When most people think of the word ‘risk’, it is often confused with danger. Risks are a great way to learn skills in negotiating environments and learn about both positive and negative consequences of actions.
At Tops Day Nurseries we believe children should be children, they need to explore their surroundings, climb higher, reach further and develop skills in a safe, creative play environment. Children are able to learn how to use equipment safely whilst developing coordination and orientation skills, all by taking acceptable risks.
At Tops Forest School, children are given the opportunity to use bow saws, build shelters, cross rivers and more. Everyday risks children may take could include climbing a tree, jumping over a small stream, den building and much more.
When children are allowed to engage freely in adventurous play they quickly learn to assess their own skills and match them to the demands of the environment. If unsuccessful the first time, they tend to be resilient and rebound quickly; either trying again and again until they master the situation or wisely avoid it, whichever they choose is the best decision.
If children aren’t encouraged to take risks they won’t be able to practice risk-assessment, a trait that will be used throughout their life. This could lead to children being timid and reluctant to try new things.
To be able to allow children to play in an environment, the staff members have to distinguish acceptable and unacceptable risks by considering the following:
- The likeliness and severity of harm
- The benefits, rewards or outcomes of the activity
- Identifying who needs a greater challenge or specific support
- Establish the benefits of risk taking
When establishing the benefits rewards and outcomes of an activity, staff weigh up the positives as well as negatives of a risk. By doing this, we are able to provide managed risks that are engaging, developmentally appropriate and beneficial for children of all ages.