May 2013  |  An educational eNewsletter for Rhode Island-based licensed child care providers and non-profit organizations

In This Issue
Early Learning Facility Survey
Frequently Asked Questions
Join Our Mailing List
Like us on Facebook 
Interim Quality Grants are now available through the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge. 

Learn more here. If you are planning to apply for funding to use for materials to enhance your indoor or outdoor environment please feel free to contact Rhode Island LISC for help in brainstorming ways to make the most of the resources that are available.

What's Happening? 

Stay in touch with all that is going on in the world of early learning in Rhode Island by frequently visiting Early Learning RI. If you have not done so already please be sure to review all of the draft revisions to Rhode Island's child care licensing standards here.

Resource of the Month
nature explore logo
Nature Explore is a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation and the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. On their site you will find workshop opportunities, resources, products and a list of national funders who support the development of natural playgrounds.
Promoting Children's Environmental Health in Child Care Centers - Safe and Effective Pest Management 

The Environmental Protection Agency is sponsoring a very important webinar on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 from 1:00 - 2:30pm. You have the opportunity to learn all about managing pests in child care settings in ways that are both safe and effective! Administrators, facility managers, maintenance and health staff can all benefit from this important training. Learn more and register 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. Click the logo below to learn more about what the RICCFF can offer your program. 

Early Learning Facility Survey - Help us to Better Help You!

survey button


We know that indoor and outdoor learning environments are one of the key components of program quality. We also know that challenges in many areas of these environments are posing obstacles to Rhode Island programs seeking to improve their overall quality. Rhode Island LISC wants to help! But in order to best prioritize our training, technical assistance and funding resources we need to better understand the specific types of challenges you are facing and we need to know more about your programs, facilities and program practices. Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to complete this survey. Please also help us by taking a minute to forward the survey to other Rhode Island early learning leaders. 

Frequently Asked Questions     


The following are just a few of the questions we are asked most frequently. We hope that by providing some of the answers and accompanying resources here that many programs can benefit from the information. 


FAQ #1: I need to divide up a large room into two smaller spaces using portable dividers. Can you recommend a company or brand of divider?

First and foremost we want to emphasize that not all spaces can be easily divided. There are many things to consider including building and life safety codes, electrical and ventilation systems, access to bathrooms and natural light and much more. However, for those programs that truly can resolve group size and space division issues by simply installing portable dividers, the following is a list of dividers that are available in four foot heights.

  Reading corner

Community Playthings RoomScapes are dividers which serve multiple purposes and add activity space to the environment. Few of their options reach four feet in height, however, centers wanting to pursue this type of divider option may want to contact Community Playthings directly to learn more about available options.


Discount School Supply offers three products which meet the four foot height requirement.

Discount School Supply Option 1

Discount School Supply Option 2

Kaplan offers dividers that double as structures that house play activities. The following two options both meet the four foot height requirement. 


School Outfitters offers a divider with a built-in bookcase.

ScreenFlex provides an interesting option for Acoustical Portable Walls. 


FAQ #2: I need to make improvements to my playground. Can you help me develop a playground plan like the ones I see on the LISC website?

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to create a plan as the first step in your playground construction or renovation project. Unfortunately LISC is not able to create full schematic plans for every early learning center. These types of plans are done by professional architects and/or landscape architects. There are, however, several ways that LISC can assist you in working towards getting a playground plan. First of all we do offer "planning grants" which may be used to pay for the type of design professional that would be needed to create a full playground plan. Learn more about these grants here. Secondly, we would be happy to provide you with the names and contact information for design professionals that we know have prior experience designing outdoor environments for young children. And finally, our consultants are available to assist you in thinking through all of the key steps on your way to developing a fabulous new outdoor play space! Click here to view an example.


FAQ #3: When my ECERS review was done my playground was scored as very unsafe. I don't understand what standards were used to judge this or what parts are unsafe and why?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has a Public Playground Safety Handbook. Child Care Center Playgrounds are considered to be Public Playgrounds. The CPSC has numerous standards for playground equipment, location of equipment, surfacing, etc. You can read these standards here. If your playground was deemed "unsafe" it is very likely that you have more than two areas where components of your playground do not adhere to these standards. Other common safety issues that are arising in playgrounds include problems with fencing and adjacency of playgrounds to roadways. LISC  staff and consultants are available to help you better understand some of these safety issues and begin developing a plan to address them. Download our Resource Guide on child care center playgrounds.


Stay Tuned for more FAQs in future ENews Editions!