Celebrate Think Small Day with us!

itstartedwithabus-18x24Governor 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 entered the workforce, families needed quality child care for their families. 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.

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

Dianne Testifies at Select CommittteeThe 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 care related issues. Committee chair Rep Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, was joined by other house members Rep Joe Mullery, DFL-Minneapolis, Rep John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, and Rep Peggy Flanagan, DFL-St. Louis Park. Many people shared their stories and concerns from the field at the meeting.

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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, including many communities we work with every day. Think Small wants the families, children and communities we serve to know that we stand with them during this extremely difficult time.

No one, regardless of the color of their skin or where they work, should live with the violence, hardships, or challenges we see flashed across our TV screens at night and in news reports in the morning. A traumatic event, such as watching your father being killed in front of you, can change the trajectory of a child’s whole life. And events like this have long lasting effects on families and communities.

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#TourDeNice and A Journey for Early Learning

Marie Riding 7By: Marie Huey

As a passionate advocate for the importance of early learning, I’m always interested in ways to support the cause. When I heard about an opportunity combining fitness, fun, and strategy, I signed right up and began an intense journey. A journey in the name of early learning.

The Challenge: The first ever #TourDeNice. Eleven nonprofit cyclists start and finish at Gold Medal Park in downtown Minneapolis, competing to see who can visit the most Nice Ride stations between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m on July 9, 2016.

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Minneapolis Launches “Talking is Teaching” Campaign to Close Word Gap

By Maya Fanjul-Debnam

By age four, children from low-income families hear 30 million fewer words than their more well-off peers, setting them on very different trajectories for early literacy. The disparity is jarring, and in order to combat it, Minneapolis launched a language development program called ‘Talking is Teaching.’

The campaign is meant to encourage parents to talk, sing and read to their children every day. It sounds simple, but this helps strengthen language skills at a crucial time in a child’s life. Studies show that the most critical time for brain development is from birth to age three. The first three years of life are when all of the neuron connections are occurring, something that can’t happen without stimulation from a relationship-based encounter.

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Think Small to Compete in First #TourDeNice

Marie-Huey-TDNBy: Maya Fanjul-Debnam

Cyclists will hit the streets of downtown Minneapolis for a good cause on Saturday July 9. Nice Ride and The Minneapolis Foundation have teamed up with several local nonprofits to host the first ever #TourDeNice. Think Small is excited to be a part of this new and exciting event.

A dozen cyclists will compete in a Nice Ride bike race to win prize money for their respective charities. The race starts and finishes at Gold Medal Park, with the winner being whoever visits the most Nice Ride bike stations between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

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

Pres Clinton speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting about the importance of early learning. 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 an enormous opportunity to attend this meeting with past presidents, Fortune 500 CEOs, U.S. Senators, mayors, and many other key influencers. CGI America convenes organizations and leaders to collaborate together through small group discussions organized by topic. Each participant must make a Commitment to Action: a new, specific, and measurable plan that supports increased economic growth and opportunity. To date, CGI America participants have made more than 500 commitments, which have improved the lives of nearly 2.4 million people.

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Policy Hour Breaks Down End of Legislative Session

June Policy Hour 2016 3[1]The Minnesota’s Future June Policy Hour reviewed the 2016 legislative session, combing through a list of proposals that passed, did not pass, and some that still may pass if a special session is called. On hand to explain the information were Ann McCully, Executive Director of Child Care Aware of Minnesota, Valerie Dosland, lobbyist at Ewald Consulting, and Ben Horowitz, Policy Advocate at the Minnesota Budget Project.

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2016 Legislative Session Overview: Early Care and Education Key Priority in Minnesota

MN capitolGovernor Dayton signed the supplemental budget bill today, allocating $182 million in funding this year and $300 million of funding over the next two years. He is still reviewing the tax bill and determining whether to call a special session to deal with the transportation and bonding bills. While not all of Think Small’s policy priorities were successful, early learning was once again one of the main points of discussion. We hope this sets the stage for good conversations on the campaign trail this summer and fall regarding access to high-quality early learning opportunities based on the needs and choices of families.

Below is a list of efforts that did and did not pass, along with a more detailed description of the Voluntary Pre-K Program.

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