Are you a child care provider, an early childhood educator or are you looking to become one?
This is an important job. Every interaction with children helps shape the person they will grow up to be. Supporting school readiness and equipping young children with tools for lifelong success provide an opportunity to make a tremendous impact. And we’re all here to help.
Think Small supports excellence in early learning for all types of professionals–providers, parents, and educators. 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.
We offer high-quality professional development that will improve the knowledge, skills, and competencies of early childhood educators. Our training exceeds licensing requirements, contributes to Parent Aware requirements and counts toward a Child Development Associate.
Our professional development training is expertly designed to prioritize equity. Our courses stand out because they translate evidence-based theory into effective practice, using antiracist pedagogy and diversity-informed practice to equitably meet the diverse needs of the early childhood workforce.
Core Competency Areas
Divided into 11 core competency areas, you can find training opportunities in multiple formats.
- Administration, Management, & Business Practices
- Curriculum, & Teaching Practices
- Developmental Learning Experiences
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Social Justice
- Family Child Care
- Family Engagement & Relationships
- Health, Safety, and Nutrition
- Leadership, Professional Development, & Advocacy
- Quality Improvement: Observation, Assessment, & Evaluation
- Social and Emotional Competency
- Trauma Sensitive Leadership & Care
|eLearning||In-Person Instructor-Led Training (In-person ILT)||Online Instructor-Led Training (online ILT)|
Available on-demand, our eLearning courses are easily digestible and do not have to be completed in one sitting. Most eLearning courses come with IACET CEU credit included.
In-Person Instructor- Led training is held at Think Small as well as locations around the 7-county Metro Area in Minnesota. Trainings are available in English, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish.
This form of training is a (online) instructor-led event held online through our Learning Center platform. Currently only Minnesota Child Care Providers receive clock hour credit in Develop.
For help finding training that meets your needs or help answering your questions, please email us at email@example.com or call 651-641-3549.
- Search for training online at www.developtoolmn.org
- Call 651-641-3549 for technical assistance with registering online.
*Pre-registration is required. No walk-ins are allowed.
Read Think Small/Child Care Aware of Minnesota Training Policies.
Center Directors, Head Start, Family Child Care Associations, and other professional early childhood organizations can schedule Tailored training topics for their staffing needs at their own sites.
Well-trained child care providers and educators ensure young children receive the best possible care and education. Here at Think Small, Professional Development and Workforce Advisors can help you choose the best training to meet your goals and support your growth throughout your career.
An Advisor Can Help You:
- Create an Individual or Program-wide Professional Development Plan
- Prepare for an initial Child Development Associate (CDA) or CDA renewal
- Find trainings that meet state or Parent Aware Rating requirements
- Connect you with professional development resources and opportunities
- Start or advance your early childhood education career with Empower to Educate
To contact a Professional Development Advisor, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an Early Childhood Educator, you need to develop many skills and talents to do your job well. It can often feel like you are juggling many responsibilities at the same time. The support of an experienced coach can help you manage all of the important pieces, from navigating the licensing process to maintaining quality practices for years to come.
Child Care Wayfinder
Have you ever thought of starting or expanding a licensed family child care program or child care center? Think Small offers personalized support and resources to help you succeed!
Child Care Wayfinder is your one-stop navigation network for starting and growing child care programs. We provide encouragement, support, and connection to resources required for initial licensing and resources needed for sustaining or expanding currently licensed child care programs.
A Child Care Wayfinder Navigator Can
- Provide an initial assessment of participants program needs
- Provide support as participants navigate the Minnesota Department of Human Services Licensing process
- Register participants for our 5-session Learning Community series
- Assist participants in accessing the many resources available through partner organizations and services
- Connect you with a Parent Aware Quality Coach who will work with you to build a high-quality, star-rated program
Receive the recognition you deserve for demonstrating high quality practices in early care and education. Parent Aware, Minnesota’s early childhood quality rating and improvement system, gives child care providers the opportunity to showcase the work they are doing to prepare young children for kindergarten and beyond.
Here at Think Small, Quality Coaches and Professional Development Advisors provide guidance to child care program leaders, directors, and teachers every step of the way.
Additional Benefits to Earning Your Parent Aware Rating
- FREE coaching and advising
- Increased access to Early Learning Scholarships for families
- Increased Child Care Assistance reimbursement rates for three- and four- star rated programs
- Ongoing marketing support
- Joining a community of early childhood program committed to providing high quality care
Grants and Financial Support
Operating and maintaining a child care business can be hard! However, there are financial supports out there that can help your business succeed and allow you to offer the quality care you are striving for and Think Small is here to help.
Child Care Services Emergency Grants assist existing child care programs who have experienced an emergency that directly affects their ability to provide care. Emergencies include natural disasters such as floods and tornadoes, weather-related damage not covered by homeowners or business insurance such as frozen pipes or hail, increased costs related to a pandemic, and other unforeseen circumstances.
To inquire about emergency grants please contact our Emergency Grant Administrator via email here or via phone at 651-366-6797.
Parent Aware Grants are offered to Parent Aware participating programs to help them achieve and sustain quality. Programs that participate in the Full-Rating Pathway may be eligible to receive a Building Quality Grant, a Full-Rating Grant, or both types of grants. Participating programs work with their coach and Professional Development Advisor as appropriate, to identify goals and purchases that will support programs to sustain quality, or succeed in improving their quality as they work toward achieving a higher Star Rating.
To register for an upcoming Parent Aware cohort or for additional information on Parent Aware, please click here.
Child Care Services Start-Up Grants offer financial assistance to child care programs who are soon-to-be licensed or have been licensed for less than six months. Start-up grants can be used to help cover the costs associated with the purchase of new items for your business, such as toys, required trainings and health and safety items, or costs associated with making improvements required by licensing or Fire Marshall.
To inquire, please email email@example.com.
Regional Grants are intended to support, sustain, and increase quality of child care programs. Any program that is actively providing early learning services to children ranging in age from birth to school-age and is currently licensed with the Minnesota Department of Human Services or Tribal Government OR legally license-exempt, including certified centers, may apply for this grant.
To inquire about regional grants please contact our Regional Grant Administrator via email at GrantsRequest@thinksmall.org or via phone at 651-366-6797.
If licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, a program must have no current licensing violations such as a temporary immediate suspension, revocation, or a maltreatment determination where the facility was found responsible, as this will prevent the issuance of a grant and/or will cause withdrawal of a grant.
*Correction in video: There is NOT a $500 cap on technology or any other category.
Think Small is a trusted resource for child care providers, offering a wide range of support and resources. We strive to empower providers with the knowledge, tools, and funding needed to deliver high-quality care, create enriching learning environments, and ensure optimal development for every child in their care.