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Seed Grant Sites work closely with Demonstration Sites to naturalize and improve their outdoor spaces. Each awarded Seed Grant Site will receive $5,000 towards the installation of a naturalized outdoor learning environment and technical assistance to aid in naturalizing their outdoor learning environments. Through a competitive process, Seed Grant Sites are selected as follows: a) 25 sites were selected in Spring 2018; b) at least 25 sites will be selected in Spring 2019.
ECHO Seed Grant Sites are open to for-profit and non-profit licensed child care centers or preschools serving children under the age of five that meet the following minimum criteria:
- A minimum Colorado Shines Level 1 rating. The license must be in good standing with the State of Colorado.
- Commit to naturalizing the outdoor learning environment, including conducting gardening on-site.
Preference is given to programs that serve vulnerable families and children, which can be demonstrated by meeting any of the following criteria:
- Demonstration of economic need for population served (e.g., percent of families eligible for need-based child care subsidies in the county, level of participation in Colorado Child Care Assistance Program [CCCAP], number of low-income families that may be experiencing housing or food insecurity)
- Serving a diverse population, including a high percentage of ethnic and racial diversity
- Serving children who are English language learners
- Serving children with disabilities or special health care needs
Required commitments for seed grant sites:
- Attend full-day Interactive Design Workshop led by ECHO partners.
- Encouraged participation in the annual ECHO Summit.
- Be available for consultation from the ECHO Design Team (e.g., measurements, pictures, etc.).
- Identify community representative(s) (e.g., coach, child care health consultant) to participate in a Technical Assistance Provider Workshop.
- Identify one individual to receive sponsored registration for the "Outdoor Learning Environments for Young Children" online certificate program.
- Participate in evaluation in partnership with ECHO Partners.
- Send representative(s) to at least one training at a local or regional Demonstration Site.
Publicly accessible sites that serve or attract families with young children are also eligible to become ECHO Seed Sites. Criteria are outlined below.