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

In This Issue
Societal Values
Children, Nature & Community event with David Sobel
Proposals for participation in the Model Natural Playgrounds Initiative are due to the Rhode Island LISC by
noon-time on
March 13, 2012.


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The Big Help Greens Your School!
If you are a 501c3 after school provider or a public or private school, check out this great opportunity to get some funding for your cool, fun, innovative kid-led green projects. View the full RFP here.

Free Seeds 2012!

Vegetable, flower and herb seeds are now available for use by schools, organizations, and community gardens for the price of postage through the University of Rhode Island CELS Outreach Center! Click here for an order form. 
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.


Keep Children S.A.F.E. on playgrounds!


Each year over 200,000 children are injured on America's playgrounds. Although some measures have been initiated to address the growing problems associated with playground safety, there has been no nationally coordinated effort in this area. In recognition of this need, the National Program for Playground Safety was created to help communities across the nation examine the critical issues surrounding playground safety. There are four contributing factors to properly maintaining a safe playground atmosphere.


S.A.F.E. Factors

  1. Provide proper supervision of children on playgrounds
  2. Design age-appropriate playgrounds
  3. Provide proper fall surfacing under and around playgrounds
  4. Properly maintain playground equipment.

To learn more about safe playground spaces we encourage you to read the Consumer Product Safety Commission Public Safety Handbook.  The CPSC has also produced a checklist that can be used to assess the safety of your outdoor play space.  

Are We Losing Ground?
Six years ago the late Jim Greenman visited Rhode Island at the request of the RICCFF. Early Childhood leaders from across the state gathered and participated in a day long dialogue about the importance of providing opportunities for our youngest children to explore the world outdoors. Jim talked of children in a bubble - hoping to break free and express their inner wild child. In our desire to keep children safe and to make our outdoor spaces compliant, it is the hope of the RICCFF that we will not lose sight of the critical importance of offering children outdoor experiences that help them truly grow. Jim Greenman's important article Are We Losing Ground?  starts out with some thought-provoking points such as "With each passing year children are losing ground - literally. Often they are entrapped in a concrete web of our own good intentions. Children are increasingly fenced off from the world outside out of fear, convenience and often a combination of apathy and ignorance. Both at home and in child care, children are losing time, space, and the variety of experience outdoors that has been integral to the development of human kind. They are losing habitat." He ends with these final thoughts and challenges, "American children are inheriting the most powerful nation on the planet since Rome. If they do not grow up loving the earth, attuned to its richness and vulnerability; if they do not grow up loving life and its infinite variety; if they do not grow up strong and healthy in their own skin; what then?" Read the full text of the article Are We Losing Ground? and explore other resources on developing outdoor play spaces in the RICCFF online resource library 
Societal Values and Policies May Curtail Preschool Children's Physical Activity in Child Care Centers

Published in the Official Journal of the Academy of Pediatrics on January 4, 2012, this important study shows that preschool children in child care settings are largely sedentary and are not meeting the recommended levels of physical activity. With three fourths of preschool-age children participating in child care programs, it is vital to explore the reasons that children are not able to get the needed activity in these settings. Three main barriers to physical activity were identified in this study: (1) injury concerns (2) financial and (3) a focus on "academics". Societal priorities for children - safety and school readiness - may be hindering children's physical development. Read the full text of this interesting study here.


Join us on May 1, 2012 at Roger Williams Park Zoo as we explore Children, Nature & Community with well-known author David Sobel. 
Children, Nature & Community
at Roger Williams Park Zoo 
with David Sobel, Antioch University