As much as we’d love to just wrap them in cotton wool and never let them leave the house, we need to let kids be kids so they can explore and learn from the world around them.
In the early childhood education sector, there’s always an ongoing discussion about the role of play activities where children could hurt themselves. We used to follow children around a centre and keep outdoor environments as safe as possible from hazards. This was the way nearly every centre, playground and public place became, as we became increasingly more risk averse with children.
At Charlton Brown Early Learning, we take child safety very seriously but at the same time, we believe it’s important that children are given every opportunity to learn and grow. That means they need to be provided with the chance to assess risks on their own, so they can make smart decisions when we aren’t around as educators or parents.
Whenever you cross the street, walk down some steps or swim at the beach, you’re making constant assessments about the risks involved. We do this so often that we begin to forget that we’re even doing it. What we may not realise is that our ability to assess risks as an adult is linked to the opportunities we had as children to make our own decisions, good or bad.
So, how do you go about creating an environment where children can extend themselves and understand their own capabilities? The good news is, safety and risk can be balanced in a way that allows children to explore the world around them by climbing, balancing, hanging, and jumping to their heart’s content.
We’ve often spoken about how important play is in child’s development, and in fact, understanding play is a crucial part of the Early Years Learning Framework, the national guidelines for early childhood education in Australia. A key part of play is providing opportunities for children test their capabilities, learn from physical experiences and ask for help when they need it.
Creating an outdoor play policy is a great way to ensure all centre staff are on the same page when it comes to how we let children engage in risky play. Staff and parents should all be educated about the benefits of risks in play, as this leads to better understanding and reduced anxiety. Try to use positive language when you discuss potentially risky activities, as this helps parents to realise the benefits of this type of play.
Educators should provide extra support to encourage children who are anxious and again, use positive language when accidents occur. By modifying activities to suit a variety of abilities, this ensures that all children, regardless of age, gender or ability can be involved in risky play to varying degrees.
Educators must be away of the way each individual child views risk and allow children to learn what they are capable of themselves, without being pushed into doing something they’re unsure of. The more that children are free to engage in risky play, the better they’ll be at managing risks, judging what they’re capable of, and keeping themselves safe.
Our role as educators, parents and family members is to provide a challenging learning environment that supports all children as they become more curious, able, and adventurous.
At Charlton Brown, we’re passionate about developing the world’s best educators and playing our part in helping children to develop to their full potential. To get started in the growing early childhood education and care industry, it’s essential to choose an industry trusted training provider with a solid track record of getting people qualified and established in a rewarding new career shaping young minds.
With a proud 30-year history of providing industry-best training, Charlton Brown has developed more than 18,000 quality graduates who now work across every facet of the early childhood sector. Combining our core competencies and expertise in the care industry with strategic partnerships and support from government, NGOs and large childcare providers, we’re the ideal starting point for your new career in this growing industry.
Get in touch with us today to find out how you can get started on one of the below qualifications that combine the latest theory with hands-on learning from industry work placement opportunities.
This course reflects the role of workers in a range of early childhood education settings. Throughout the course, you will learn about the responsibilities involved in engaging with groups of children and individuals, how children grow and develop, and observing children to learn about their interests and needs.
The Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care will provide you with an in-depth understanding of children and how to engage with them in a group care environment. This course is ideal if you want to become early childhood educators responsible for designing and implementing curriculum in Early Childhood Education and Care services.