Merryhill Preschool in Parker to shut down following violations

School ordered by state to close by Jan. 4 after its license renewal was denied

Posted 12/31/18

The Merryhill Preschool in Parker will be forced to close Jan. 4 after the Colorado Department of Human Services denied the school's renewal request based on a series of violations and a finding of …

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Merryhill Preschool in Parker to shut down following violations

School ordered by state to close by Jan. 4 after its license renewal was denied

Posted

The Merryhill Preschool in Parker will be forced to close Jan. 4 after the Colorado Department of Human Services denied the school's renewal request based on a series of violations and a finding of institutional physical child abuse, according to a statement from CDHS.

Merryhill Preschool, 12201 S. Parker Road, has begun the process of transferring students to sister schools in the area, according to a school spokesperson.

The CDHS denied the school's permanent child care license renewal application Dec. 14.

A letter sent from the Colorado Office of Early Childhood, part of the CDHS, to Debra Pritchard, the Parker school's president, lists several violations committed by the school during its 10-month probationary period from Jan. 4 to Oct. 29.

The violations included uncovered electrical outlets, staples within reach of young children and a case where a worker tried to scrub marker off two children's faces using a Magic Eraser sponge.

The CDHS released a statement regarding the denial of the school's renewal license:

“The Merryhill School in Parker was denied its license renewal after violating a 10-month probation due to consistent violations and a finding of child abuse. During the probation, the facility continued to be cited for consistent violations and Douglas County Child Protection made another finding of abuse against a staff member who scrubbed two children's faces with Magic Eraser, causing abrasions/chemical type burns to the two children's faces.”

The letter stated the facility had three prior findings of institutional child abuse and neglect in 2016-17, the basis of the issuance of the probationary license.

Kerry Owens, spokesperson for Merryhill Preschool, released a statement on behalf of the school:

“The safety and care of children and compliance with state regulations are our highest priorities; therefore, we were very disappointed and deeply saddened to have received notification on Dec. 20 from the Department of Human Services, Office of Early Childhood that we must close our school effective Jan. 4, 2019. We are working with families to make this transition as easy as possible and will be offering a tuition discount for those who wish to transfer to another Merryhill or Riverstone Education preschool in the Denver area. We are also working with our dedicated staff to transfer as many as possible to our other school locations. To date, we have relocated 50 percent of our students to our sister schools.

“The licensing violations reported are not a reflection of the nurturing environment we provide to children every day. For over a year, we've cooperated with state licensing officials and proactively made changes to have a permanent license reinstated, so we will be evaluating our options to appeal this decision.”

Merryhill Preschool is a private school that has been in Parker since 2008. The school is part of Nobel Learning Communities Inc., a network of more than 200 private schools across the U.S. There are four Merryhill Preschool locations in Douglas County and one in Aurora.

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