There are ok child care centers that are decent, have adequate staff, have the minimum standards met inside and out, and then there are great child care centers that make you say “wow.” Living here in Nevada, I have been exposed to both, as well as to those which would send me running in the opposite direction as a parent. As an early childhood educator, now retired, it made me wonder exactly which qualifications child care centers have to meet in order to be licensed here in Nevada.
This is the first of a series of articles, and deals with the building and the grounds outside the center itself. I’ll provide translations wherever necessary after the numbered sections.
NAC 432A.250 Building and grounds. (NRS 432A.077)
1. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, subsection 2 and NRS 432A.078, in each facility there must be:
(a) At least 35 square feet of indoor space for each child exclusive of bathrooms, halls, kitchen, stairs and storage
(b) At least 37 1/2 square feet of outdoor play space for each child, as determined by the maximum number of
children stated on the license for the facility. An accommodation facility need not provide outdoor play space.
Translation: children should not be crowded and there should be enough space inside and out to accommodate their needs. There is an exception to the rule. Definition of: “accommodation facility” (NRS 432A.077) “Accommodation facility” means a facility which is operated:
1. By a business that is licensed to conduct a business other than the provision of care to children; and
2. As an auxiliary service provided for the customers of the primary business.
2. A facility that provides care for ill children must have:
(a) At least 50 square feet of indoor space for each child, as determined by the maximum number of children stated
on the license for the facility, exclusive of bathrooms, halls, kitchen, stairs and storage spaces.
(b) A separate ventilation system if the facility is attached to another building.
Translation: Pretty obvious. More room per child and a separate ventilation system or area for sick kids.
3. The play area of each facility must:
(a) Be fenced or enclosed in a manner that prevents the unsupervised departure of children from the area;
(b) Have an adequate drainage system;
(c) Be free of hazards, debris and trash;
(d) If it is an outdoor play area, have trees or a structure which can provide adequate shade for the children using the
(e) Have resilient surfaces underneath any elevated play equipment;
(f) Have adequate safety barriers around any elevated platforms;
(g) Not have any dangerous or poisonous plants or other vegetative matter located within the boundaries of the play
area or in an area that is accessible to children from the play area;
(h) Not be in a location where any bodies of water are accessible to children; and
(i) If it has playground equipment, have only equipment that is:
(1) In good repair;
(2) Designed and constructed to minimize injury;
(3) Compatible with the age of the children in the care of the facility;
(4) Spaced to reduce accidents;
Translation: Children need safe places to play, with no standing water, and there must be adequate shade (VERY necessary here in Nevada!), safety barriers and resilient surfaces under play structures. The play area has to be fenced in for the safety of the children, and can’t have any plants within the play yard. Equipment has to be compatible with children’s ages and be in good repair. There has to be enough room for kids to play safely. Note: Great child care facilities have separate play areas for different ages of children, with play equipment suitable for each age group in each different “yard.”
Next time: Emergencies, drills, reports and inspections.