Why You Should Pay Attention to “Supervision” Citations


We have heard it from many of you, ” I self-report” and I always get cited for “supervision” or if a child gets hurt, I get a supervision citation. Injury and supervision citations do not have to go hand-in-hand. Young children will at times get boo’s boo’s as they explore their environment and are engaged in play with other children.

While it may seem that there is an unreasonable expectation that teachers are suppose to have eyes on EVERY child at EVERY moment, we know this is not possible. So how can you ensure that you are adhering to the intent of the “watchful oversight” regulation while maintaining classroom ratios and engaging in meaningful discussion with children in your care?

Here are a few tips that you need to enforce/review with your teachers.

  • Ensure teachers are appropriately positioned in the classroom to see the entire room, not just a small sphere. This is especially true in rooms with diaper changing tables. While it may seem expensive to think about moving a table, an improperly placed table can cause supervision nightmares.
  • Triangulate on the playground. Teachers should space themselves out on the playground to cover all areas and ensure someone is around the playsets/fall zones. In sports terms, they are playing “zone” versus “man to man”. Work and coordinate with all teachers on the playground to accomplish this, not just your own group/classroom.
  • In the classroom, if there are two teachers present, one should be interacting in small groups and the other must be providing room coverage ( zone) to have watchful oversight on the rest of the class.
  • When there is one teacher, ensure that they are properly positioned and frequently look up to scan and have oversight over the group at large. Take breaks to walk around and conduct a count, visually see all children and tend to any immediate needs.
  • During transitions, have one teacher take a group in/out and leave a small balance ( within ratio) to check the classroom, playground, etc for stragglers. Count and count again!
  • If a boo-boo occurs, and the teacher did not directly see it but noticed a child crying- you can honestly say, while I was scanning the room, I noticed/ was alerted to ” Billy” crying and tended to his “boo-boo”. Ask the child what happened and ask any other teachers if they saw it. Write down what the child said, or what you determined happened. DECAL is looking to see that the teachers had “watchful oversight” versus eyes on the back of their heads! Talk to your teachers and advise them against saying ” I didn’t see it”.. While this may be the case, they need to articulate that they were supervising properly ( assuming this is the case). Another co-teacher may have seen it, or can collaborate that the classroom was being supervised appropriately.
For more tips, please refer to this guide from Head Start on Active Supervision to share with your teachers!

Why it’s important to REFUTE a supervision citation if you do not agree with it!

  1. Based upon the new Enforcement and Compliance System, if a core rule such as “supervision” is cited, AND it happens again, your program will gain points and begin moving along the spectrum of enforcement actions.
  2. We recommend that you get a variety of teachers statements that had witnessed the incident that triggered the citation and include them in your refutation. Include handwritten signed statements in your refutation.
  3. The main point is that your program/teacher needs to ensure DECAL that your supervision was in place and on point. Young children are active and boo-boo’s are going to happen, but it’s how your center ensures that children are carefully supervised .

For Links to Refute a Citation, Click Here