Summarizing laws that regulate preschools in the state of Florida is a difficult task. The summary of Florida Code, including Broward County Department of Children and Families Code in glance page document is practically impossible.
Below are outlines of the most important part of the code in the Florida laws which will be the student-teacher ratios, classroom capacity, square footage of classroom per child, square footage of playground per child, teacher criminal and background screening laws and educational credentials needed by all staff members within the school.
The student-teacher ratios in the Florida Administrative Code state that in a classroom of children under the age of 1 year, there must be 1 teacher per 4 children.
In a class of children ages 1 year, there must be 1 teacher per 6 children. In a classroom of two-year-old children, there must be 1 teacher per 11 children, 1 per 15 in a classroom of children ages 3, 1 teacher per 20 in a classroom of children ages 4 years and 1 teacher per 25 children ages 5 and higher in a classroom.
The classroom capacity is determined and measured by a monitor from the Department of Children and Families and it is based on the ration of 35 square feet for every child.
The monitor will come into a class and measure wall to wall, not including the bathrooms, closets and all furnishings attached to the walls. The square footage of a classroom of 400 square feet would be a maximum of 11 children because 35/450=11.42, thus only 11 children may be in that classroom size.
The outside parameters are measure based on the overall capacity of the school divided by half and multiplied by 45 square feet per child. Thus, if the capacity of a school is 60 students, the amount of green outside space required is 1,350 square feet, which is 60/2= 30×45.
Finally, and most importantly are the regulations mandated by the Department of Children and Families for all staff members in childcare/preschool facilities, which state that prior to working in a school the teacher must receive her FBI, criminal screening right from the Department of Children and Families.
The teachers must receive a medical background screening on Form 8 stating that they are healthy enough to work in a school setting and also complete HIV and Child Abuse forms, making the teachers aware of the rules that govern and protect young children. Teachers in a preschool setting have up to a year to complete a mandated course allowing them to work in a preschool, which composite of 45 credit hours along with an exam at the end of the course.
All of the rules and regulations set by the Department of Children and Families of Florida regulate, protect and guard against accidents within the early childhood setting. All of the rules must be followed and quarterly inspections are a common practice to make sure all early childhood settings are following the codes set by DCF of Florida.
Frost, J. L., Wortham, S.C., & Reifel, S. (2008). Play and Child Development (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.