In this Talking about practice series (TAPS) we are looking at how educators plan for adventurous or risky play.
As we hurtle into the twenty first century increasingly we find a society that is becoming more risk averse.
Our society’s fixation on safety and ‘no risk’ play starts in the early years and continues as children grow older. The nightly news creates an atmosphere of fear about the outside world, as we view images of violence that reinforces a perception that it’s not safe to be outside. So we protect our children even more, and in doing so we remove them from the natural environment and move indoors. In our desire to ‘keep children safe’ we create play environments that are devoid of adventure and interest.
If professionals take cues from both understanding of child development and our knowledge of the lives that children are leading, the environment professionals provide can enhance childhoods. Perhaps some programs would look less like schools and more like homes and children’s museums or like fields and parks. We might develop (or adapt) varied places that resonate with a genuine sense of place—or beauty, variety with elements of surprise and mystery—places where adults and children delight at times in simply being together, messing about, and working at the tasks that daily living requires (Greenman, 1998).
To help you explore the Talking about practice video on risk and play we have set up a series of discussion points that will help in exploring risk, how we think about it, what stops us and others from taking risks or setting up risky experiences for children and how we can build risk into our daily planning.
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