One of the most common practice issues the College sees is inadequate supervision of children. While RECEs intentionally create and maintain safe environments that support children’s play and learning, there are many factors that make supervision challenging. For instance, transitioning children from one area or activity to another, lack of communication among staff or lack of situational awareness (i.e., hazards such as unlocked doors or broken gates) can all contribute to failures in supervision.
An early learning environment is dynamic, multi-faceted and constantly changing. That is why it is worth revisiting some of the professional supervision strategies:
Clear, collaborative communication with colleagues: Information and circumstances relating to children, families, colleagues or the learning environment will change over time, and sometimes throughout the course of the day. RECEs should ask their colleagues sufficient questions or take the initiative to obtain information when they are uncertain about any situation related to the supervision of children. It is essential to maintain open communication with colleagues at all times.
Safe and supportive transitions: RECEs consider how the environments affect children through daily care routines and transitions (Standard III: C.8), and they know that planned, organized transitions make it easier to supervise and support children. Recommended strategies include:
- conducting regular environment scans, attendance checks and head counts;
- paying particular attention to new or unfamiliar environments and routines;
- inspecting environments for hazards such as small hideaways, damaged gates or locked and unlocked doors; and
- confirming attendance before, during and after transitions.
Having a clear understanding of job responsibilities: When RECEs have a clear understanding of their job responsibilities and those of their colleagues, they make well-informed decisions about professional supervision. For example, new or supply RECEs have an ethical responsibility to seek out information and ask questions if they are unclear about their responsibilities. RECEs with more experience also have a responsibility to support colleagues who may be new to the practice setting.
RECEs can use this resource for guidance, self-reflection and discussion with colleagues about practices that support professional supervision of children.
Additional resources to support your practice:
- Practice Note: Professional Judgement
- Standard III: Safety, Health and Well-Being
- Practice Guideline on Communication and Collaboration: Section 3