This RFP is now closed. Site were selected in December 2016.
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is the nation’s leading community development organization and specializes in building partnerships among the corporate, philanthropic, and public sectors to support grassroots community revitalization. Created in 1980, LISC has offices in 30 cities and numerous rural locations nationwide. The Rhode Island office opened in 1991. LISC’s national child care program, the Community Investment Collaborative for Kids (CICK), was created in 1995 to improve the quality and expand the supply of child care in low-income communities through new investments in physical facilities.
Recognizing that child care providers need additional support to address facilities issues, LISC in collaboration with a coalition of public and private funding partners, formed the Rhode Island Child Care and Early Learning Facilities Fund (RICCELFF) in 2001. RICCELFF makes low-cost loans, awards grants and delivers training and technical expertise. The technical assistance includes things such as site analysis for new facilities, project planning, design and implementation advice for rehabilitation or construction designed to improve health, safety, accessibility, energy efficiency and quality conditions in child care facilities. LISC also provides technical assistance on the financing of these facility improvements and can help to structure fundraising campaigns, debt financing and equity investments to implement design plans. Since inception in 2001, the RICCELFF has invested more than $19 million in child care facilities across Rhode Island. Technical support has been offered to more than 200 organizations and hundreds of early childhood professionals have participated in RICCELFF training programs.
Adding More Value to Outdoor Play
The benefits of a well-designed outdoor play space are endless. For children participating in child care programs the time spent outdoors while at those programs may constitute the majority of their outdoor time each week. Thus, child care facilities play a critical role in offering play environments that support children’s learning, promote active play and provide exposure to an array of natural elements.
Research has shown that even small interventions that add natural elements, sensory variety, and open ended play to children’s environments can have an important impact on child development. At this time the RICCELFF is seeking three to four licensed child care centers from across Rhode Island to participate in a pilot project to help develop, design, and implement small scale outdoor play components that increase the value of outdoor play. These components are also viewed as design “interventions” and could include things such as adding unique sand and water play, art elements, loose parts play, natural elements, or simple cosmetic changes to the space. It will also focus on strategic space planning to promote increased and enhanced interaction between children, children and their teachers, and children and their physical environment. We hope to use the pilot sites as case studies and to create a resource that will give Rhode Island child care centers access to proven strategies to improve their outdoor environments in incremental, achievable steps. As a participant in this program you will receive, at no cost to your center, conceptual design and up to $5,000 to implement these small scale strategies on your play space. As part of this project you will receive:
- A site visit and brainstorming meeting with the center director and other key staff for input on needs and concerns for outdoor space
- Photographic documentation, rough field measurements, and a sketch of the play space’s existing conditions
- A conceptual sketch plan of the play space to include the proposed design “interventions”
- A private grant up to $5,000 to build out proposed “interventions”
- An 8-1/2” x 11” hand-sketched data sheet with description, detail, and sourcing information for each intervention
- On-going on-site technical assistance to complete intervention, including potential volunteer “days of service” and/or assistance in coordinating volunteer “days of service”
- Assistance in developing a fundraising plan for any financial needs that exceed $5,000
- Public recognition of your participation in the project to other funders and state leaders
|This Project is for you if:
||This Project is NOT for you if:
|You don’t mind if your kids get dirty when they play outside
||You do not want your kids getting dirty when they play outside
|You have teachers willing to take risks and try new things
||You are risk adverse
|You are willing to let visitors tour your center to observe the “interventions”
||You do not want people visiting your center
|You are interested in the quality of play your children are engaged in, regardless of whether or not it has a direct impact on things such as a BrightStars or ECERS score
||Solely interested in increasing your BrightStars rating or ECERS score
|Your outdoor play space is currently generally safe
||You have major health and safety issues you are working to address in your outdoor play space
|You have staff and/or parents who would be able and willing to help build and create things, help fundraise and would get excited about a new adventure
||You have limited ability to engage center or community volunteers
|You are excited at the idea of trying something “outside the box”
||Your goal is a very conventional play space with new equipment and lots of poured in place type surfacing
Meet the Designers:
Designs and drawings will be done by LISC’s consulting architect, studioMLA (www.studiomla.com). studioMLA is widely considered one of the leading architectural firms in the field of child care and educational design. The design team is as follows:
Mike Lindstrom, AIA, LEED AP, is the Principal of studioMLA. Mike, along with Jim Greenman, led the annual Child Care Design Institute at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design from 2000 to 2008 and has served as an advisor to the American Academy of Pediatrics on Child Care Center Design. In his more than twenty years of designing both buildings and outdoor play and learning areas for children, Mike’s extensive experience with the complex design, regulatory, and construction processes inherent in creating children’s environments has assured a cost-effective product conducive to the highest quality child development experience.
Mr. Lindstrom has practiced architecture since 1982 in Paris, New York and Boston. In addition to his teaching at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, he has served as an Instructor for the Boston Architectural Center and as an Assistant for the Parsons School of Design – Paris Program. Mr. Lindstrom received a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a B.S. in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois.
Joanne J. Hiromura, RLA, is a registered landscape architect and a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI). As Director of Landscape and Outdoor Playspace Design at studioMLA Architects, Joanne is responsible for the full range of landscape architectural services in the design of outdoor environments for children. Joanne’s experience includes more than twenty years of focus in the area of design for children’s outdoor play spaces in a wide range of settings including public parks, children’s zoos, nature areas, elementary schools, and child care campuses. Her portfolio includes children’s environments across the country, in dynamic urban settings as well as in more natural contexts. Joanne’s extensive experience with the complex design, regulatory, and construction processes inherent in creating children’s play spaces has resulted in successful projects that have been executed with sensitivity and creativity. Joanne received a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from the University of Oregon in 1980.
Sara Brunelle is a landscape designer. In addition to working at studioMLA, Sara is a Research Assistant and Play Space Designer at the Child & Family Research Institute in Vancouver, BC, Canada, focusing her studies on: “Risky Play Meets Nature Play: The influence of outdoor play spaces and risky play on child development” and “Play Worth Remembering: Gaining public insights into memories of outdoor play spaces”. Check out the press release for these studies here: http://news.ubc.ca/2016/04/11/kids-more-active-less-depressed-when-playgrounds-include-natural-elements/
Erica Quigley is a landscape designer and CPSI. She is in the Master of Landscape Architecture program at the Boston Architectural College. Erica was a teacher naturalist at Mass Audubon for 11 years, where she engaged audiences in outdoor explorations and consulted with schools on their outdoor classrooms and curriculum. She led the development of Mass Audubon’s statewide policy document on nature play.
The plans and interventions developed as part of this project will be featured in training sessions as well as publications. Centers selected will be highlighted throughout a variety of media.
Eligibility is limited to licensed Rhode Island center-based child care programs serving children from birth to school age. Applicants may be either non-profit or for-profit corporations serving at least 30% DHS subsidized children (or must be able to sufficiently provide some alternate proof of a charitable purpose).
REQUIREMENTS OF GRANTEES
Grantees receiving funds under this project will be asked to agree to the following:
- Provide copies of any existing site plans (if available)
- Make key staff available to meet with RICCELFF project consultants for input into site design
- Provide a tour of the space post-“intervention” (date TBA)
- Comply with any relevant project and financial reporting requirements
Priority will be given to proposals that address the following goals:
- The program can articulate their “outdoor play philosophy” as part of their overall programming and curriculum.
- The organization can demonstrate that it has a history of particularly innovative practices and ideas.
- The organization can cite compelling ways that they have previously adopted practices that are demonstrated to improve child health and well-being, including how they have communicated with and involved staff and parents in those practices.
- The organization has a key staff person who can be the lead on the project, and can describe how this person’s qualifications make them a unique fit for this project.
- The center can demonstrate a strong commitment to quality (for example through NAEYC Accreditation, RIDE Certification and/or by actively participating in the BrightStars quality rating system.)
- The program can show a commitment to serving high-needs children, such as children participating in CCAP and other special populations. Include a breakdown of children currently served (use the following chart as a guide):
||# of DHS subsidized children
||# of private pay children
||# of other children (Head Start/Early Head Start, IEPs.)
||Total # of children
If the total percentage of DHS subsidized children is less than 30%, please provide an explanation of why you believe your center is serving a high-needs population.
Provide a written narrative briefly addressing the competition priorities listed above. Please also provide a detailed description of your current facility and playground space and describe your goals for improvement. Be sure to include any photographs that you feel help describe your current outdoor environment.
Proposals are due on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 by 5:00pm
They should be submitted to:
Rhode Island Child Care Facilities Fund @ Local Initiatives Support Corporation
c/o Erin Cox, AIA
146 Clifford Street
Providence, RI 02903
Electronic or hard copy submissions will be accepted. Applicants will receive notification of decisions in December of 2016 with projects to begin in early 2017. Questions should be directed to Erin Cox at 401.519.5684 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or need further clarification on the initiative.