Supervision is pretty much the core of early childhood. There is no time of the day where you're not supervising. It is the most basic, but most important, practice that there is in early childhood.
We take the design of the centre and our rooms into consideration when setting up learning activities.
It's really important to mentor the educators first of all so they understand the key priorities. We have our beautiful mango tree outside, and that requires somebody to be present and actively involved. Whereas there are different activities that the children may be able to do with a little bit more autonomy, and without quite as much involvement from their educators. So, it's a bit of professional development and training around what the different levels of supervision mean and how to actively and effectively supervise based on those different levels.
The team and I work through the challenges of effective supervision. All through communication. We use a team approach. If we need to leave the space, we'll often just say, ‘hey, we're heading out’, where we're going, what we're going be doing. With our supervision stations outside, we'll often rotate as we see different children roam around the yard, just to assist those children so that we can just be available to give them support if they need.
We especially set up provocations and learning experiences according to the children's needs. What their interests are—that would engage them more—and keep them more focused.
So we'll always make educators available to be in certain spaces to give support when children need it.
I.e., in the mornings, when you know, our children tend to be a little bit more unsettled, we will plan activities that require close supervision from educators. Which in turn then helps the children to settle easier.
And I do regular ratio checks throughout the morning, as well as the educators. And if I go outside and I notice that it's a little bit, a little bit full on, if there's some challenging or complex behaviours that are present in the moment then we might decide, okay, yes, we're meeting our ratios but we do need a little bit of extra support out here right now. So I'll make myself available or I will make somebody else available to go and provide that additional support. Just because you're meeting a ratio, doesn't necessarily mean that you’re meeting the need for supervision and for effective supervision.
Say for instance, the child requires a hat out of their bag. We will place ourselves at the door, ensuring that we are still visible to all children in the outdoor environment and also having eyes on the child entering the room.
You could absolutely replace the word supervision with care. It's just the absolute crux of what care is. There's not really anything that's more important than supervision. It keeps our children safe and that's one of the very most important things in early childhood.