04.01.02 Active Supervision Policy and Procedures

Active Supervision Policy and Procedures -- Policy Number and Last Update (04.01.02/12/2023)

POLICY:

Keeping children safe is the top priority of Illinois Department of Human Services-Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (IDHS-MSHS) programs. Therefore, it is imperative that all staff commit to actively supervise all infants, toddlers, and preschoolers at all times (45 CFR §1302.47). Everyone works together to create a culture of safety, and each person understands their role and responsibilities in preventing injuries. Delegate staff commit to follow injury prevention strategies used by ECE programs that prioritize children's safety and well-being and use their management systems to integrate these actions into all their activities.

  • Active Supervision: Children are never alone or unsupervised. Staff will position themselves so that they can observe, count, and always listen and acts quickly to remedy an unsafe situation.
  • Safe and Secure Environments: Staff will help create, monitor, and maintain hazard-free spaces. Staff watches the environment and names safety concerns before harm occurs.
  • Safe Playgrounds: Outdoor play spaces will be age-appropriate, actively supervised, regularly inspected, and well-maintained, to allow children to safely engage in active play, explore the outdoors, and develop healthy physical habits.
  • Safely Transport Children: Programs implement and enforce policies and procedures for drivers, monitors, children, and families using school buses, driving to and from the program, or walking.
  • Report Child Abuse and Neglect: Staff follows developmentally appropriate MSHS child guidance procedures and All staff follow mandated reporting statutes and procedures for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect. Staff speaks out when they have a safety concern.
  • Be Aware of Changes that Impact Safety: Staff anticipate and prepare for children's reactions to transitions and changes in daily routine, within and outside of the program. Staff ensure that all children are discharged only to those persons whom parent/guardian indicate in writing as authorized.
  • Modeling Safe Behaviors: Staff establish nurturing, positive relationships by demonstrating safe behaviors and encouraging other adults and children to try them.
  • Team Work to Impact Decisions: Staff immediately report child incidents. Staff openly discuss mistakes as a source of learning and supports each other and works together to change practices so safety incidents do not reoccur.

PROCEDURE:

  1. 1.  STAFF DEVELOPMENT: All MSHS staff will receive training on the Active Supervision strategies delineated on Head Start ECLKC website, including the six strategies to keep children safe (#2-7 below) before starting work.
  2. 2.  SET UP THE ENVIRONMENT: Definition: Staff should set up the environment so they can supervise children and always have access to them. Grouping activities together and making sure furniture is at waist height or shorter allows adults to see and hear children. Small spaces should be free of clutter, and big spaces should have clear play spaces for children that staff can observe.
  1. General Classroom Safety
    1. Classroom environments should be set up so that staff can always supervise all children and always have easy access to them.
    2. Plan for and monitor that furniture placed in the middle of the classroom is waist height, or shorter, and that higher furniture is placed along the walls to ensure that adults in the room can see and hear children.
    3. Adequate and appropriate supervision with children always occurs-at least two paid staff persons for each classroom throughout the day, even when the adult ratio per child is less. 01.03.03e - Classroom Staff Procedure §1302.21(b)
    4. Exposed fans and heaters are securely fastened and screened away from children.
    5. Toys are stored in well-ventilated containers or shelves.
    6. Toys are maintained in good condition (no peeling paints, no rust, broken or missing parts).
    7. All toys are age-appropriate and accessible.
    8. All smooth surfaces, eating tables, sand/water tables, housekeeping equipment, and toys, pouring containers for sand and water, etc. are cleaned daily with a germicidal solution.
    9. Puzzles, plastic toys, large motor equipment, dolls, cars, and trucks are cleaned 3 times a week for two-year-olds and once a week for 4- and 5-year-olds with germicidal solution.
    10. There are no electrical or propellant toys used in the classroom or on the playground.
    11. Plastic packaging is disposed of immediately and carefully.
    12. No toxic substances are stored in the classroom.
    13. Paint/art supplies are non-toxic.
    14. Childproof safety devices are on all electrical outlets, cords are not left dangling, nor are extension cords used.
    15. Small round/rolling objects are kept off floors (crayon, pens, markers, etc.).
    16. Riding toys are used in large unobstructed areas.
    17. Equipment size is appropriate for all developmental level.
    18. Cooking utensils are carefully selected and maintained for children's use in educational and mealtime activities.
    19. Pinch guards are installed properly on all doors and shelving units that are next to each other and accessible to children.
    20. Center Doors will be locked at appropriate times.
    21. Children are discharged only to those persons whom parent/guardian indicate in writing as authorized and the proper sign-in, sign-out forms are being used.
  2. General Playground safety
    1. The Daily Playground Safety Checklist Procedure is being followed and completed by all monitoring levels.
    2. A well-stocked first aid kit is accessible to caregivers during outdoor play.
  3. Transportation Safety
    1. Buses are free from all hazards i.e., tripping hazards, hiding spaces, and other potential safety concerns.
    2. Bus staff ensures that children are discharged only to those persons whom parent/guardian indicate in writing as authorized and the proper sign-in, sign-out forms are being used.
  4. Bathroom Safety
    1. Step stools are provided if a child is unable to reach sink or stool safely.
    2. Floors are dry and free of debris.
    3. At least one staff person always accompanies child(ren) to bathroom if they must leave the room-if bathroom is outside classroom, there shall be three adults in the classroom while children are in the room and awake.
    4. If bathroom is in the classroom, staff will position themselves nearby to immediately aid if necessary.
  5. Resting/Naptime Safety
    1. Using natural, or artificial lighting, levels in classrooms must always allow for clear line of sight of all children.
    2. All classrooms are required to always have at least two staff members, no matter the number of children present, ensuring the implementation of active supervision strategies.
    3. All children must have a designated cot, mat, or crib for resting.
    4. Teachers must provide developmentally appropriate activities during quiet periods. Activities may occur on cots/mats, at tables, or in a classroom space where children are not sleeping.
    5. Staff conduct visual checks of all sleeping children every 10 minutes. Sleeping infants will also be checked by touching him/her at a minimum of every 15-20 minutes.
    6. Classrooms should be conducive to sleep for those children who are resting. This can include soft music, quiet activities, and restriction of movement within areas where children are resting.
    7. Teachers should use an organized, intentional approach to providing quiet individual activities and should have planned learning opportunities.
    8. Staff must collaborate to ensure that planning time does not impact active supervision during quiet time. Staff must continue to implement supervision strategies by positioning themselves to see all children and frequently scanning the room.

3.  POSITION STAFF: Definition: Staff should carefully plan where they will position themselves to protect children from harm. This includes positioning themselves to see and hear all children in their care. Staff should make sure there are clear paths to where children are playing, sleeping, and eating. This allows staff to react quickly when necessary and stay close to children who may need additional support.

  1. At all times there will be at least 2 Paid MSHS staff with children. All staff are responsible for all children under their care, including when staff are temporarily assigned (ex: filling in during breaks, accompanying a child to the restroom).
  2. Staff should make sure there are clear paths to where children are playing, sleeping, and eating so they can react quickly when necessary.
  3. Staff stays close to children who may need additional support.
  4. While in the classroom, playground, or bus rides, staff should carefully plan where they will position themselves so that they are able to see, hear and protect children from harm.
  5. Place mirrors on walls opposite of walls or areas that are difficult to monitor.
  6. Administrative staff ensures/monitors that Head Start Performance Standards and State Licensing Regulations concerning adult/child ratios is always followed or exceeded.

4.  SCAN AND COUNT: Definition: Staff should always be able to account for the children in their care. They continuously scan the entire environment to know where everyone is and what they are doing. They also count the children frequently. This is especially important during transitions when children are moving from one location to another.

  1. Whether inside, outdoors, or on the bus, staff should always be able to account for the children in their care.
  2. Staff will take a child roster with them when transitioning from the classroom to playground and ensure that child count is accurate at all times. I
  3. It is required that a dry erase chart be placed where easily seen in the classroom and bus and always maintained with the precise count of children in the classroom or bus.
  4. Staff continuously scan the entire environment to know where everyone is and what they are doing.
  5. Staff also count the children frequently-especially during transitions when children are moving from one location to another.
  6. Health checks, daily attendance and meal count forms are completed as part of daily roll calls.
  7. Any staff entering the classroom, at any time, can inquire to the number of children that are in attendance.
  8. Management staff will listen and ensure that scanning and counting procedures are performed during arrival/departure, on the bus, both indoors and outdoors, and during transitions.
  9. Staff will position themselves with one staff member at the front of the line and one at the back of the line, when transitions occur.
  10. Transportation staff will ensure/monitor that one bus aide sits midway on the bus and the other one at the back.
  11. All staff must ensure that NO child or children are left unattended for ANY period.

5.  LISTEN: Definition: Specific sounds or the absence of them may be cause for concern. Staff who listen closely to children can quickly identify signs of potential danger. Programs that plan systemically are better able to implement additional strategies to safeguard children. For example, adding bells to doors help alert staff when a child leaves or enters the room.

  1. Staff listen for specific sounds or the absence of them that may be cause for concern.
    1. It is mandated to add Door Alarms to all external doors to notify when the door is opened or closed. These should always remain on.
    2. It is also mandated, that all internal doors have a bell or chime to notify when the door is open or closed. These should always remain on including quiet periods.
  2. Staff listen closely to children to quickly identify signs of potential danger.

6.  ANTICIPATE CHILDREN'S BEHAVIOR: Definition: Staff should use what they know about each child's interests and skills to predict what the child will do next. They can create challenges that children are ready for and support them in succeeding. Staff should also be aware of changes in a child's mood and anticipate when a child may wander off, get upset, or take a dangerous risk. Information from the daily health check (e.g., illness, allergies, lack of sleep or food) can inform staff observations and help predict children's behavior. Staff who know what to expect are better able to protect children from harm.

  1. Staff should use what they know about each child's interests and skills to predict what the child will do next.
  2. Staff learn to identify changes in a child's mood and anticipate when a child may wander off, get upset, or take a dangerous risk.
  3. Information from the daily health check (e.g., illness, allergies, lack of sleep, or food) should inform staff observations and help predict children's behavior.

7.  ENGAGE AND REDIRECT: Definition: Staff should offer support by using what they know about each child's individual needs and development. Staff can encourage children to solve problems on their own and help them develop solutions if needed. They can also offer different levels of assistance or redirection depending on each child's needs.

  1. Staff should offer support by using what they know about each child's individual needs and development.
  2. Staff can encourage children to solve problems on their own and help them develop solutions if needed. They can also offer different levels of assistance or redirection depending on each child's needs.
  3. For Infants & Toddlers:
    1. Meet babies' needs for love and care and build a trusting relationship with them.
    2. Prepare the play space thoughtfully and make it childproof.
    3. Accept children's feelings and provide outlets for them.
    4. Refocus toddlers' attention before inappropriate behavior occurs.
    5. State directions clearly and simply.
    6. Be calm and consistent.
    7. Allow children time to adjust to transitions.
  4. For Preschool Children:
    1. Arrange classrooms that are comfortable, interesting, and encourage children's self-direction.
    2. Help children express their emotions verbally, and through art and play.
    3. Allow children to resolve their own conflicts when possible.
    4. Model and teach children strategies for solving interpersonal conflicts, like negotiation, compromise, and empathy.
    5. Help children learn to anticipate logical consequences for their behaviors.
    6. Involve children in cooperative projects.
    7. Assist children in setting clear, consistent, fair limits for classroom behavior.
  5. It is not acceptable for adults to administer negative discipline:
    1. Inflicting physical pain (suspected child abuse will be reported to the child protection agency).
    2. Name-calling, shouting, threatening, ridiculing, etc.
    3. Depriving a child of any Head Start service (e.g. transportation, field trips, food, daily attendance, etc.)
    4. Isolation.
    5. Sending a child to the office.
    6. Imposing cumulative or delayed consequences.
    7. NO CHILDREN SHALL BE REMOVED FROM THE GROUP.

8.  ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE PROCEDURES: Staff follow IDHS-MSHS Delegate Center Child Sign In/Out Policy & Procedure

9.  PLAYGROUND, FIELD TRIP, AND EXCURSIONS PROCEDURES: Staff follow IDHS-MSHS Field Trip Policy and Procedure

10.  CHILD SUPERVISION INCIDENT: Staff follow IDHS-MSHS Reporting Child Health and Safety Incidents Policy & Procedure

11.  MONITORING

  1. DELEGATE LEVEL
    1. Education Coordinators will use the Supervision and Safety Practices Checklist, on alternate months, to monitor active supervision strategies both indoors and outdoors.
    2. Health and safety Coordinators will use the Environmental Safety Checklist pdf complete the inspection prior to opening the center and at least once a month thereafter. Afterward, develop a corrective action plan on the Environmental Safety Checklist Summary Sheet pdf for all non-compliance items.
    3. All findings and follow-up needed are reported to the Policy Committee and Board of Directors in the Monthly Report.
  2. GRANTEE LEVEL
    1. The Education Manager will use the Supervision and Safety Practices Checklist when on site to monitor active supervision strategies both indoors and outdoors and monitor/review that observations are being done per requirement by the Education Coordinators.
    2. Health and safety Manager will review/monitor that the Environmental Safety Checklist inspections are being done per procedure and that a corrective action plan for all non-compliance items is completed and followed up.
    3. All findings and follow-up needed are reported to the Policy Council and Advisory Board at appropriate meetings.

12.  TEACH FAMILIES ABOUT SAFETY: Staff engage families about safety issues and partner with them about how to reduce risks to prevent injuries that occur in the home.

13.  KNOW YOUR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES: Staff plan activities with an understanding of each child's developmental level and abilities, and the preferences, culture, and traditions of their families. This includes everything from maintaining current emergency contact information to understanding families' perceptions about safety and injury prevention.

14.  USE DATA TO MAKE DECISIONS: The Grantee and Delegates will use the program and incident data to help managers and staff evaluate children's safety.

Staff Acknowledgment:

This Policy and Procedure has been reviewed with me and I__________________________________ acknowledge understanding the requirements and expectations outlined in this Active Supervision Policy and Procedures. Failure to comply will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Staff Signature: ___________________________________________ Date:_____________________