News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Marcy Mendenhall   
Monday, 03 October 2011 12:04


Initiatives at 11 Scott County child care centers and preschools, funded with more than $200,000 in funds from Scott County Kids, have created safer and environmentally educational spaces for hundreds of young children.

The awards, which ranged from $2,996 to $40,000 each, were contracted to child cares and preschools throughout the county last fall. Work is now complete.

“These funds provide these quality centers an opportunity to make their outdoor spaces safer, while inviting and encouraging children into learning more about the environment around them,” said Marcy Mendenhall, executive director of Scott County Kids.

One of Scott County Kids’ goals is to provide environments that enable children to be physically healthy, intellectually curious, emotionally sound and socially competent. This initiative’s goal was to increase the quality of outdoor play environments at state-licensed child care centers and preschools.

Through the application process, a child care nurse consultant (also funded by Scott County Kids) offered guidance to help centers determine the best courses of action that would provide a good experience for children and improve quality, Mendenhall said.

At Our Savior Lutheran Preschool in Bettendorf, the $26,723 project involved the installation of a climber tunnel and a sand and water table, as well as an expansion of the playground space. It also paid for learning tools such as musical instruments and arts and crafts items. Volunteers helped with additional funding and elbow grease.

Lisa Piotter, the director of the preschool, said the new equipment will help ensure that Our Savior will be able to maintain its high state ranking.

With the equipment and work provided with the funding, a few of the centers are exploring Nature Explore Classroom status from the Arbor Day Foundation, including Calvary Preschool in Walcott. The initiative recognizes schools and other organizations that make a commitment to providing outdoor classrooms and comprehensive programming to help children use the natural world as an integral part of learning.

Calvary partners with its church to provide an outdoor play space in a garden area, and have a commitment to showing that the preschool “cares and appreciates the beautiful setting we have been given.”

“Besides getting necessary fresh air and sunshine, the children will also benefit from exploring nature and watching seeds grow and mature,” Calvary said in its application, specifically mentioning “opportunities to dig for worms, roll in freshly mowed grass and smell flowers that just opened.”

For licensed centers interested in learning about the potential for funding in the fiscal year beginning July 1, contact Diane Martens at Scott County Kids at (563) 326-8221 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Funding awarded by Scott County Kids

Calvary Preschool, Walcott, $4,653 for mini-bricks, a storage bench, rain gauge, interlocking blocks superset, glockenspiel and aqua blocks

Children’s Garden Preschool, Davenport, $15,044 for a custom play structure, fall zone materials, fencing

Scott County Family Y – Bettendorf, $2,996 for supplemental learning tools, including musical instruments

Skip-A-Long, Davenport, $15,752 for outside play structures

Head Start at Fillmore, Davenport, $9,235 for safety requirements, including a fence, fall zone, removal of an unsafe play structure

Our Savior Lutheran Preschool, Bettendorf, $26,723 for outside play structures, including a climber tunnel, sand and water table, and supplemental learning tools, including musical instruments, arts and crafts items

St. Alphonsus Early Childhood Education Center, Davenport, $16,595 for outside play structures, including a playhouse and bridge

Head Start – North Scott, Eldridge, $18,026 for outdoor play structures, including a playhouse and safety requirements, including fall zone turf

Scott County Family Y – Palmer, Davenport, $40,000 for supplemental learning tools, including an art easel and musical instruments, and outside play structures including an activity center and playhouse

Positive Parenting at Trinity, Davenport, $40,000 for supplemental learning tools, including musical instruments and building bricks, and outside play structures, including a balance beam

Scott County Family Y – Downtown Learning Center, Davenport, $21,929 for outside play structures, including a playhouse and bridge, and supplemental learning tools, including musical instruments and an activity center


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