Friday, March 30, 2007

Playgrounds by MS State

Feb/07 The Mississippi State University Early Childhood Institute has completed installation of new fixed equipment for playgrounds at 43 child care facilities in the Hurricane Katrina region of Mississippi, thanks to federal funds allocated by the Office for Children and Youth of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. The funds are from the federal Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) to the State of Mississippi.

The institute will provide fixed equipment or outdoor play materials to a total of 137 child care facilities in 15 counties and 29 communities. The facilities have a maximum capacity of 8796 children. (See table.)

Facilities that lost entire playgrounds to the hurricane received new fixed playground equipment as well as outdoor learning materials such as easels, sandboxes, and puppet theaters. Facilities that had partial damages will receive the outdoor learning materials. The fixed equipment meets Mississippi Department of Health licensure standards for equipment.

Connie Clay of the MSU Early Childhood Institute is director of the institute’s Rebuilding After Katrina Initiative. Johnson, Bailey, Henderson, McNeel PA of Jackson, Miss., designed the installations of fixed equipment and Kenneth R. Thompson, Jr., Builder, Inc., of Greenwood, Miss., was the general contractor for the project. Both firms were low bidders in competitive bidding.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service also is helping child care providers in the Katrina region to resume offering safe, developmentally appropriate outdoor play opportunities to young children. The Nurturing Homes Initiative of the MSU Extension Service is providing technical assistance to license-exempt child care providers who care for children in their homes. The Extension Service received a separate contract from the Office for Children and Youth of the Mississippi Department of Human Services to assist family child care providers.
This shows that Hancock County has only 4 registered child care facilities with a total capacity of 200 children.
In March, this was increased by 1 and 100 respectively with the opening of the facility by Bucks Mont Katrina Project.

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