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

In This Issue
Insects All Around!
LISC Special Report
Gardens for Great, Green Communities
Recommended Addition to Your Summer Reading List
Join Our Mailing List
Like us on Facebook 
And the Winners are...
Five centers from across Rhode Island have been selected to participate in the RICCFF 2012 Model Natural Playgrounds Initiative. These centers were selected through a highly competitive RFP process. We will officially announce and recognize the five winning organizations at the Children, Nature & Community Forum that Rhode Island LISC is hosting at the Roger Williams Park Zoo on May 1, 2012.
Keeping Lawns Safe for Kids

From our neighboring state of Connecticut where the use of chemical pesticides has been banned on school and child care center lawns come some great tips on how to maintain grass without the use of toxic chemicals! Learn more about these ideas here. The Rhode Island Toxics Information Project also offers many helpful resources and ideas in their Grounds and Gardens Guide.
Get Outside!

Here in the northeast Spring is already in full bloom. It's time to get outside and do some gardening. The latest issue of Collage features an article titled "Gardening with Children", which is filled with great ideas. You can read it here. 
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.


Insects All Around!


Lady bugs and butterflies,
Buzzing bees up in the sky.
Teeny, tiny little ants,
Crawling up and down the plants
Many insects can be found
In the sky and on the ground.


Bugs are an important part of our ecosystem and when they stay outdoors they seem to provide nearly endless interest to curious young children. But too often in child care settings those creepy, crawly critters seem to make their way inside. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that the first National Environmental Health Study of Child Care Centers found that around three-quarters of child care centers reported using one to ten different pesticides over the course of a year. Although many K-12 schools have requirements around Integrated Pest Management, this is much less commonly seen in child care settings where children under the age of five, who are the most vulnerable to the toxic side-effects of certain pesticides, spend up to 10 hours a day!


As a result of this growing concern, an important part of the EPA's Child Care Initiative is promoting environmentally sensitive pest management practices through the implementation of IPM programs in child care settings. 


On April 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm the EPA will be hosting a webinar on Integrated Pest Management in Child Care Settings. This webinar will provide information on how to reduce exposures to pests and pesticides by addressing underlying conditions that can lead to infestations rather than relying on pesticides for control of pests such as cockroaches, rodents, ants and flying insects. To reserve your seat, go to: Please act now as space is limited! 
LISC Special Report: Improving Educational Opportunities & Outcomes

Released on March 28, 2012, LISC's latest special report focuses on the importance of quality educational facilities as part of the fabric of strong, healthy communities. An excerpt from the report follows:


Low-income communities need strong schools, effective early childhood education centers and responsive youth programs if they are to help families break generational cycles of poverty and reverse persistent blight around them. Safe, stimulating learning environments are central to the quality of life for kids in the classroom. They impact everything from local crime rates to property values to residents' health to economic vibrancy in a neighborhood. They are critical.


For the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), access to quality educational opportunities is one of the five pillars of our Building Sustainable Communities initiative, which also includes investing in affordable housing and the built environment; helping families increase their incomes and assets; stimulating economic development; and improving health and wellness. All five goals are interconnected and affect the ability of children to learn, grow and thrive.


We focus on tearing down long-standing barriers to academic achievement. That includes support for: facilities development; out-of-school time programs; service learning; parent engagement efforts; and health care and wellness programs. Continue to read the full text of the report here and visit the Rhode Island LISC website to learn more about how we are expanding educational opportunities and helping to build sustainable communities in Rhode Island

Gardens for Great, Green Communities
Urban gardens are an excellent example of a neighborhood project that has the potential to impact many different aspects of community well-being. Certainly the sites provide environmental and health benefits, but with programmatic intention, an urban garden can also support economic development, youth programming, public safety and more. A recently published article from the LISC Green Development Center outlines the opportunities that urban gardening offers. Read the full text of the article here. Early childhood leaders, community partners, and parents can all play an important role in helping to expand urban gardening efforts in their neighborhoods. For more great, green ideas for early childhood be sure to order your copy of the RICCFF Greening Early Childhood Centers Guide.
Recommended Addition to Your Summer Reading List

Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood into a Place for Play written by Mike Lanza


This newly published book will prove interesting for early childhood providers, community development corporations, city & town planners, schools and parents alike. With case studies spanning from the urban South Bronx to rural Alabama and the suburbs of Palo Alto, California there are unique ideas for every type of community.


A review of Playborhood by Darell Hammond, CEO and Founder of KaBOOM!
and author of KaBOOM! How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play states... "While there is an increasing amount of literature bemoaning our country's growing play deficit and community apathy, Mike Lanza has decided to do something about it. This book is bursting with practical inspiration on how to transform your block into a vibrant, communal space for kids to play. His case studies span inner cities, suburbs, and small towns alike, demonstrating that no matter where you live, you have the tools in hand to effect real, lasting change for your neighborhood's youngest residents."