An approved provider of a centre-based service must ensure that all children being educated and cared for at the service are adequately supervised at all times.
One aspect of supervision relates to the design of the service premises.
Whether building new premises or renovating existing premises, an approved provider must ensure the premises are designed and maintained in a way that facilitates supervision of children all times, while also maintaining the rights and dignity of the children.
In considering a centre's design, approved providers need to be aware that the requirements under the applicable education and care services regulations may be in addition to any supervision requirements for early childhood centres contained in the Building Code of Australia and relevant Australian Standards. For this reason, the Regulatory Authority encourages approved providers to seek advice from relevant professionals such as architects, developers, planners and building practitioners who are familiar with the education and care services regulations as well as the relevant building codes and standards.
There are typical design considerations for particular areas within a service premises such as toilets, nappy changing, sleeping, kitchens, and food preparation, and where indoor and outdoor activities are undertaken. Considerations for approved providers should include the following.
Children's toilet and hygiene areas
- Toilets, hand-washing and drying facilities should be located where children can safely and quickly access them from indoor and outdoor play areas.
- For children under school age, windows should be installed at heights that enable adult supervision, while maintaining the children's dignity.
Nappy change facilities
- Any nappy change facilities should be designed and located so that staff can view the entire children's activity areas while changing a nappy.
- A gate or half-door should be installed with child-proof latches to prevent children's unsupervised access to the nappy change area.
Designated sleep rooms
- Windows should be positioned so staff can observe the children while they are sleeping.
- Windows should not be painted over or covered with materials that obstruct supervision.
- Policies and procedures must be developed to support adequate supervision of children at all times, while meeting children's individual needs for activity and rest.
Food and bottle preparation areas
- A door or gate should be installed with child-proof latches to prevent children younger than 5 years of age accessing the food preparation area without supervision.
- Staff must be able to supervise children, especially those younger than 2 years of age, at all times from the food preparation area.
Indoor and outdoor play spaces
- The height and placement of furniture and play equipment must be considered to provide educators with a clear view of children at all times.
- Areas where supervision is poor must be avoided, for example corners where no supervision is possible from the main activity areas.
- Some play spaces should be created that give children a sense of privacy but still allow supervision by staff.
This list does not cover all possible design features, nor is it a list of fixed rules to follow. Instead, approved providers need to consider the unique characteristics of their service premises and the best ways of ensuring supervision of children.
If the Regulatory Authority considers that the design of a service premises does not facilitate adequate supervision, the Regulatory Authority will raise its concerns with the approved provider. With respect to any strategies proposed by the approved provider to address the design issues, the Regulatory Authority:
- must be satisfied that these strategies will meet regulatory requirements
- may require physical modifications to be made or that supervisory aids are added (for example, convex mirrors or CCTV monitors) and that these are specified on the building plans
- may place a condition/s on the service approval, specifying that any physical modifications/supervisor aids must be maintained at all times in order to meet regulatory requirements.
Where the design of premises does not facilitate supervision of children, and any proposed modifications would still not meet regulatory requirements, an approved provider may apply for a service waiver.
The Regulatory Authority considers waivers on a case-by-case basis.
When applying for a waiver, the approved provider would need to demonstrate alternative methods of enabling supervision. This may include employing extra, trained staff.
Learn more about waivers.
Learn more about an approved provider's responsibility to ensure premises are designed for the supervision of children from the following legislation:
Education and Care Services National Regulations
- Regulation 115: Premises designed to facilitate supervision
- Regulation 103: Premises, furniture and equipment to be safe, clean and in good repair
- Regulation 109: Toilet and hygiene facilities
- Regulation 112: Nappy change facilities
Education and Care Services Regulation 2013 (Qld)
- Regulation 34: Premises designed to facilitate supervision
- Regulation 27: Premises, furniture and equipment to be safe, clean and in good repair
- Regulation 36: Toilet and hygiene facilities
- Regulation 37: Nappy change facilities