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Plan & Monitor Supervision

In this section, you will look at:
activities that require more vigilant supervision

development of supervision plans

reviewing, updating, and implementing the Services Policies and Procedures on supervision requirements for travel and excursions outside the childrens service

development of policies and procedures for travel and excursions.

Why Supervise?
The children in our care become our responsibility when their parent/guardian signs them into our care. As workers paid to deliver a quality programme, we have a duty of care to ensure that all foreseeable risks are minimised. Duty of care is a role acknowledged in law.
Our knowledge of child development tells us that children learn by doing. They are inquisitive, love to explore and enjoy trying new experiences. Young children cannot evaluate danger, as adults do. For example, they cannot judge car speeds accurately and they are unable to determine when it is safe to cross a road. Even older children are easily distracted when with their peers.

As an adult caring for children, you accept the role of ensuring their safety. You are legally responsible for their well-being.

When Should We Supervised?

As you have already discovered, you must supervise AT ALL TIMES.

This supervision means constantly assessing the group and the whereabouts of each member of the group. You will need an understanding of the groups dynamics to know when certain mixes of children may provoke a dangerous situation. At this time, active intervention will be required, and children can be redirected into alternative activities that have less risk.

Children must always be closely supervised when on a change table (never leave them alone), in bathrooms, when eating and drinking and when engaging in climbing and active physical activities, such as running and climbing. To assist with supervision, you need to consider the setting up of the environment and the set up of particular experiences which require additional supervision (such as water play or cutting) to ensure the whole area to be supervised by the number of staff that are present with the group. This applies indoors, outdoors and outside of the centre on excursions.

Other safety considerations, while supervising, are: having effective communication between yourself and other staff so that you let other staff know if you have to leave an area (eg. you go into the bathroom to assist a child). This informs them of the necessity to supervise the whole area. working out a supervision plan for the playground that denotes staff position, so that the whole area is supervised having a higher staffing level for the more active areas of the playground (the higher risk areas would be climbing equipment, swings, bikes, slopes, water areas) releasing children only to the person authorised to collect them

arranging your daily routine to allow for transition times and individual childrens time needs for toileting, eating and completing activities the age spread of the children in your care are there toddlers with 6 year olds who may knock the younger children over?

Setting Limits & Guidelines

You must look at your environment and work out the risk factors and how to control them. These control measures may include the guidelines and limits that you set for young children, such as climbing only when a staff member is available to closely supervise this activity.
Older children can assist with setting limits and rules for their play. When children are involved they take ownership of the guidelines, and often use peer tutoring to reinforce these guidelines with each other. Activities that have a higher risk factor need additional supervision and guidance. Every activity of the day should be assessed, a safety plan written and guidelines communicated to all staff and children.

Taking a group of children on an excursion can greatly expand their understanding of the world around them. Excursions enable children to learn more about their local community and gain knowledge about the broader world. There are, however, many risks attached to excursions and you need to be aware of these risks, when planning to take children away from the service.

Implementing Improvements
It is the responsibility of the Service Manager/Licensee to ensure that all staff, visitors and families are aware of the Policies and Procedures for your service. Improvements must be planned with licensee, staff and parent input. Where the service has difficult areas to supervise (for example, a playground that is L-shaped, with one area around a corner), the service should have a plan to improve the situation. This may be a fence and gate at the end of the building, with the fenced area only used when you have sufficient staff numbers. The service may have short-term and long-term plans to rectify difficult environmental issues. The plan should clearly state the improved outcome to be achieved, the timeframe and who will be responsible for completing the plan. You have looked at how your service shares information and, perhaps, listed some ways to improve the communication methods at your service. Policies must be monitored and evaluated. This forms the basis for improvements to policies, procedures and how staff implement them.

You are obligated to supervise children at all times while they are in your care. This is defined as duty of care, which is a state recognised in law. Children must be within sight or hearing of staff. Part of our responsibility in supervising is to get to know and understand the children in our care and become familiar with their capabilities, and ensure that the environment that we set up for them is appropriate for their stage of development. When we offer activities that have a higher risk of injury, we must supervise more closely to minimise that risk.
Within play areas, staff should work out a supervision plan, so that all areas are covered and no high risk area is forgotten.

Supervision considerations flow on to travel and excursions outside of the normal daily environment. Because the destination is often unfamiliar, extra precautions must be taken. Thorough planning is the key. This may include a pre-visit to an area to assess possible risk areas, facilities, etc.
As with all areas, the policies and procedures that cover supervision, travel and excursions must be reviewed and updated annually with feedback from staff, families and experts in the community, where possible.