The state recently recommended probation for Guidepost Montessori, a Longmont child care center, following two site visits that found multiple licensing violations.
A final determination of whether to place the child care center on probationary status has yet to be made, with a hearing scheduled later this month, according to the Colorado Department of Early Childhood. Probationary status would require the center to follow program-specific conditions for six months, according to the state.
Guidepost, which was first licensed in July 2020, serves children from infants to age 6 and is located at 1011 Dry Creek Drive, according to its website.
Ashley Jackson-Boroughf, Guidepost Montessori’s interim head of school, said the campus has met all the state’s licensing rules and regulations since the those visits and has audited its practices to ensure compliance.
“What was cited has all been fixed,” she said, adding the child care center’s parent company has been supportive. “We’re really working with a lot of support and positivity so we have that solid foundation.”
An annual site visit in April, which is detailed on the state’s Guide Star site, found 33 licensing violations, including items that could pose a hazard within reach of children, staff members missing required training or paperwork, and student files missing required paperwork.
Hazards listed by the evaluator included window blind cords accessible to children, a sharp apple cutter within reach of children and multiple small objects that could pose a choking hazard accessible to children under 3.
Other issues included staff members not documenting written attendance, skipped emergency drills and not enough supervising staff for the number of children on the playground.
The evaluator also saw four children riding bikes in the center’s hallways unsupervised for about 10 minutes. Staff members said they didn’t know the children were missing from the group or how they entered the school with bikes, according to the report.
Missing or expired training for staff members included “Standard Precautions” training, “Shaken Baby/Abusive Head Trauma” training, child abuse prevention training, safe sleep training, infant orientation and toddler orientation. Six staff members also were missing one of the required background checks.
As is the case with other child care centers, Jackson-Boroughf said, staff turnover has been challenging during the pandemic. But, she said, a talent committee recently hired nine more employees, who are going through all the required training. The center also is using a new background check process for those who have lived out of state.
A follow up visit in June documented eight violations. Those included a 6-month old baby sleeping on their stomach on a pillow on the floor. The state requires infants who fall asleep somewhere not approved to be moved to their approved sleep area and placed on their backs.
Since the center was licensed, it has received six complaints. Investigations determined that two of the complaints were valid, while the rest were determined to be unfounded. The two valid complaints involved the center’s napping policies.
The center also has reported four injuries since 2020. Of those, two involved violations related to the injury, according to state reports.
In one case, a child hit their head after going down a toddler slide. The investigation determined that the base of the slide was too close to a wooden barrier on the ground. In the second case, a head injury after a fall in the classroom, two staff members had an expired “Standard Precautions” training.