Skip to main content

Blog, News & Events

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.

Filter Blogs

A World of Opportunities: Books for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is an annual campaign that raises awareness of the inclusion and contributions of people with developmental disabilities (DD) in all aspects of community life. It highlights ...

Read More

Cisa Keller Named New CEO at Think Small

CISA KELLER NAMED NEW CEO AT THINK SMALL Respected Early Childhood Leader and Expert Chosen to Succeed Retiring CEO Barb Yates St. Paul, MN – Today, the Board of Directors ...

Read More

Small Talks A Think Small Speaker Series

  Recording Small Talks Slides White Paper About the Event Only 30% of Minnesota 8th graders were deemed proficient in reading in a recent national assessment (NCES 2022). Addressing this ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

A Message from the President of Think Small Regarding Uvalde, Texas, Shooting

“Our hearts go out to the families and all those affected by this tragic event. Everywhere that children gather or visit should be a safe place without fear of gun violence. Especially now more than ever, we need to be a voice for our children working together to protect schools and to prevent all forms of violence – including gun violence – in our schools.” - Barbara Yates, President and CEO of Think Small  

Read More
Candace Yates, Strategic Leader of Equity & Quality Supports

Equity and Inclusion Efforts at Think Small: An Update

My goal is to support the ongoing growth and development of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment for all Think Small Leaders.

Read More

Think Small: Celebrating 50 Years, Innovating for the Future

“This is the biggest challenge we face: Can we build an equitable system that prepares all children for kindergarten, or will we continue to shortchange those experiencing opportunity gaps? We ...

Read More
All Different Now Book for Juneteenth Education

Continuing the Juneteenth Dialog: Engaging Young Children and Families After the Federal Holiday

On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday in the United States. The Juneteenth holiday celebrates when the last enslaved African Americans were notified of their freedom on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas...

Read More

Wake Up Everybody.

By Dianne Haulcy, Senior Vice President of Family Engagement, Think Small WAKE UP! This morning I woke up with that Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes song that became popular ...

Read More

Tell Your Early Learning Story: Why It's Important

By Kristie Thorson, Communications Specialist Whether you’re a family child care provider who wants to share a program success or a parent who is struggling to find high-quality care, your ...

Read More

Think Small Statement Regarding Family Separations

By Barbara Yates, President and CEO of Think Small As another school year begins, we have another opportunity to reflect on children’s readiness for the learning ahead. Think Small’s strategic ...

Read More

Think Small Applauds Relaunching the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet

By Barbara Yates, President and CEO of Think Small Today marks the re-launch of the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet, and I am excited about the possibilities it presents for our youngest ...

Read More

Child Care Assistance Makes a Difference: Oliver's Story

By Kristie Thorson, Communications Specialist St. Paul mother Stephanie Henderson knows her son Oliver has benefited from high-quality early care and education.  “It was just so great for him,” said ...

Read More

Guest Post: Elders Reflect on Evaluation of Early Childhood Programs

Submitted by Jane Kretzmann, on behalf of Elders for Infants (Glenace Edwall, Dave Ellis, Sandy Heidemann, Jim Nicholie, Glen Palm, and Katie Williams). Elders for Infants is comprised of professionals ...

Read More

Guest Post: Elders Provide Historical Context on Minnesota's Early Care and Education Landscape

Submitted by Jane Kretzmann, on behalf of Elders for Infants (Glenace Edwall, Dave Ellis, Sandy Heidemann, Jim Nicholie, Glen Palm, and Katie Williams). Elders for Infants is comprised of professionals ...

Read More

Child Care Assistance Makes a Difference: Aaron's Story

Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps make child care affordable for income-eligible families.  This can often be life-changing for children and parents, as it was for the Santamaria Mendez family. Four-year-old Aaron Santamaria ...

Read More

Learning from the Data We Seek

Think Small’s mission as a nonprofit is to advance quality care and education of children in their crucial early years. We do this by preparing providers, strengthening families and catalyzing ...

Read More

Think Small's Letter to the Department of Homeland Security

We ask the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to stop family separations at the border. Dear Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen, On behalf of Think Small, I ask you ...

Read More

Picturing Brighter Futures

By Kristie Thorson At Think Small, we picture a brighter future for Minnesota’s kids.  We picture a day when ALL young children have access to high-quality early care and education ...

Read More

Small Talks - Elevating the Early Childhood Profession

Small Talks features leaders who share key insights on early childhood education and discuss innovative solutions to early learning issues in Minnesota. By Kristie Thorson “If this is going to ...

Read More

Think Small Annual Report: Picturing Brighter Futures

“Our mission is to advance quality care and education of children in their crucial early years.” The theme of our 2017 Report to the Community is ‘Picturing Brighter Futures’ for ...

Read More

Think Small Offers Free Information Sessions for Parent Aware Participation

By Susan Schaffhausen In 2017, Think Small undertook new efforts to increase the number of child care providers who devote their care to ensuring children’s health, safety, and best practices ...

Read More

Early Sprouts: Growing Great Gardeners

By Kristie Thorson, Communications Specialist There is much more ‘being planted’ in this backyard then simple seeds and seedlings.  These Minnesota children, along with their family child care provider, are ...

Read More

The Triple Bottom Line of Child Care

The Policies in Play series takes a closer look at the recently passed state legislative policies that affect early care and education. We work with partners to find out what ...

Read More

Free Early Childhood Text Messaging Program Offered to Minnesota Parents

Child Care Providers Can Meet Parent Aware Requirement by Encouraging Families to Sign Up When Woodbury parent Amy Raleigh heads to the store with her 4-year old daughter Fiona, she ...

Read More

Seven Reasons to be Optimistic About Early Learning in Minnesota

By Todd Otis The benefits of giving children access to high-quality early learning have been proven beyond a doubt. Nobody has been able to dispute that targeted investment in quality ...

Read More

Early Learning Investment - Turn Up the Volume!

By Todd Otis The early childhood movement has come a long way in the past twenty years, and has a long way to go. The public now understands the importance ...

Read More

Think Small's Publishing Division Wins Big at Midwest Book Awards

Winners of the Midwest Book Awards Gala were announced May 12, 2017, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Think Small’s publishing division, Redleaf Press, took home top honors in three categories: Education/Learning, ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

Using LENA to Help Close the Word Gap

By: Gerri Fisher 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 ...

Read More

Happy Birthday, Blog!

We’ve moved up a few diaper sizes, mastered crawling, and are transitioning to solid foods and walking. This month marks one year since the start of the Think Small blog. ...

Read More

Think Small’s 2017 Legislative Agenda

The 2017 Legislative session starts in less than one month. In preparation, Think Small created our policy priorities. The priorities all support our mission of advancing quality care and education ...

Read More

Make a Difference for Give to the Max Day

Think Small is participating in Give to the Max Day on Nov. 17. The annual event, sponsored by GiveMN, encourages Minnesotans to donate to their favorite nonprofits and charities on ...

Read More

Celebrate Think Small Day with us!

Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed today Think Small Day in Minnesota in honor of our 45th Anniversary. Now that’s something to celebrate!  It all started with a bus. As more women ...

Read More

Think Small Resource Fair: Connecting for Children

Join families, child care providers, and child care centers to discuss what you think about parent engagement. Tell us what changes you’d make, or what you want to remain the ...

Read More

Celebrate Think Small's 45th Anniversary at Open House

Think Small is celebrating its 45th Anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 13 with a community open house. The event will be hosted in our new office space in the lower level ...

Read More

Closing Opportunity Gaps to Shrink Achievement Gaps

By: Maya Fanjul-Debnam The opportunity gap is one of the biggest obstacles our education system faces today. As highlighted in a Minnpost op-ed written by Think Small President, Barbara Yates: ...

Read More
Young child reading a book.

Pathways to Quality: LENA Start Fall 2016 Update

By age three, it’s estimated children from low-income families hear 30 million fewer words than their more well-off peers. This word gap contributes to children from low-income families being less ...

Read More

Word Pedometers Brought to Minneapolis to Help Close Word Gap

By: Maya Fanjul-Debnam Minnesota is heralding in an innovative program to help close the word gap. The word gap–a 30 million word deficit between children from low income families and ...

Read More

Leaders in Early Learning Bring Concerns to MN House Committee on Child Care

The Minnesota House Select Committee on Affordable Child Care held a hearing on July 19 at the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board office to hear from the community on child ...

Read More

Never Give Up on the Children, Regardless of How Hard it Can Get

There is much to mourn over recent weeks, with terrible acts of violence in Louisiana, Texas, and our very own home Minnesota. Current events expose great rifts in our communities, ...

Read More

Think Small Bringing Cutting Edge Program for Child Care to Clinton Global Initiative America Meeting

Think Small is thrilled to share new, cutting edge approaches to reducing opportunity and achievement gaps at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America meeting in Atlanta this month. It’s ...

Read More

Early Learning Scholarship Helps Prepare Child for Kindergarten

Meet Lisa Wilson. She is a single mother to a rambunctious 4 year-old. They try hard to make ends meet every month, but sometimes it just didn’t work out. Child ...

Read More

Pheng's Story: Spreading the Impact of Parent Empowerment

This is the third in a series of videos showing the impact high-quality early learning has on children, families and child care providers across Minnesota. Check back here for a new ...

Read More

Early Learning Scholarship Changes Bobbi's Family Forever

This is the second in a series of videos showing the impact high-quality early learning has on children, families and child care providers across Minnesota. Check back here for a new ...

Read More

No Results