Equipment Grants to Increase Physical Activity for Young Children Awarded

The Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), College of Design, NC State University, partnered with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation to provide almost $100,000 in Healthy Living Equipment Grants to 19 institutions (14 local Partnership for Children / Smart Start recipients and five community colleges).

Equipment grants will be used to increase physical activity of young children by improving childcare outdoor play and learning areas — for example, adding wheeled toy pathways, stepping stones, gardening opportunities, fruit trees, gathering areas, and shade structures. Projects in community colleges will serve also as demonstration sites for training future teachers on outdoor learning.

Contact NLI for a Word version of full press release below.

Pathways for Play and Nature Grounds Executive Summaries Now Available for Download

Pathways for play thumbnail This executive summary to the Pathways for Play: Best Practice Guidelines offers an indepth summary of this 2010 publication for planning pathways.

The full book is available by request at the Pathways For Play Website.



Naturegrounds thumbnailNatureGrounds: Putting Nature into Play executive summary provides an overview of this guide to designing and retrofitting play equipment with the natural landscape.

The full publication is available at the NatureGrounds Website.

Healthy Active Communities Physical Activity Equipment Grants

The BlueCross BlueShield Foundation of North Carolina, in partnership with the Natural Learning Initiative, has opened the 2014 Physical Activity Equipment Grant cycle. 

These equipment-only grants focus on increasing physical activity in the child care setting through the development or expansion of outdoor learning environments.

Visit the BCBSNC website for grant requirements and timeline.

Application deadline: October 7, 2014 5pm.

Preventing Obesity by Design in the News

The Raleigh News and Observer reports on the NC Insitute of Medicine Preventing Obesity Task Force Summit, held March 19 in Raleigh, NC. Robin Moore represented NLI and the POD approach on the task force and A Safe Place, the POD-Wake site, is featured in this story.

Read the full story here.

Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) Research Article Published

Childcare Outdoor Renovation as a Built Environment Health Promotion Strategy: Evaluating the Preventing Obesity by Design Intervention. 

Published in the American Journal of Health Promotion (Vol. 28, No. 3) this article shows that site layout attributes are associated with higher levels of physical activity in the childcare setting, while teacher interaction is associated with a decreased level of physical activity in children. The full article is available here.

Moore Square Master Plan Receives ASLA Honor Award

Elevated Ground: A 300 Year Vision for a 220-Year-Old Square is the recipient of the a Professional Honor Award in the cateogry of Analysis and Planning from The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). This master plan for renovating Raleigh's Moore Square brought together a team of engineers, architects, and landscape architects, headed up by the Christopher Counts Studio, Brooklyn, NY. The Natural Learning Initiative served as Children's Play Consultant for the project.

Click here to see more detail about the project and award. 

POD-Wake in the News

Over the last year and a half The NLI Preventing Obesity by Design in Wake County project has helped four demonstration sites implement best practice designs for their Outdoor Learning Environments. Four additional sites will begin to implement their OLEs in the spring of 2014, while the NLI team continues to reach out to childcare centers throughout Wake County with training opportunities.
Click here for print and television media features.

Early Childhood Obesity Task Force Recommendations

NLI announces the release of the NC Institute of Medicine's recommendations for childhood obesity prevention. This report and its recommendations are the results of Task Force on Early Childhood Obesity Prevention (ECOP) convened by the NC Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) between September 2011 and May 2013. 

News from Spring and Summer 2013

Ribbon Cutting for Glencoe Village Outdoor Learning Environment

October 17, from 4:00-6:00pm
Glencoe Village
2322 River Road, Burlington, NC 27217

NLI provided design assistance for this outdoor learning environment that serves the Alamance Partnership for Children as a local and regional demonstration of best practice, and also serves as a play area for local children. 

Nature Play and Learning Places Guidelines Registry

Nature Play and Learning Places is a joint project between NLI and the National Wildlife Federation, with the support of national partners. These national guidelines provide design and management guidelines expertise for nature areas in children’s outdoor play and learning environments. 

NLI and NWF are currently soliciting and compiling a registry of Nature Play and Learning Places Case Studies to that illustrate the best practice criteria specified in the Guidelines.

Nature Play At Home: A Guide for Boosting Children's Healthy Development and Creativity

Developed by the National Wildlife Federation and NLI, this guide is an tool for creating enticing outdoor play spaces in your backyard, patio, or balcony. Use it to develop outdoor spaces that are just outside your door. View the Guide Here.

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