Active supervision of children on any given day at an education and care service premises requires constant watching and listening scans of the environment.
But did you know the real foundations for supervision at your service were laid the same day the first concrete slab was poured on site?
The physical design of the service premises plays a big part in how well a group of children following their individual play interests and exercising agency can be supervised at once.
Responsibility for the design of the premises falls to the approved provider who must ensure it meets supervision requirements under legislation.
Here are a few guidelines for designing an early childhood education and care service for the supervision of children. How well does your service stack up?
The toilets and hand basins area should be visible, while maintaining children’s dignity. For children under school age, windows should be at a height that enables adult supervision without infringing on the dignity of the child.
When changing a child’s nappy, can you still view other activity areas where children in your care are playing?
Does you service have policies and procedures that ensure adequate supervision while meeting the individual children’s needs for activity and rest?
When preparing a bottle in the kitchen area, can you still supervise babies and toddlers in your care?
Is there a barrier preventing children under five from accessing the food preparation area unsupervised?
Is your view of children, indoors and out, blocked by furniture or play equipment?
Are there any corners of the yard or rooms where supervision isn’t facilitated?
If the service premises was not originally designed to provide early childhood education and care, there may be other aids that can be used to help facilitate supervision of children.
This might include the installation of convex mirrors or CCTV cameras. If physical modifications to the premises cannot adequately remedy supervision concerns, your approved provider must apply to the Regulatory Authority for a waiver on the service approval for the service.
A waiver allows the use of approved work-around measures to meet legislative requirements, for example the employment of extra staff.
An application for a waiver should be a last resort, as the Regulatory Authority does expect approved providers demonstrate they have made every reasonable effort to design or refurbish the premises according to legislative requirements.
To learn more about designing premises for supervision, visit our webpage on premises design for supervising children.