Risky Business | Appropriate Risks During Play
4th July 2017
Taking risks is an important part of life. It’s also important in the development of children. By taking appropriate risks during play, children are pushing their own limits and learning many valuable lessons along the way.
Georgie-Rae Lorenzi, Educational Leader, Early Childhood Teacher and Acting Centre Manager at Guardian Early Learning Centre – Gungahlin explains that appropriate risk during play allows “children to explore and experiment with their environments, in which they are learning and developing their physical capabilities with the support or assistance from an educator, if needed.”
The educator’s role is to support children to take calculated risks, allowing them to make informed judgements about their own safety and personal capabilities and to undertake risk assessment. “The educator should lead by example, pose questions that will extend and challenge the child’s thinking and assist them to navigate the risk safely,” comments Georgie-Rae. Assisting children to navigate stairs, to build and construct using a variety of loose part materials and resources and to navigate outdoor and indoor environments are all ways we allow children to take appropriate risks at our centres.
But what is it about these risks that is so important? Allowing children to take risks encourages their cognitive, physical and emotional development in many ways. The benefits of successfully navigating a risk includes an increased amount of independence and self-confidence, undertaking a risk in a group environment builds on children communication skills, group participation skills and turn taking. Georgie-Rae says, “Risk taking involves a great amount of problem solving, hypothesising, trial and error methods and reflection. It develops persistence and commitment to tasks and encourages children to be creative and think outside of the box.”
There are also physical benefits to taking risks. “When navigating age appropriate risks children have the opportunity to challenge themselves physically, they are extending their fitness levels, building their strength and developing fundamental gross motor skills such as balancing, jumping and their coordination,” says Georgie-Rae. Even from a young age, children begin to become aware of their surroundings and learn to develop spatial awareness.
By supporting children in taking calculated risks, we are opening them up to a whole world of exploration and development. So go on, take a risk!
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