some of these wonderful titles by and about Filipinos & Filipino Americans to your celebration ...

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October TSI Featured Pic

October Think Small Institute Highlights 

Fall is in the air, and apples and pumpkins are everywhere. In October, we encourage you to intentionally support children’s mental health and wellbeing and encourage fantasy play.

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Resources to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration is turning 54 years old!  California Congressman George E. Brown first introduced this tremendous festival in June 1968.  The soul of this celebration is to ...

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Resources for Disability Pride 2022

"Just like all other types of diversity, disabilities offer us the opportunity to appreciate others for their uniqueness and celebrate the things that make us different."

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Celebrating Juneteenth 2022

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed. Although the proclamation outlawed slavery in all Confederate states and had been signed nearly three years earlier, the news was kept from Black Texans until occupying Union forces arrived in Galveston at the end of the Civil War. [Note: Black Americans were still enslaved in Union states up until the 13th amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865.] 

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Beyond the Binary: Helpful Resources for Children and Providers

Building wellness and respect for children in their gender identify from an early age can lead to a more healthy and robust child. In celebration of Pride Month, the Debra S. Fish librarian, Jennie Walker Knoot, has compiled a list of helpful resources to help facilitate dialog that can help conversation go 'Beyond the Binary.'

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Summer Spark image with words at the St Paul Public Library

Summer Spark at Saint Paul Public Library

Summer Spark is the Saint Paul Public Library's summer reading and learning program, open to kids ages 0-18. Families and individuals are welcome to join, and we also love working with groups - summer school classes, family child care programs, care centers, and camps! Our goal is to get kids reading for fun and feeling excited about stories and books.

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May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. At Think Small, we recognize and celebrate AAPI month.

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How to Build Diverse Collections

Children need representation, inclusion, & diversity in the books they are enjoying. It is a simple enough statement; one we can all agree on. But if asked to talk about why, what is our answer? How do we know if we are doing it right? Or wrong?

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Father in military uniform with American flag holding his little

April is Month of the Military Child

April is Month of the Military Child which honors the experiences of the 1.6 million American children with family members serving in the armed forces. Check out the titles and ...

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Brand New Children’s Books for Black History Month

Dive into these 10 brand-new children’s titles to celebrate the history, present, and future of the Black Diaspora and discover notable Black activists, musicians, inventors, athletes, and poets.

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eLearning announcement from Think Small Institute

New: eLearning Courses from Think Small Institute

Early childhood educators spoke and we listened. We started Think Small Institute to provide high-quality, affordable, mobile-first professional development putting the tools you need to spark new ideas in your ...

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Learning to Say Goodbye, a Skill for Life

Guest Blog by Angèle Sancho Passe In the book Mama’s Gloves, by Mike Huber, (Redleaf Press, 2014), four-year-old Esteban learns that mama “always comes back with two kisses and hug.” This routine ...

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Celebrating Pride Past June

Three Ways Early Educators Can Support Rainbow and Same-Sex Families Beyond Pride Month

Pride occurs year-round; here are three ways early educators can support community members beyond the calendar month.

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Putting Technology in the Hands of Child Care Providers and Children

Access to technology is important to those working in the early childhood field. Laptops and tablets help small business owners, like child care providers, improve their skills, grow their business, ...

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Celebrating the Debra S. Fish Early Childhood Library!

 Did you know Minnesota’s best resources for early childhood professionals are available FREE to you?  April 9 – 15 is National Library Week!  What a great opportunity to explore a ...

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Baby Steps To STEM

This month marks one year since the start of the Think Small blog. To celebrate, we’re using January to highlight information and initiatives from Think Small and our partners about ...

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Revised Standards Provide Guidance for Early Childhood Field

This month marks one year since the start of the Think Small blog. To celebrate, we’re using January to highlight information and initiatives from Think Small and our partners about ...

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Brain Development in Infants and Toddlers

90% of brain development occurs by age 5. 80% of the brain is developed by age 3. These eye-catching statements sound impressive but can be confusing and misleading. Learning certainly ...

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Come on In, the Water is Fine! Welcoming New Child Care Staff with a Purpose

Think Small is hosting an event to help child care directors welcome their newest staff members.During this two-hour, interactive session, participants will explore new employee orientation processes and systems that ...

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Register for a free child care providers training on healthy food choices

Think Small, Adults’ & Children’s Alliance, and the Cargill Foundation have partnered to provide free training for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) participants.

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Register for Think Small's 23rd Annual Family Child Care Business Seminar

Think Small’s 23rd Annual Family Child Care Business Seminar is coming up! It will be held November 5th at the Ramada Plaza Minneapolis. Use this opportunity to review 2016 tax ...

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Three Tips for Eating Healthy with Kids

Preschool age children develop eating habits they will practice for the rest of their lives, so they are at an ideal age to experience and learn about healthy eating. At ...

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MNStreams.org Changing to Develop in Summer 2016

Beginning July 1, 2016, MNStreams.org – Child Care Aware of Minnesota’s current online catalog for face-to-face trainings – will no longer be accessible. In its place, early learning and school-age ...

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Respond Now! Your input needed for Child Care Business Update

Every year, Think Small collects valuable information about all licensed child care programs in the metro area on behalf of the Department of Human Services. This provides the most up ...

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Register for Free Healthy Eating Training for Child Care Providers

Healthy eating habits are important, especially for young children in the U.S. Unfortunately; childhood obesity has skyrocketed in recent years, setting many children on an unhealthy path. That’s just one ...

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