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(1) A day care center must have sufficient indoor and outdoor space for the number and ages of children in care.

(2) Calculation of the required minimum 35 square feet of space per child must exclude food preparation areas of the kitchen, bathrooms, toilets, offices, staff rooms, corridors, hallways, closets, lockers, laundry areas, furnace rooms, cabinets, shelving, and other storage spaces.

(3) In facilities licensed after June 2, 2006, this requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if each designated area for children's activities contains a minimum of 35 square feet of usable floor space per child that will be in the room at any one time, as calculated in (2) .

(4) When play and sleep areas for children are in the same room, a minimum of 35 square feet of usable space per child shall be provided except for:

(a) periods when children are using their rest equipment; or

(b) when large group activities, such as educational assemblies, occur.

(5) During sleep periods, the area must be sufficient to provide spacing between the children using sleep equipment.

(6) The equipment and furniture arrangement must permit unobstructed floor area sufficient to allow vigorous play appropriate for each group of children in care, as well as arrangements of any sleeping equipment used which permit easy access to every child and unobstructed exits.

(7) Outdoor play areas at the facility must be surrounded by a fence that is at least four feet high and in good repair without any holes or spaces greater than four inches in diameter. Outdoor areas must be designed so that all parts are always visible to allow for direct supervision by child care staff.

(8) The center may obtain an exception from the department from the requirements of this rule for the following reasons:

(a) limited outdoor space is offset by a greater amount of indoor space, such as a gym, permitting an equivalent activity program;

(b) limited indoor space is offset by sheltered outdoor space where climate permits reliance on outdoor space for activities normally conducted indoors; or

(c) limited outdoor or unfenced space is offset by the availability or use of an adjacent school playground, nearby parks, or other safe outdoor play area.

History: 52-2-704, 53-4-503, MCA; IMP, 52-2-704, 52-2-723, 52-2-731, 53-4-504, 53-4-508, MCA; NEW, 1982 MAR p. 709, Eff. 4/16/82; AMD, 1985 MAR p. 2041, Eff. 12/27/85; TRANS, from Dept. of SRS, 1987 MAR p. 1492, Eff. 7/1/87; TRANS, from DFS, 1998 MAR p. 2881; AMD, 2000 MAR p. 2415, Eff. 9/8/00; AMD, 2002 MAR p. 2231, Eff. 8/16/02; AMD, 2006 MAR p. 1424, Eff. 6/2/06.

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