Standards for child and youth development programs

2020 Edition

Early Childhood Education (CYD-ECE) 10: Child Supervision

Close supervision ensures child safety and improves service quality.

2020 Edition




Early Childhood Education facilitates appropriate child development and ensures the health and safety of children in care.
The program’s practices fully meet the standard, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for covering staff breaks and other situations that require a teaching staff person to leave the classroom for 5 minutes or more (CYD-ECE 10.03)
  • Policy and procedures governing mixing age groups (CYD-ECE 10.04)
  • Log or other materials documenting the off-site whereabouts of children
  • Documentation of group size and ratios for the past month
  • Staffing chart for the past month
  • Interview:
    1. Program director
    2. Teaching staff
    3. Parents
  • Observe facility
  • Observe arrival and pick-up times

Fundamental Practice

CYD-ECE 10.01

Each child is supervised to ensure:

  1. departure is with a person who has been approved in writing by his or her parents;
  2. absences are documented;
  3. off-site whereabouts while under the supervision of the program are known and documented; and
  4. departure is not allowed with someone who poses a safety risk.


Protocols should provide direction on how to use relevant program or community resources to respond to individuals who are intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, mentally or physically unstable, or a safety risk.

Fundamental Practice

CYD-ECE 10.02

The child care center maintains teacher-child ratios and group sizes that:

  1. allow teachers to maintain sight and sound supervision that ensures child health and safety;
  2. allow teachers to establish and maintain relationships with each child in the group;
  3. allow teachers to offer a variety of activities and lessons that promote social, emotional, language, cognitive, and physical development;
  4. take into consideration the size and configuration of the space;
  5. take into consideration the qualifications and competencies of the teacher;  
  6. take into consideration changes in supervision needs based on activities being conducted; and
  7. take into consideration the needs of the children in the group.


Generally, the program should maintain teacher-child ratios that do not exceed COA’s Recommended Teacher-Child Ratios and Group Sizes for CYD-ECE programs. Additionally, group sizes should not exceed those listed in the chart. Teachers should assess and modify group size and/or ratios downward based on the special physical, social, or developmental needs of children within the group, the risks associated with a particular activity, and the qualifications and competencies of the teachers to ensure that children’s needs are being met. Conversely, ratios may be modified at nap time or during early and late arrival times when the needs for supervision are reduced. However, there must always be a qualified staff person available should the individual in the classroom need assistance.


Average daily attendance is acceptable for group size and ratios in childcare centers, as long as the program has back-up help available when unusually large numbers of children are present.

Studies have shown that small group sizes and lower teacher-to-child ratios are associated with higher quality child care and improved social and cognitive outcomes for children. This may be due to the fact that lower ratios and group sizes allow for more frequent, nurturing, and playful interactions between teachers and children, which the research shows is critical to the achievement of positive outcomes.

Fundamental Practice

CYD-ECE 10.03

Teacher-child ratios are maintained at all times both on- and off-site, including when a teacher:

  1. works individually with a child who is ill, requires separation from the group, needs special supervision or care, or has an emergency;
  2. takes a break; or
  3. leaves the room to retrieve supplies.


When teaching staff leave the room for five minutes or less, it is not required that a substitute be brought in to maintain ratios.  However, if a teacher or assistant will be gone longer than five minutes, a substitute must be brought in to provide coverage and maintain ratios.

CYD-ECE 10.04

When mixing age groups, the program ensures:

  1. the developmental needs of all children can be met;
  2. teachers are skilled in programming for mixed-aged groupings; and
  3. the group’s teacher-child ratio is tailored with consideration given to the age of the youngest children in the group.

NA The program does not offer mixed-age groupings.

Fundamental Practice

CYD-ECE 10.05

Teaching staff maintain constant supervision of the children in their care by both sight and sound.

Fundamental Practice

CYD-ECE 10.06

Indoor and outdoor facilities are arranged to ensure constant child supervision, including:

  1. convenient storage of items needed for napping, feeding, diapering, and administrative tasks;
  2. low barriers between designated spaces to maintain constant visibility of the entire room;
  3. convex mirrors installed wherever they are needed; and
  4. visibility of the classroom by more than one adult.