February 2012  |  A monthly eNewsletter for licensed child care providers and non-profit organizations

In This Issue
Natural Playgrounds Initiative
Taking Back the Playground
Three early learning centers across Rhode Island were recently awarded funding through the RICCFF "Greening Your Early Childhood Center" Initiative. Children's Friend and Service in Providence, Maripossa Preschool also in Providence, and Growing Children of Rhode Island in Wakefield will all be utilizing RICCFF funds to launch special "green" projects in their centers. Kudus to all for their great ideas!


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The Rhode Island Child Care Facilities Fund (RICCFF) is an innovative public- private partnership dedicated to expanding access to quality child care and early education in low-income communities throughout Rhode Island. Launched in 2001, the RICCFF provides the capital and technical expertise that child care centers need to improve the quality and capacity of their physical space. The Fund can provide a combination of training, technical assistance and flexible, affordable financing for a wide range of projects including minor renovations or construction of a new, state-of-the-art child care facility. Learn more about what the RICCFF can offer your program here.

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Last year over 100,000 people participated in Let's G.O! (Get Outside.) This year, we'll take another giant step toward creating healthy communities! You are the change makers and the inspiration for this, so don't be a stranger and Let's G.O.! Get Outside!!
Learn More and Register Here 


Natural Playgrounds Initiative


Throughout 2012, the RICCFF will seek to promote the importance of outdoor play for young children. High quality outdoor playspaces provide: 

  • Opportunities to combat childhood obesity
  • The expansion of the learning environment
  • The reconnection of children to the natural world

The benefits of a well-designed outdoor playspace are endless. For children participating in child care programs the time spent outdoors while at child care may constitute the majority of their outdoor time each week. Thus, child care facilities play a critical role in offering natural play environments that support children's learning, promote active play and provide exposure to an array of natural elements. Components of the RICCFF playground initiative will include:

  • Training programs
  • Distribution of resource materials
  • On-site technical assistance
  • Mini-grants for innovative playground improvements
  • Model playspace designs based on before and after conceptual plans
At this time the RICCFF is seeking three to four licensed child care centers from across Rhode Island to serve as model playspaces. As a participant in this program you will receive, at no cost to your center, conceptual design plans for a complete re-make of your playground area. To read and respond to the full RFP click here. Proposals are due no later than March 13, 2012 at 12:00 noon. 
Taking Back the Playground
Excerpt Reprinted from the Vancouver Sun


Author: Frances Hill, Mary

Publication Date: 14 Dec 2010


That play spaces should be designed for children, not adults, might seem obvious. But a five-year study tracking the habits of toddlers and preschoolers in playgrounds across Vancouver suggests an obsession with safety has forced kids into safe but sterile and uninspiring outdoor spaces that might satisfy adult anxieties and needs, but shortchange children's development.


Instead of traditional swings and slides, the kids want places where they can hide, play with dirt and be creative.


Susan Herrington, a professor in the University of B.C.'s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, who led the study, said modern, trendy-looking playspaces may be safe and the equipment is sturdy, but they leave nothing for childish imaginations. Between 2003 and 2008, she and her researchers studied 16 outdoor play centres, videotaping children aged two to five. They found that 87 per cent of the time the conventional equipment - monkey bars, swings, slides and climbing structures - remained empty. Even when the children played on or around the equipment, they used it for its intended purpose, like going down the slide, only three per cent of the time, according to the study.


"This is an interesting statistic, given that the equipment is usually the most expensive part of an outdoor play space budget," says Herrington, who conducted her research as part of CHILD, the UBC-based Consortium for Health, Intervention, Learning and Development, part of the Human Early Learning Partnership.


Continue to read the full article

Save the Date!


May 1, 2012 8:30 am Roger Williams Park Zoo

Children, Nature and Community featuring David Sobel,
author of Beyond Ecophobia.