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Colorado May Require Daycares to Offer Dolls of Different Races

Colorado May Require Daycares to Offer Dolls of Different Races

A set of new proposed regulations from the Colorado Department of Health and Human Services are proving unpopular with childcare workers, who describe the rules as “overbearing.”  Among other rules, the proposal would limit kids’ TV time, stipulate what childcare workers should wear, regulate juice intake, and require daycares to give children at least an hour of daily physical activity.  It also obligates daycares to provide dolls of at least three different races.

Childcare workers were alarmed by the extensiveness of the report.  Many said that it would be impossible to implement the rules, both because of practical concerns and financial limitations.  New rules about numbers of restrooms and playground facilities could require expensive renovations, while Deb Hartman, a program director at an early learning center, explained that it simply wasn’t feasible to increase the number of emergency drills from 14 to 20.

The rules aren’t set in stone.  But while some of them, especially the rules regulating whether employees can eat in front of children, and what employees can wear, do seem unreasonable, others could drastically improve children’s daycare experience.  The physical activity requirement seems particularly necessary in light of recent recommendations from the British government, suggesting that children exercise for at least 3 hours a day.

Of all the rules, the doll requirement seems to fall somewhere in the middle – not devastating for the daycares, but also not crucial for children.  It’s a good idea, but as Strollerderby points out, why stop at dolls of different races?  And what about daycares that don’t have dolls at all?  While it would be undeniably helpful to children to be exposed to diversity at such a young age, there are other changes that can improve children’s daycare experience, like the exercise requirement, that are perhaps more pressing.  It’s especially disturbing to realize that, as ABC News points out, doggie day cares are inspected twice a year, while daycares have inspections once every other year.

None of these rules are final, and state officials are currently moving through Colorado, getting feedback on the proposal.  So the discussion is just beginning.  What do you think?

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Photo from Sean MacEntee via flickr.

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69 comments

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7:52PM PDT on Jul 18, 2011

I work in childcare. I wear a uniform already established by my employer. We already have plenty of dolls of various races. We limit juice consumption already. I agree with more time for outside play- we already do the one hour, but I feel it should be much more! Also, we are inspected every year ( in Delaware)!

2:04PM PDT on Jul 17, 2011

Obviously those of you who make the claim that children don't notice the race or color of the dolls they are playing with, or of their playmates for that matter, haven't been paying attention. They notice, they comment, and they figure out how to ask why they don't see themselves represented. Have you never read stories by little African American girls about their white, blue-eyed dolls? Widen your horizons.

1:53PM PDT on Jul 17, 2011

At the preschool where I worked until recently, we always had dolls of different races available for the children. Children need to see themselves and all their friends in the dolls they play with. Anatomically correct dolls should be available too. When purchasing new dolls for daycare, these dolls are readily available and not expensive.
I see no reason why the state should require any dress code, what's that about? Clean and neat should be all the requirement for dress. Nor should they decide whether or not the caregivers can eat with the children. Don't we sit down to eat together at home? Being waited on by circulating caregivers gives the children a false idea of real life! Sitting down together, conversing, keeps children calm and they use their language skills.

8:42AM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

it's a bit micromanaging and controlling...but I can't see why it is a bad idea....My daughters have played with dolls of various colors even tho we are a white family. It seems good to have varied shades in a group of kids who usually come in various shades. On that note some various shapes of dolls would be nice too...I wish Barbie would put out a plus-sized cousin of Barbie like she has a Black, Asian, little sister, version.

8:40AM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

it's a bit micromanaging and controlling...but I can't see why it is a bad idea....My daughters have played with dolls of various colors even tho we are a white family. It seems good to have varied shades in a group of kids who usually come in various shades. On that note some various shapes of dolls would be nice too...I wish Barbie would put out a plus-sized cousin of Barbie like she has a Black, Asian, little sister, version.

7:44AM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

I think the idea of taking a closer more sensitive look at how are children are treated and what resources they are given to investigate the world and personal identities is great.

6:36AM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Leaning no. As an Arab, I'd crack up at the sight on an "Arab" doll XD, and might be even pleased, but doesnt it kinda show kids the differences between races? Those differences are to be celebrated, but what if we are indirectly telling kids that they should only play with kids-or dolls-that look more like them?

1:38PM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

Dolls are an really important element in the development of children and anything that broadens the experience is great. Having said this, and not attempting to detract from what I think is a very positive move, I wonder if it would be possible to provide dolls that represent other strands of society, such as those who are disabled - maybe dolls with a wheelchair of those with part of an arm or leg missing. We live in a diverse world, and one where increasing numbers of young people are coming back from conflicts overseas missing limbs etc, maybe we could use dolls to dispel some of the 'mysteries' and fears that surround such conditions.

12:04PM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

I think it's a good idea. Kids should learn about diversity as soon as possible (particularly Caucasian children since they're more likely to grow up in homogeneous communities and less likely to be raised to embrace diversity) and the importance of embracing differences, otherwise you end raising generations of xenophobic, racists that think they're better than other people by virtue of race or ethnicity.

9:23AM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

Good idea

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