Supervision is basic to safety and the prevention of injury and maintaining quality child care.
Many times, children are sent to the playground without active supervision. Sometimes early childhood educators act as if the equipment will supervise the children for them. However, a playground without active supervision is an unsafe playground. Over half of all playground injuries are self-inflicted. This means that kids run into and trip over objects just by being kids.
Children like to test their skills and abilities. This is particularly noticeable around playground equipment. Even if the highest safety standards for playground layout, design and surfacing are met, serious injuries can happen if children are left unsupervised. A lack of supervision is associated with 40 percent of playground injuries. Adults who are involved, aware, and appreciative of young children's behaviors are in the best position to safeguard their well-being.
When you are outside with your students, you will need to monitor them to make sure they are safe.
Make sure that every part of the play area can be seen at all times.
Tunnels of any length need view windows or portholes.
Check your play area for blind spots.
Simple rules are very important for safe play areas and increase successful supervision. (i.e. “Take your turn and never push,” “Rails, fences, and walls are not for climbing,” etc.)
Remember, small children need few rules. A maximum of five rules for safe outdoor play should be sufficient, with fewer rules for toddlers.
Early childhood educators should regularly count children (name to face on a scheduled basis, at every transition, and whenever leaving one area and arriving at another), going indoors or outdoors, to confirm the safe whereabouts of every child at all times. Additionally, they must be able to state how many children are in their care at all times.
Licensing requires that maximum group sizes (and staff to child ratios) are maintained at all times, including on the outdoor play area. In any one outdoor play area, there cannot be more than:
14 toddlers (1:7 staff to child ratio)..or
20 preschool children (1:10 staff to child ratio)..or
30 school-age children (1:15 staff to child ratio)
To meet this requirement on large playgrounds, centers can use small fences to divide the playground into separate areas that help ensure the climbing equipment is age appropriate and meets children’s developmental levels.
Times shown are Pacific Standard Time. If you are in Central or Eastern Time, you will need to adjust the time accordingly.
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