Christine Tullgren has opened a different kind of child care facility in rural Vermont. Christine’s center has received a unique certification for providing a physically healthy environment.
“We have received an eco-healthy certification,” she says. “The model is offered by the Oregon Environmental Council and has trickled into California, British Columbia and has now made it through most of the United States.” Vermont is the first state to have a “green” child care center.
An eco-healthy certification means that, at Little Feet, Christine stays away from as many “plastics” as possible (the few that exist are phthalate-free – a chemical that can be harmful to children), uses high-end wood furniture and play things, as well as non-toxic cleaners and makes a large effort not to purchase items made in China.
The parental reaction in the rural community has been nothing but positive. Vermont’s WCAX-TV Channel 3 did a news story on Little Feet back in January and interviewed one of the parents who is also a local pediatrician. “It’s hip to be green but it takes a lot of energy to really follow through with it,” says parent Rebecca Yukica. “And I feel Christine has really followed through with it.”
It did take a lot of work, research and effort – even to find the capital Christine needed to embark on the project. “I was nervous, in the present economy, to get a loan,” she says. “But it was nice to have the Loan Fund there – I didn’t realize how necessary they are here in Vermont, especially to the child care business.”
The center is licensed for 20 children and Christine currently has 10 enrolled while also providing three full time and one part time employment positions.