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.

Using active supervision means that programs:

  • Develop a systems approach for child supervision
  • Provide staff development and resources to ensure program-wide implementation
  • Use redundant strategies to ensure no child is left unattended

Revisit the webinars from A Week on Active Supervision. This five-part series showcased National Center active supervision resources across the birth to 5 continuum. The Office of Head Start (OHS) answered questions from the field and provided strategies for keeping children safe in Head Start and Early Head Start settings. Be sure to listen to OHS Deputy Director Ann Linehan's important message about Head Start's responsibility to ensure all enrolled children are accounted for and safe.

Active Supervision

Active Supervision
Find six strategies to keep children safe in classrooms, family child care settings, and socializations.

Active Supervision At-a-Glance [PDF, 56KB]. Available in Spanish (español) [PDF, 54KB].

Active Supervision Poster [PDF, 1.4MB]
Use these two resources to find strategies that allow children to explore their environment safely. Available in Spanish (español) [PDF, 425KB].

Active Supervision Toolkit [PDF, 230KB]
Learn how to implement active supervision and quickly find relevant National Center resources.

Active Supervision Webinar
Share this webinar with staff to learn and practice the six active supervision strategies.

NEW! Active Supervision FAQs
Explore the Office of Head Start's responses to program questions on active supervision.

Leave No Child Unattended! Use Active Supervision to Keep Children Safe
Review the six active supervision strategies that can help staff keep children safe. Listen as Amanda Bryans, director of Education and Comprehensive Services at the Office of Head Start (OHS), answers questions from the field.

Strategies from the Field
Discover how Region IX grantees—Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA) and Contra Costa—implemented systems and strategies to make sure all children are safe.

Supervising Children on Head Start Buses
Watch the webinar to learn how to actively supervise children on buses. Discover the importance of attention management.

Child Supervision on Transportation: Attention Management and Active Supervision on Head Start Buses [PDF, 257KB]
Learn more about using active supervision and attention management strategies on Head Start buses.

Safe Environment for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

For Infants and Toddlers

Keeping Babies Safe
Explore strategies and materials specific to active supervision for infants and very young children.

News You Can Use: Environment as Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers
Find ways to create safe and engaging learning environments.

News You Can Use: Transitions
Discover ideas to support successful transitions in the classroom.

EHS TA Paper No.14: Supporting Outdoor Play and Exploration for Infants and Toddlers [PDF, 2MB]
Learn tips for creating outdoor play spaces, safety considerations, and strategies and policies.

For Preschoolers

Creating Safe and Engaging Learning Environments: Active Supervision for Preschoolers
Dig deeper into the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL) In-service Suites through the lens of active supervision! Jamie Sheehan, OHS, and Kristin Ainslee from NCQTL's Teacher Time answer questions from the field.

15-minute In-service Suites:

Systems to Support Child Supervision

How Management Systems Support Child Safety and Supervision Webinar
Share this webinar with managers to help them become better systems thinkers, deepen their understanding of how systems support safety, and use the Active Supervision Toolkit to support agency wide safety practices.

Keeping it Simple with Systems - Active Supervision [PDF, 306KB]
Discover ways to strengthen management systems in support of child supervision.

Management Matters
Use the Head Start Program Planning Cycle to support safety systems, ongoing monitoring, and self-assessment in order to implement active supervision.

What Head Start Leaders Need to Know
Use this tool to consider how management systems can support child safety in your program.

Additional Resources

Caring for Our Children Standard Methods of Supervision of Children

Last Reviewed: June 2016

Last Updated: June 10, 2016