News from the Rhode Island Child Care and Early Learning Facilities Fund

September eNEWS
Center Spotlight! Here Comes the Sun

Great projects start with great ideas! The first step in any project should be thoughtful design. The design process not only allows you to put an idea to paper, but it can also bring to light and help avoid potential problems. Take Beautiful Beginnings in Providence for example. This center received a Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Facility Grant to make improvements to their outdoor space. One item of concern they wanted to address was providing adequate shade for their infants and toddlers. Their architect put together a series of sun diagrams that illustrated the effects of shadows at certain points of the day. An interesting outcome of doing this study was that a proposed awning attached to the building would not provide the necessary shade at the time of day when children would be outside. Had it not been for these diagrams a costly and ineffective strategy would have been implemented. The end result will be the addition of mature trees that can immediately provide the much needed shade, and also add interest and natural components to the entry and play space. Another great example of how investment in early design can add to the quality and effectiveness of the environment! 

Design Considerations for Quality Child Care Facilities and the Top 10 Mistakes Made in the Interior Design of Child Care Centers   

Safe, well-designed, and high quality facilities matter. The physical environment is a key component of a quality program. If you are thinking of relocating your center or expanding or redesigning your current space, there are many important design principles to keep in mind.

In the article "Top 10 Mistakes Made in the Interior Design of Child Care CentersWhite Hutchinson identifies the following common mistakes made in child care design:

  1. Not involving teachers, parents and children in the design process.
  2. Not exceeding licensing standards for square footage requirements that are minimal to inadequate in every state.
  3. Not having an architect or designer with comprehensive knowledge of children and design.
  4. Not allowing enough time for the design process.
  5. Following the adult ADA standards rather than using the children's ADA standards in children's areas.
  6. Not paying attention to acoustics in the interior space.
  7. Putting too much money in the exterior design so that you have to save on interior finishes.
  8. Finishing the interior space plan before paying attention to its relationship with the outdoor play space.
  9. Choosing designs and materials that are more institutional than residential in feel.
  10. Creating the interior space without consideration for the furniture and equipment that goes in each room.

Read more about the topic of design in Designing Quality Child Care Facilities also from White Hutchinson.

RICCELFF staff and consultants are available to help. We cannot take the place of your architect or other members of your real estate development team, but we can guide you through each step of the process and help you identify and secure the professionals needed to support the implementation of a successful project.

Also be sure to access the design resources available on our website, including our Design Guide.

Can Gardening Have an Impact on Absenteeism? Hear One Teacher’s Story. 

Data from a recent US Department of Education survey shows that Rhode Island has the highest rate of absenteeism in New England. Check out this great story about how one teacher turned a class with a 40% attendance rate to a 93% attendance rate with an inspiring garden implementation. Not only did attendance improve, but students who suffered from food insecurity were able to grow healthy foods and bring it home to their families. 

For anyone interested in growing a garden at their center, the University of Rhode Island Extension Outreach Center is hosting their 4th URI Extension School Garden Conference. Check it out! 

Financing Early Care and Education
in Rhode Island

We were happy to join our friends at Rhode Island Kids Count along with leaders across our state for important conversations about financing early care and education in Rhode Island. We encourage you to read the issue brief which includes a section on the importance of financing for early learning facilities.

Coming Soon – RICCELFF Online Learning Tools 

Later this fall we will be launching a new learning tool on our website that will allow for child care center owners, directors, teachers, maintenance staff and support staff to access educational seminars and quizzes, and receive certificates and transcripts remotely from any device. Stay tuned!

Have you missed any of our previous eNEWS or want to reference something you saw in an article from the past?

Our entire eNEWS catalog is available on our website.
Be sure to check it out here!


The Rhode Island Child Care and Early Learning Facilities Fund (RICCELFF) is an innovative public-private partnership dedicated to expanding access to quality child care and early education opportunities throughout Rhode Island. The RICCELFF provides the capital and technical expertise that child care and early learning centers need to improve the quality and capacity of their physical space. The RICCELFF provides a combination of training, technical assistance, grant funding and flexible, affordable financing for a wide range of indoor and outdoor projects including minor renovations or construction of new, state-of-the art facilities and playground spaces. Click here to learn more about what the RICCELFF can offer your program.

LISC Rhode Island Child Care & Early Learning Facilities Fund  |  146 Clifford Street
Providence, RI 02903 |