When children have high quality early care and education, the whole community thrives. Please support Think Small!
- Barbara Yates, President and CEO
Think Small: Leaders in Early
Since 1971 Think Small has worked to advance high quality care and education of children in their crucial early years. We strengthen families, prepare early childhood professionals, and catalyze change.
The achievement gap begins long before kindergarten and has lasting consequences.
Our state has a reputation for educational excellence, yet we have one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation. The reason? In most cases, it is because the children with the highest needs face an opportunity gap that begins in their earliest years. In Minnesota, 17% of children under the age of 5 (about 63,000) live in poverty; related to this are national studies that have found an intellectual processing gap appearing as early as 18 months of age between low-income children and higher income children.
Children who enter school unprepared are…
· 25% more likely to drop out of school
· 60% more likely to never attend college
· 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime
The social cost is significant…
· As many as 50% of Minnesota's children enter kindergarten not fully prepared to succeed
. Minnesota has the lowest high school graduation rate for American Indians, Latino and black students in the United States.
· Minnesotans spend $850 million per year in crime, prisons, reduced income and tax base, and increased K-12 education costs.
Today, nearly half of all children under the age of 5 in Minnesota are in child care, including family child care and centers. The most diverse of these child care providers, serving the most diverse children, are often not equipped and supported to reduce the opportunity gap and prepare those children for success in kindergarten and beyond. These providers face language, cultural, financial, and educational barriers that prevent them from volunteering for rating and moving up through Minnesota’s early learning quality framework: the Parent Aware quality rating and improvement system.
That is why Think Small is making a
difference. Our mission directs us to aid in increasing the number of
Minnesota’s children who are ready for kindergarten and thereby on track to 3rd
grade reading proficiency and to reduce the need for special education
intervention and/ or expulsion. We partner with child care
professionals, families, policy makers and community partners to transform the
lives of thousands of children in Minnesota, particularly families that are low
We do this in three ways:
1. Preparing Early Childhood Professionals by offering of range of professional development training, quality coaching, and high quality resource and reading materials.
2. Strengthening Families by connecting families to high quality care through child care assistance, early learning scholarships and parent education and referral.
3. Catalyzing Change by being a leader at the state and local level in advancing issues of access and high quality to the early childhood field.
Because of you ...
Last year alone, we enrolled 27,287 participants in over 1,800 training's to incorporate more kindergarten readiness best practices into their child care programs. In the first six months of this year, we provided 371 child care providers with more than 4,188 hours of one-on-one coaching with a member of our professional staff. Our referral specialists directly served approximately 2,200 families this year, with over 27% being non-English speaking.
We know what works!
Early childhood education is one of the best ways to invest in our children … For every $1 spent in early childhood education there's as much as a $16 return on that investment. Please - Make a difference for a child. Support our work with a gift to Think Small today!