Keep Children Safe Using Active Supervision

Children learn best when they are in safe, well-supervised environments. Head Start staff can reduce the possibility of a child getting hurt when they closely observe children and respond when needed. When programs think systematically about child supervision they create safe, positive learning environments for all children.

Active Supervision

All Head Start educators are responsible for making sure that no child is left unsupervised. Active supervision is a strategy that works. It can be used in classrooms, family child care, playgrounds, and buses. It can also be shared with families as a tool to use at home. This fact sheet explains what active supervision is and how to use it in your program.

Supervision near Water

Constant and active supervision should be maintained when any child is in or around water. During swimming and/or bathing where an infant or toddler is present, the ratio should always be one adult to one infant/toddler. During wading and/or water play activities, the supervising adult should be within an arm’s length providing “touch supervision.” Programs should ensure that all pools have drain covers that are used in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.

Methods of Supervision of Children

In center-based programs, caregivers/teachers should directly supervise children under age 6 by sight and sound at all times. In family child care settings, caregivers should directly supervise children by sight or sound. When children are sleeping, caregivers may supervise by sound with frequent visual checks.

Active Supervision FAQs

Review the questions and answers below to find information related to active supervision in early care and education settings.

A Week on Active Supervision: Keeping Children Safe

The goal of the Week on Active Supervision: Keeping Children Safe is to provide practical support to programs in complying with the Head Start Program Performance Standards related to child supervision. Daily webinars this week will highlight these resources and show how the materials can be used across the birth to 5 continuum.