Parent Aware is the Backbone of Early Learning in Minnesota

PA Eval ImageMinnesota is grappling with a tough question: How do we best improve the early learning landscape in our state?

It’s important to note that this question presumes an acceptance of the importance of early learning opportunities. We are fortunate to be having this conversation, and it’s an enormous opportunity to make a difference for our state, economy, and future.

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Federal Education Policy Trends Examined at Policy Hour

March 2016 Policy HourOur March 1, 2016 Policy Hour featured Dan Solomon, Field Representative to Senator Al Franken. While congress has been rather unproductive as of late, Solomon shared some bright spots and opportunities for national progress, especially related to our youngest learners. Senator Franken’s membership on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee provides him with a way to address many issues that impact children and families.

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Attend a Precinct Caucus and Submit a Resolution to Support Early Learning

On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, at 7:00 pm, Minnesota will hold precinct caucuses around the state. They are the beginning of a process that Minnesota’s major political parties use for choosing the candidates and the issues they will support in elections. You can find out where your caucus is by using the Secretary of State’s Caucus Finder.

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Minnesota’s $900 Surplus is Opportunity to Invest in Kids who Need Help the Most

Minnesota Management and Budget released Minnesota’s economic forecast this morning, and the state’s surplus has decreased slightly to $900 million for the next budget cycle.

The November economic forecast expected a $1.2 billion surplus. The slight downturn is attributed to lowered predictions for state income, sales and corporate tax revenues in 2016 and 2017 by $466 million, according to the Star Tribune.

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Quality of Early Childhood Programs Improving with Parent Aware

Children attending a Parent Aware rated program are making significant gains in the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten, according to a third party evaluation of the Minnesota programs.

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Early Learning Key Component to Closing Gaps in AAPI Community

MN-AAPI_quote2_FbTwNationally, Minnesota ranks 46th for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) high school graduation and is home to one of the largest white-AAPI proficiency gaps for fourth-grade reading. A new report released this week by MinnCAN, a local organization working to ensure every child in our state has access to a great public school, highlights the challenges faced by AAPI students and policy recommendations for helping solve this important issue.

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CCAP, Early Learning Scholarships Key to Equity Conversation at #CYIB16

equity vs equalityThe 2016 Children and Youth Issues Briefing this week featured an important and inspiring conversation about the future of early learning in Minnesota.

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Think Small Announces 2016 Legislative Agenda

MN capitolThink Small is dedicated to continue improving the early learning landscape across Minnesota, impacting the lives of children and the future of our state and starting with the children who need our help the most.  Children from low-income families face the steepest obstacles to success. Nearly 50 percent of children in Minnesota begin kindergarten not fully prepared with the necessary skills to succeed in school. We know many of these children are from low-income families and often never catch up to their more well off peers.

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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 the early preschool age, children are able to self-regulate and stop eating, even a favorite food, when they are full.  As children grow they become more aware of external cues and social messages around food and their ability to self-regulate decreases.  At this point children are more likely to want a food because a friend or family member is eating it or because of media exposure to the food.  It is much easier and effective to teach healthy eating habits than to attempt to change unhealthy ones! Here are some tools for helping children form healthy habits.

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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 care is a huge expense, and Lisa knew her daughter was not on track to be ready for kindergarten. Lisa felt trapped, knowing that her daughter needed to get on a better path to success. An Early Learning Scholarship changed everything.

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