Strong Beginnings

Strong Beginnings child care centers deliver high-quality early childhood services. Through an agreement with Hennepin County and Minnesota Department of Human Services, the child care centers have in place services and support not required at other child care centers.

Strong Beginnings child care centers serve an average of 1,200 children annually.

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Participating child care centers

A Chance to Grow (Turnquist Childcare Center)

Anew Dimension Child Enrichment Center

Baby’s Space: A Place to Grow

Catholic Charities (Northside Child Development Center)

La Crèche Early Childhood Centers

Visit La Crèche Early Childhood Centers online.

People Serving People (Center of Excellence)

The Family Partnership

Visit Family Partnership online.

YMCA of Minneapolis (Children's Center at Midtown)

What makes a Strong Beginnings center?

Child care centers delivering Strong Beginnings programming agree to specific program components that are in addition to Parent Aware rating and NAEYC accreditation. The constellation of these Strong Beginnings program components were evaluated and found that children showed developmental gains, increased kindergarten readiness, and increased family engagement.

Strong Beginnings program components include:

  • Parent Aware 4-star rated for early childhood services
  • 65% of enrolled children are low-income, special needs, and/or in foster care
  • Culturally responsive child care practices, such as representative staffing, using children’s first language, and culturally relevant environment
  • Higher staff to child ratio than required by state licensing
  • The belief that parents are their child’s first teacher
    • A Family Coordinator greets, engages and assists families with participating in their child’s education and accessing services as needed
  • Twice annual assessments of physical, social and emotional well-being
    • A Child Development Specialist assists teachers in developing child-specific goals based on assessments, and directs the center’s curriculum planning
  • Child-specific transition plan to kindergarten
    • The Child Development Specialist coordinates services with the local school district and the transition to kindergarten
  • Ongoing staff training and coaching with a focus on trauma, building social-emotional skills, strategies for working with challenging behaviors, practices for culturally responsive care, and empowering parents to become full partners in their child’s education

History of Strong Beginnings

In 1990, community early childhood professionals and Hennepin County staff convened to address the needs of children in inner-city, low-income families. The group analyzed national data on quality early childhood programs and identified eighteen child care program components believed to have a positive impact on low-income children and their families.

In 1992, Hennepin County contracted with five child care centers to implement the positive-impact identified program components into a strategy called “Strong Beginnings”.

In 2000, Hennepin County completed an evaluation of the Strong Beginnings programs and found that children showed developmental gains, increased kindergarten readiness, and increased family engagement. As a result, Hennepin County expanded the program to eight more child care providers. A second evaluation in 2004 found that the Strong Beginnings providers continued to demonstrate the same successes.

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