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?
Photo from Sean MacEntee via flickr.