Risky Business: Appropriate Risks During Play
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.
An 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. Assisting children to navigate stairs, to build and construct using a variety of loose part resources, and to navigate outdoor and indoor environments are all ways we allow children to take appropriate risks within 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.
Benefits of successfully navigating a risk includes:
- an increased amount of independence and self-confidence
- builds on children’s communication skills, group participation skills and turn taking
- develops persistence and commitment to tasks
- 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, extend their fitness levels, build their strength and develop fundamental gross motor skills such as balancing, jumping and coordination. 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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