Playground Crashers Improve Safety, Creativity

September 21, 2018 — During its Blue Across Rhode Island statewide volunteer day, employees from Blue Cross Blue Shield Rhode Island worked with project leaders from LISC Rhode Island to transform outdoor play spaces at two child care centers in Providence and Warwick.  Volunteers worked on exterior painting and landscaping improvements, and built creative centers and innovative play elements that enhance the quality of outdoor spaces for children.

“We are excited to offer the Outdoor Play Interventions Project (OPIP) to early child care centers in Rhode Island this year,” said Erin Cox, AIA, Program Officer of LISC’s Child Care & Early Learning Facilities Fund. “Two centers will get the benefit of more than 70 Blue Cross Blue Shield RI volunteers to execute our strategy of low-cost and simple design interventions for outdoor spaces that incorporate architectural design, LISC technical assistance, fundraising, and volunteer coordination that delivers a high-impact upgrade to playgrounds.”

According to Cox, a successful intervention project takes both a skilled designer and a motivated owner to develop a clear vision for the space. LISC works with designers from Tupelo Design Studio and studioMLA  to measure sites, observe the way children move and interact in the space, develop concept drawings, and then incorporate owner feedback into final designs.

Two LISC Rhode Island partner sites were selected to participate in the 2018 Blue Across RI day: The Genesis Center in Providence, and the Y’s Owl Nursery School – Kent County YMCA in Warwick. Locations receive new landscaping, a trike track, music engagement center, age-appropriate seating areas and upgrades to safety. In addition, three other centers received in depth design analysis and plans, technical assistance and funding to implement select projects.

Founded in 2001, LISC’s Rhode Island Child Care and Early Learning Facilities Fund (RICCELFF) is a public – private partnership designed to help child care and early learning programs develop safe, high quality learning environments – indoors and outdoors. The RICCELFF is particularly interested in supporting projects that expand access to affordable, quality child care opportunities for low-income and high needs children and families.