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Supervision in early childhood services

Information about adequate supervision for all NQF services, occasional and limited hours care services and the responsibility of providers and nominated supervisors.

The importance of supervision

Supervision is critical to the safety of children and helps protect children from harm and hazards that may arise in their daily experiences.

The approved provider nominated supervisor(s) and all educators must ensure that every child at the service is adequately supervised all times. This includes:

It is an offence to not supervise children adequately at all times.

Adequate supervision

Adequate supervision means:

  • that an educator can respond immediately including when a child is distressed or is in a hazardous situation
  • knowing where children are at all times, and monitoring their activities actively and carefully.

It is determined by a range of factors, including the following:

  • number of children
  • ages of children
  • abilities of children
  • number and positioning of adults
  • each child’s current activity, for example, physical activities, art activities and playing with others
  • areas where the children are engaging in the activities, in particular the visibility and accessibility of these areas
  • adults’ knowledge of each child and each group of children
  • experience, knowledge and skill of each educator
  • need for educators to move between areas
  • specific high-risk situations such as during transportation or excursions.

Services must:

  • plan carefully so children can be supervised in all areas of the service
  • adapt where they place educators throughout the day where required.

Educators must:

  • be in constant communication and work as a team so they can be aware of what is going on around them and alert to the potential for accidents, injuries and other harmful incidents throughout the whole service, not just within their own immediate area.


The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) have the following resources available on the topic of supervision in the National Quality Framework (NQF): Information sheet - QA2 Active supervision: Ensuring safety and promoting learningExternal Link .

While the Children’s Services Act (CS Act) is not referred to, the resources are relevant to CS Act services as the same obligations apply however to different sections of the legislation.

Meeting educator to child ratios

All services must meet the minimum educator to child ratios required by law, however meeting these ratios may not always be sufficient to provide adequate supervision. In some situations additional educators may be required.

NQF services

Read about:

Victorian Children’s Services

Minimum educator to child ratios must be met at all times children are being educated and cared for by an occasional care and limited hours service.

From 17 May 2020 the educator to child ratios are the same as those in NQF services.

Nappy change

Supervision is crucial during nappy change.

Services must plan nappy changes carefully to make sure there is adequate supervision of:

  • the child whose nappy is being changed
  • as well as all the other children.

Preparation and constant contact with the child are key to adequate supervision during nappy change:

  • while undertaking a nappy change the child should never be left alone on the change table and physical contact should always be maintained with the child
  • In some cases educators may need to position themselves so that they can safely change a child’s nappy while maintaining adequate supervision of the other children. This is part of the risk assessment the educator must complete. An additional educator may be required to supervise the other children at those times.

For more information refer to the ACECQA Information sheet - QA2 Toileting and nappy changing principles and practicesExternal Link .

Reviewed 04 April 2023


Contact us

Quality Assessment and Regulation Division (QARD)

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