Child Care Center Operators
Supervising Children in Child Care Centers
Produced by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services
[As the series host speaks off screen, scenes from several child care settings show adults attentively watching and responding to children.]
Licensing regulations concerning the supervision of children in child care centers are meant to achieve these important goals: that children in your care are in view of a teacher or an aide at all times to ensure their safety, that an adult can be by a child’s side at a moment’s notice [child cries], and that each child receives the attention he or she needs while in care.
The topic of supervision in child care centers is closely related to the topic of adult-to-child ratios. [Onscreen, Series Host] For this reason, you are encouraged to also view the video “Teacher-to-Child Ratios in Child Care Centers” for a more complete understanding of the relevant licensing laws and regulations. [The corresponding webpage briefly appears.]
[Onscreen, two licensing representatives speak.]
Community Care Licensing Representative 1:
In the context of licensing laws and regulations, supervision in child care centers refers to the visual supervision of children by teachers and aides at all times.
Community Care Licensing Representative 2:
Supervision helps prevent and minimize accidents and injuries in the child care setting and increases the quality of care offered to young children.
[The host speaks, and the questions she asks are displayed on a white board.]
How does Community Care Licensing define supervision in child care centers?
[A teacher supervises children outside.]
Do you want a turn?
Supervision of children must be 100% visual at all times. [Host onscreen] That means that teachers must always be able to see all children, whether they are in the classroom, outdoors, or in any area of the child care center.
Okay! Big kids, let’s go to our usual spots.
[A teacher helps children leave the classroom and line up in the hallway.]
Here are some key points to keep in mind about visual supervision. The most accurate way to ensure that no child is ever left behind during a transition is to conduct a face-to-name check before and after changing locations. That is, visually identify each child whose name you call.
Is Leila here?
Is Miranda here?
Is Cenan here?
Is Justice here?
And all children must be escorted by a teacher or aide to the restroom, whether individually or in groups.
What are some best practices for supervising children in a child care center?
[As the host speaks off screen, a montage of playground scenes shows teachers supervising children as they play.]
Careful, Max! You’re on the football field.
You should frequently scan the entire area to confirm the safety of all children present. Position yourself where children cannot get behind you or go out of sight. If enough adults are present, have an adult stay near high use areas such as the play area, jungle gym, or craft tables.
Look how big my shovel is.
Recognizing that children often need individual attention and that concerns or conflicts may arise between two or more children, there are steps you can take to maintain proper supervision of all children in care. Teachers and aides should communicate with each other to ensure all children are being supervised at all times. If your attention needs to be focused on an individual child or a portion of your group, make sure another teacher knows to supervise the rest of the children in your group.
[As the host speaks off screen, children and teachers interact in large and small groups.]
Fernando, you may go make choices.
And if possible, identify classroom activities that are best done in small groups. You might also consider adapting your staffing patterns during certain times of the day [Host onscreen] to ensure adequate supervision of all children, particularly if a variety of activities will occur at the same time.
What do I need to keep in mind about supervision during transitions?
Let’s pretend we’re butterflies! Let’s go! We’re beautiful butterflies!
[Teachers and children move their arms up and down while going outside.]
Adequate supervision needs to be maintained when children transition from one activity to another, such as from indoor to outdoor play. [Host onscreen] For example, as the children finish their outdoor play and get ready to go indoors, you must not allow a situation where some children are inside while others are still outside, unless you have sufficient supervision in each place.
Come on, my friends!
[As the host speaks off screen, teachers help children line up to go inside.]
Teaching children procedures such as lining up at the door can help maintain proper teacher or aide supervision at all times during transition periods.
[One child remains behind to play hopscotch.]
Adeline, come on.
[The child skips to join the teacher.]
Supervision is also required during bathroom breaks. If one child needs to use the bathroom while the others are playing outdoors or are involved in indoor activities, supervision of both the individual child and the larger group must be maintained at all times.
Visual supervision of all children in care requires constant monitoring by the adults responsible for their safety. In addition to at least maintaining minimum teacher-to-child ratios, find ways to implement the following: make sure adults are present and use a name-to-face recognition strategy when transitioning children from one area of the center to another, make sure a teacher or aide is always present with a child who is using the restroom, and position adults around high use areas, especially where conflicts may arise. Children in child care centers require constant supervision and attention during play and other daily activities. As a child care center licensee, you need to take steps to provide supervision that will prevent and minimize accidents and injuries.
State of California