Hands up if you have ever been in charge of a group of children and wished you had eyes in the back of your head?
You need to be on your toes when watching, listening to and interacting with kids of all ages, whether it is during indoor or outdoor playtime, routines or transitions, or on excursions.
Inadequate supervision is currently the most commonly breached section of the National Law (section 165) in Queensland.
Quality active supervision practices involve more than just complying with educator-child ratios.
Educators are required to engage with children while also monitoring and observing their actions at all times.
Making sure the group is safe while encouraging each child to try new and exciting learning experiences is a balancing act.
It requires careful planning, knowledge of their interests and strengths, flexible and well-considered decision-making and effective communication between staff.
This is particularly important for adequate handovers such as when staff are relieving someone going on a break.
A well-designed service environment includes staff rostering to ensure child safety and programs that include stimulating resources and activities that keep children absorbed and occupied.
Here are 6 simple suggestions to improve your active supervision:
1. Set up the environment
- Arrange the environment for visibility, accessibility and flow space around furniture. Waist-height furniture allows a view of learning spaces from several angles and is readily rearranged to suit different learning activities.
- Be aware of where children are and how they will use equipment—for example, set up easels where they can be readily cleaned.
2. Position educators
- Always face the group.
- Decide where to stand or sit before starting a new activity to reduce safety risks.
- Be aware of any corners or areas that are less visible and may be a hazard.
- Stay close to children who may need more help than others.
3. Scan and count
- Continually scan the environment to know where everyone is and what they are doing.
- Develop a system of regular head counts to mark arrivals and departures. Know where each child is at all times.
- Make sure enrolment records are easily accessible and up to date with the names of people authorised to pick up each child, and keep information on those who are not.
- Identify signs of potential danger by the sounds youngsters make, for example, splashing water, crying, choking or gasping, bad language or silence.
5. Anticipate behaviour
- Use what you know about each child’s knowledge, culture, ideas, abilities and interests to anticipate what he or she may do.
- Create challenges that children are ready for and support them in succeeding.
6. Engage and redirect
- Use what you know about each child’s knowledge, culture, ideas, abilities and interests to plan learning experiences that engage curiosity and wonder.
- Take part in planned activities to minimise the risk of harm and injury.
- Keep little ones busy and active to encourage lifetime learning.
Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority website—Active supervision information sheet (PDF, 1MB)
Early Childhood Resources Hub website—Policies in practice: supervision (PDF, 530KB)
Premises designed for supervision