Topic

Strategies for Supporting Children’s Opportunities for Risky Play

Topic Progress:

Children need environments that are free from hazard to ensure that they can satisfy their natural curiosity and desire for novelty and challenge. These types of play spaces will afford them opportunities to take risks without compromising their safety, while building their esteem and self-regulation skills. Allowing children to take risks is a challenge for many adults, especially for those who are risk-averse or afraid of children getting hurt.

Think about how you feel when you view children climbing up a tree or a climber. Think about children climbing up steep hills. Do you embrace these opportunities or hear yourself saying, “be careful”, “don’t fall” or “maybe you should not do this”?  Early learning teachers are encouraged to provide children with ample opportunities to be in environments where they can take on physical challenges and be allowed to try play that has some risk attached to it. Risk taking contributes to children:

course8-graphic-4

Despite its benefits, many early learning teachers often express their concerns about the strict provincial or site standards and regulations that they must abide by that they believe reduce the children’s play options. Others have shared their personal concern about a child being hurt in their care and what the response will be from parents and/or their supervisor. Perhaps by thinking about risk as a healthy phase of development, educators will continuously find strategies to help facilitate those play options for children (Dietze, 2016).

module8-lesson5-topic3-photo1

There are many strategies that early learning teachers may use to begin the dialogue with colleagues, parents and children on risk taking. Here are our top ten ideas.

  1. Parents may require support to encourage children in being able to take risks. Provide parents information about the relationship of risk taking to child development and learning in newsletters and on web sites.
  2. Invite parents to engage in outdoor risky play times with children and staff. This allows staff to highlight the types of play that are supporting risk-taking opportunities.
  3. Educators and children create pedagogical documentation that visually shows children engaged in risk-taking play. Include key points on how the play in the photos support risk taking.
  4. Educators examine their philosophy on and feelings about risk taking. As a group, they take inventory of the personal feelings of the team and then collectively develop strategies that will balance positions and roles during outdoor experiences so that children’s risk-taking adventures will be encouraged and supported.
  5. Educators engage in observing children’s skills and then create opportunities for them to advance risk taking. Scaffolding experiences supports children’s success in their risk-taking play.
  6. Educators create challenging environments by providing a range of heavy loose parts such as ropes and rocks, differing terrain, materials that allow children to create large structures, and play spaces that allow for freedom to explore.
  7. Educators become conscious of their language with children during the outdoor exploration. They reduce the natural instinct to say “No! That is dangerous” and determine if the act is dangerous or if children are being overprotected.
  8. Educators examine procedures and practices at least every six months to ensure that they are addressing hazards and risks appropriately.
  9. Educators engage in professional development that shares current research on children and risk taking.
  10. Educators reflect upon the following:
  • How do adults help children make decisions about the risks they wish to take?
  • How do adults support children in helping children learn from their risks, especially with those that are not successful?
  • How do you offer children support for some of their explorations without reducing their enthusiasm for their potential idea?
  • How do you communicate with families about the value of children’s risk taking and how often do you have such communication?
  • How do you continue to develop your knowledge and comfort for risk taking?

We invite you to answer some of these questions in the comment section and also go back to the number you chose out of ten at the beginning of the module about your comfort level with risky play. Do you want to change that number? Are you more comfortable or less comfortable?

Comments

  1. Angela George

    • How do adults help children make decisions about the risks they wish to take? We can help them by encouragement and by making sure they are aware of any risks and by scaffolding the learning so they are ready to take the risk
    • How do adults support children in helping children learn from their risks, especially with those that are not successful? Let them know that you are proud of the attempt they made and open up a discussion about what didn’t work and what else we could try. Then encourage them to try again with your support
    • How do you offer children support for some of their explorations without reducing their enthusiasm for their potential idea? You could suggest another way of approaching it, or something similar, or suggest a different day to do the activity
    • How do you communicate with families about the value of children’s risk taking and how often do you have such communication? We haven’t had a chance to talk to families about it yet. We could do it in email and newsletter except we haven’t done a newsletter yet and we are quite short-staffed. We do have a facebook page that is used to communicate different events available for parents and families that we could use for that kind of communication. Parent Night we could open up a discussion about that, or bring in a speaker – oh covid – we could do a zoom meeting except not all our families have internet.
    • How do you continue to develop your knowledge and comfort for risk taking? By trial and error, by reflection and discussion with your team, and by continuing your education in this with workshops and reading

  2. Christine Norman

    My comfort level is overall around the same but perhaps growing as well. I think my comfort level around risky play is always changing based on the activity and the children involved. As a multi age program there is more of a challenge in allowing the older children to explore more risky play while also ensuring the younger children are safe and not going to follow and copy out of their own abilities. It is finding the balance on a daily basis.

  3. Michelle Davis

    I would say my comfort level is still around an 8, maybe a 9 now. I think as long as my team is on the same page, risky play can and should be a part of our program. I need to remind me that children have strong bodies that are capable of doing risky things.

  4. Cindy Spencer

    I am almost at a 10, I am still a 9 in comfort level with risky play…the only thing I haven’t had any experience with yet is children being around fire. Everything else I would be comfortable trying or have tried already.

  5. Jennifer Yarmish

    I think that I have maintained my comfort level. I do find myself being more mindful of the language that I use with the children when they are involved in risky play and more able to do practical assessments of whether or not it’s a hazardous situation or just my own discomfort
    We can continue to support the children by building on their sense of self so they will grow in confidence. Supporting parents and other staff to see the benefits of risky play will also work toward allowing the children more opportunities to test their own skills and abilities on a daily basis.

  6. Shirley Robinson

    I feeit is important parents unerstand risk play and how we would make sure it is safe with a news letter, we would invite them to join if they would like. i changed it to 9

  7. Nikki Littlechild

    My comfort level remains the same. Adults will either support or diminish children’s confidence in their decision making and onw bodies strength. If they say be careful the child will be more worried, if they say your body is strong the child will exude confidence. Sharing of information with families is key, we all want to protect our young and doing so without making them feel less confident and strong is important!

  8. Rachael Ewan

    Adults inform children of the risks, and step in when necessary. Adults as open ended questions that guide children to think for themselves about navigating risks. Following the child’s lead when offering support helps that that their enthusiasm is not reduced.
    I think I am still about the same with my comfort level.

  9. Heather Diewert

    As educators can assist children In making a decision about risky play by ensuring that the children feel secure in attempting the activity, we do know the children in our care very well, we can determine if a child needs the extra confidence boost from us stating that we know that they can do it, and that we will be beside them as they try, before moving ourselves away.
    If children are not successful after an attempt we can reassure them that they are still learning an activity and let them know that it okay if the first tries are not successful but work with them to discover what they learned from trying and how might they attempt it differently the next time.
    If a child does lose interest in attempting an activity again, we can let them know that it’s okay, and that they can try again on a day they feel more like attempting it. Another strategy is asking children if they want to attempt a different use of an activity; i.e. rock balancing – they do a chalk drawing on the rock., or creating roads beside the rocks etc. , anything to make them connect a sense of comfort around the area.
    I think it’s important for teacher’s to continue taking workshops and reading research on the benefits and advantages to Outdoor learning and risky play , so that we are adequately prepared to educate parents on the developmental and physical benefits of it.
    I still feel that risky play is a positive and my level of comfort in it is a 9-10

  10. Dana Wilson

    How do adults help children make decisions about the risks they wish to take? -by allowing the children to freely explore, by showing that you trust them to make decisions, by scaffolding the risks so children grow confident and have better understanding of their capabilities.
    How do you continue to develop your knowledge and comfort for risk taking? – the only way to do this is to keep learning, keep observing children during risky play, see the benefits and understand that they outweigh the risk.
    I would put my number at a 9/10. At the start of this module I thought I was comfortable with risky play. I would now say I am very comfortable and more knowledgable about the benefits for children’s development, my approach when discussing risky play with parents/coworkers who are not as comfortable and have a desire to keep learning.

  11. lisa.rodney

    Continuing to seek out opportunities to learn more and to practice what you’re learning. People do have a natural inclination to protect children, but when we examine our image of the child and see children are capable and competent, that goes a long way in helping us recognize that children can take appropriate risks with support. The educator is responsible for eliminating hazards and for observing play and asking open-ended question to expand on play, so it also makes sense that they will support children to think through their actions and that they understand the consequences before they act. Say – what do you think will happen if you do this? or Look where the end of this branch is, if you move this side, what will happen to that side?

  12. Heather Brekkaas

    I think it’s really important to not pass along our own anxieties or fears to kids who are taking risks. It might make us uncomfortable, but they need to believe that we think they can do it.

  13. Rachelle Gregoire

    I continue to be aware of my language and words i use. I love the idea of involving parents. My number has not changed. I am still overly cautious, but am aware and curious

  14. Jody Anderson

    How do adults help children make decisions about the risks they wish to take? They make sure that children are aware of possible hazards by looking for the hazards first by themselves then making sure that the children are aware of them. They could ask the children open ended questions like: how could you make that safer?, or what do you think might happen if you move that there? What is your plan? What would you like to do? Have you tried that before? Do you remember how you did it? Prepare the children prior to engaging in risky play by letting them know what they may experiences and what to do if the do encounter possible hazards.

    How do adults support children in helping children learn from their risks, especially with those that are not successful? You coud ask the child what happened? Why do they think it turned out that way. Get them to think of their own solutions. Listen to them talk. Go back to the same area and allow them to approach that situation from a different angel to allow for mastery of skills.
    How do you offer children support for some of their explorations without reducing their enthusiasm for their potential idea? By checking for potential hazards and knowing the childlren in your care you can provide encouragement and support. You can join in with their explorations if they are asking you to or are showing interest in involving you with their ideas.

    How do you communicate with families about the value of children’s risk taking and how often do you have such communication? You could communicate with them prior to participating in an activity and let them know what their children will be doing and let them know and see that you have completed a benefit-risk analysis. YOu could communicate through visable documentation which could be an ongoing process. You could communicate with them about the value by provinding websites and information in your newsletters that explain the types of play and learning that occurs while participating in risky play.

    How do you continue to develop your knowledge and comfort for risk taking? By observing children and by stepping back more and allowing them that space to challenge themselves while ensuring that you have checked for hazards prior. By visiting other centeres who have risky play as part of their daily curriculum to see how they approach it and how the children in their care interact with that type of play. Go on websites and read literature. Attend workshops, or conferences to gain more information.

  15. Anna Mary McKenney

    How do adults help children make decisions about the risks they wish to take?
    – adults can be observant to the direction play is moving and help to organize loose parts and design the space so its functional. I also believe its important to use language that supports children to may be nervous. Asking them to explain what about the situation is making them feel uncomfortable. Allowing children the space to fall and make mistakes and encouraging them to get back up and try again

    How do adults support children in helping children learn from their risks, especially with those that are not successful?
    – adults should support children and model how mistakes are learning opportunities. We can support children feeling discouraged by showing them we can try again and helping them determine why they were not successful.

    How do you communicate with families about the value of children’s risk taking and how often do you have such communication?
    – pictures and videos of children engaged in risky play has been very useful. We send these home with a brief description of the play they are engaged in and the benefits of this type of play. We can showcase what skills children are learning and building on. We typically send updates weekly but if children are engaged in something particularly interested in something we can send updates when we want

    I still feel confident with risky play and set my number at 10 but I now feel more confident with the language I can use and model to my coworkers when engaged with children in this play scenario

  16. Krista Ambrose

    Adults help children about risks they wish to take by discussing the results with the children. Adults support children in helping children learn from risks, especially with those that are not successful, by being there to offer support. To remind them to try again. Just be excited that they tried! You can offer children support for some of the their explorations without reducing their enthusiasm for their potential idea by asking open ended questions and assisting the child while gently guiding them. I communicate with families about the value of children’s risk taking by sending home information about risky play. Putting up links on the daycare Facebook page. I think that this communication so be every couple of months and maybe given to any new family starting. I continue my knowledge by reading books, taking workshops, or chatting with other early learning teachers. I believe that every child needs some risky play and I am not scared to let the children have that time outside.

  17. Bonnie Willson

    we help children make decisions about the risks they take by informing them of the possible outcomes, talking to them about what could happen and always being there for them if they need us. If something doesn’t work, we talk about it and see what they learned from their successes and failures. To offer support without reducing their excitement, we can play with them, participating to show that we feel their excitement also. We can share pictures and stories with the parents so they know that we are always present, and aware of what the children are doing. And finally, we keep aware of new training, new ideas and new safety info to be sure we have the most up to date info to serve our children and families the best way possible.

  18. Katarina Ninkovic

    One of the best teachers for children to understand risk Toto be able to determine for themselves if its risky !

  19. Lisa Goldsack

    My number is still 9/10 and I think that just being there to support children whether physically with a guiding hand or emotionally with encouraging words can help increase a child’s confidence level immensely

  20. Maria Agustin

    My comfort level is 8/10. I feel comfortable now with risky play. I think if we share ideas about risky play with my co-educators and parents we can support each other to be more comfortable and understand the benefits of risky play.

  21. Angel Huang

    How do adults help children make decisions about the risks they wish to take?
    >obverse, listen and talk; ask them to tell you what is their plan and you can listen and guide them and give them an idea on how it may or maynot work.
    How do adults support children in helping children learn from their risks, especially with those that are not successful?
    > ask them what do they think went wrong and maybe guide them or ask them to try again with different strategies .
    How do you offer children support for some of their explorations without reducing their enthusiasm for their potential idea?
    > let them know I will be there on their side and they can let their idea runs.
    How do you communicate with families about the value of children’s risk taking and how often do you have such communication?
    > let the parents know what we have done that day and maybe tomorrow the children want to do them again and we might take on to the next level. Basic communication should be done everyday so the parents feel safe to know what’s going on at the centre.
    How do you continue to develop your knowledge and comfort for risk taking?
    > keep educating myself and let the children do what they want, observe and watch out for hazard.

    We invite you to answer some of these questions in the comment section and also go back to the number you chose out of ten at the beginning of the module about your comfort level with risky play. Do you want to change that number? Are you more comfortable or less comfortable?
    I think after this lesson my number do go up slightly (so around 8 now), as I looked back about my childhood, i think my parents let me do a lot of crazy things, such as climbing up a tree to go up on the roof (2 floors high) to watch the fireworks and when it’s over we get to jump down one floor down to the deck at the back. Was it scary back then? was my mother worried?
    I would say yes and yes but my parents still let us take the risk as they know there won’t be too big a hazard. So i should let myself let go a little bit, and let the children go wide sometime too. I am more comfortable now to do more risky play with children and i believe if we have the right communication with the children, staff and families, they will feel safe as well.

  22. Nicole Robinson

    How do adults help children make decisions about the risks they wish to take? – by scaffolding the risky play, watch the child’s abilities and help them grow from there
    How do adults support children in helping children learn from their risks, especially with those that are not successful? – talk with the children after they’ve had an unplesant experience, instead of saying be careful, say if you do this, this might happen
    How do you offer children support for some of their explorations without reducing their enthusiasm for their potential idea? – state the risks and if they are too high (for example a broken bone will result) then it is time to redirect the child
    How do you communicate with families about the value of children’s risk taking and how often do you have such communication? – educate parents
    How do you continue to develop your knowledge and comfort for risk taking? – push the boundaries a little bit at a time for what is acceptable.

  23. Grace Smith

    My answer was 8 and I’m still the same. I would be more open to letting children engaged in risky play.

  24. Ruth Novak

    I am now a 9/10 on risky play. Everyone obviously has a limit of what they consider risky play, but it is something I would love to include in their outdoor play. I want to encourage them to try something new, even though sometimes the “be careful” is a reflex and one I’m trying to get rid of. I love the idea of including the parents into the program! Having the educators and parents being on board, it relieves some stress. In order to continue to gain knowledge on risky play, there will have to be more trial and errors. More thinking if I would do something, would the children also want to try? Guiding them!

  25. Betty-Ann Ryz

    Adults can help children embrace risky play by communication and education regarding the risk. My goal is to gain the confidence and knowledge to educate parents/caregivers the importance of outdoor risky play.

  26. Shannon Stewart

    How do you communicate with families about the value of children’s risk taking and how often do you have such communication?

    Communicating with families about the value and importance of risky play is very important. You can do this in a variety of ways. You can share stories and photos on virtual groups and documentation sites such as Story Park, include parents in volunteer opportunities so that they can see children engaging in risky play within the natural play environment, add information into newsletters, write learning stories and include a statement within your program philosophy. Having a layered approach will help to educate families, community members and educators.

  27. Mikaela Reyes

    My previous level of comfort in risky play was 8 and I think it is still the same. I still have some worries thinking about safety and health according to provinicial government.

    However, through our exploration with risky play, I really have seen how children’s emotions are truly involved while they are thinking about if they can do some risks or not. They may not say it but I can see that in their body language, they are trying it out. There are some success such as children who have been directed not to climb up a tree are doubtful to do it when I told them that they could, they did and they were so happy. They felt so good about themselves. There are also some who felt that they needed support in walking accross a log, they fell as they were doing it with me, they did get scared but I said, “I know that fall was surprising and scary but when you are ready, we can do it again. This time, you need to focus on your body especially your tummy ” (I meant, core but I thought children might not understand yet).

  28. Jessica Garner

    I think the best thing I’ve done to increase my comfort level with risky play was to intentionally spend time staying close to, observing, and talking with children about their risky play. This helped me to feel comfortable (I was nearby in case something happened), helped me to learn more about children’s capabilities (seeing how they could move their bodies and make safe choices), and support the children’s decision making (cueing with questions like “what’s your plan?”, “do you feel safe”, and noting risks that I could see “there’s some toys on the sand beneath you, it might hurt to land on those”).

  29. Amanda Funk

    Language is so important. Consciously shifting the ” NO!” or “Be careful!” to more instructional approach. Using phases like, ” use both hands when you grip,” or ” rocks are slippery when wet.” can guide children to trust their own body instead of being told how to trust it. Educators should take the owl approach; watch wait and give constructive feedback if needed.

  30. Kimberley Thompson

    Saying no to.children all the time makes me feel stressed out, I like to have the children ask me if its okay to.do something for their reassurance. If the child can’t climb up something themselves than they aren’t developed enough to do that challenge yet. If I don’t feel comfortable for a child to.do something I ask them if they think they can do it ? If they can with out my help and have the confidence to do it than they can. Otherwise if they can’t I will suggest a different activity for them to.do.

  31. Tammy

    I think my comfort level is around an 8. I believe that children can regulate their risk taking to their ability a lot more than I can have confidence in the play that is happening. I see the value of risky play and would be happy to advocate for things that others are not comfortable allowing.

  32. Amanda Christison

    I’m definitely becoming more comfortable with the idea of risky play as an educator, especially with the introduction of the Flight curriculum in our centre which strongly advocates as well for lots of open-ended, child-centred play with loose parts. I think if I continue to be reflective on my practice more often and share it with my co-workers and supervisor, that will strengthen the confidence I have to take more risks in allowing more risky play with the children. I will ensure I nurture and provide the type of environment for riskier play and document it with both the children and parents and hopefully that will get the parents more on board with this type of play. I will open up the discussion with parents to see what their concerns are so that I can find where the balance is while giving children this unique opportunity but also respecting where the parents are coming from. I think a big thing I took away from this was never realizing how natural it seems to be when a child is climbing a tree or something for you to call out be careful or no or get down without truly standing back and seeing what the bigger picture is for the child and what it’s about. I am going to try to be more aware and reflective of how I am with the riskier play when being outdoors with the children and being more mindful not to “jump in” every time I see riskier play.

  33. Minni Harris

    My comfort level for risky play is very low but slowly creeping up the more I learn In This course, I can see myself being around 5-7 for now.

  34. Prabhulata Immaraju

    I did choose my comfort level at 9 as I evaluated myself from when I first joined this field as an ECE and how much I have grown and changed in the years, I encourage the children to try on their own and continue to encourage them to think of what’s stopping them from accomplishing the task, we invite other children ( who have mastered that task) to share how they did it, what hurdles they faced and how would they be able to share/teach/demonstrate their learning, in doing this exercise with the children,we have seen so many breakthroughs, where a child’s confidence level goes up and they are encouraged to try out the task once again with the support n input from their peers.
    I chose to take this course to help me reflect and be informed about the practices and learning more about what all I can do to support,encourage and promote outdoor play and Risky play and how to incorporate loose parts into our program planning.

  35. Amanda N

    I’m getting a little bit more comfortable with the idea of risky play. I’m trying to identify where this concern is coming from and how I can improve it. Maybe, if I share with my team my fears, other educators might be able to give me support and ideas about how to feel more comfortable and how to start.

  36. Charlene Durrant

    During the summer we will be working on a presentation for the parents to try and educate some of them about the importance of outdoor play and risky play. The parents are the biggest hurdle for some educators when it comes to allowing risky play.

  37. Svetlana Babikova

    How do you communicate with families about the value of children’s risk taking and how often do you have such communication?
    Most of the parents not comfortable that their children can take risks. I believe it’s because parents don’t have proper resources about outdoor and risky play.
    In my work experience, I try to explain to all parents all the benefits of risky play, provide online resources. Some parents are very excited to participate in risky play activities, such as climb the tree, try to explore tools, etc.
    When parents and family members engaged in risky play activities they can understand all the benefits.

  38. Nikki Meyer

    I feel it is important for educators to communicate with families about the value on a regular basis, this includes using documentation to show what children are capable of and what they are learning. It is also important for educators to engage in reflective discussion about how children are playing in the environments, what types of risks they are taking and how educators feel about it. My comfort level is still at a 9.

  39. Andrea Preissl

    To help children make decisions about the risks I ask them if they feel safe. This leaves the choice and control up to he child rather than the adult deciding whether the child feels safe or not. To support children who are not successful I encourage them and say something like “wow look how far you made it.”

  40. Kathy Barnhart

    I think I am still at an 8 because Im not directly working with a group of children and I know I have some habits to change. I love the ideas and want to shift my reactions but being a grandmother vs a mother it is harder to do.
    The thought crossed my mind in answering the reflection questions that it would be beneficial for me to visit a Forest School. I loved what I experienced in NZ on a Study tour. Id like to see what is happening in Canada given our more challenging climate.

  41. Mizuho Kashiwagi

    I would like to encourage the children to ‘think’ when they make mistakes or fail. I’d like to talk through with them, give them hints/advise, and enjoy adventurous play together. Im still 7, but I do understand the importance of risky outdoor play and I’d like to advocate this topic in my team.

  42. Nadira Ramnauth

    1. Adults will show the children the types of risky play that are being provided. We give the children the choice to choice to choose which risky play he or she would like to participate in. If a child does not feel comfortable with the risky play provided, we respect their decision.
    2. We support the children by giving them compliments and acknowledge their success. We let the children know that they did a great job participating in the risky play activities. We let them know that they did well trying to reach the top of the hill. We encourage them to keep on trying until they are successful.
    3. We communicate with families about the importance of risky play by letting them know the different skills children develop during risky activities. We also let parents know how risky play can help children overcome their fears and gain confidence in themselves. We communicate with parents on a daily basis.
    4. Taking training, attending seminars and looking for resources helped me develop knowledge and comfort on risk taking. I will stick to 9/10.

  43. Joanne Falk

    Most of the time with risky play, I find myself pretty comfortable, so I will stay at 8, there are a few times where I want to run over to a child, tell them no and take them off of whatever it is they are climbing/doing in regards to risky play, but I need to pause and remember that they need to do risky play and know what they are comfortable with.

  44. Nicole Morrell

    How do adults help children make decisions about the risks they wish to take? – They ask them if they feel safe instead of telling them to be careful so they learn to assess risk on their own based off how their body feels and their reaction to the physical feeling of being a risk taker
    How do adults support children in helping children learn from their risks, especially with those that are not successful? They encourage them to try again, they tell them that they are proud of them for trying, they encourage them to not be discouraged, the problem solve together how to accomplish the task in a different way.
    How do you offer children support for some of their explorations without reducing their enthusiasm for their potential idea?- I let them do it, I stay close, I monitor, and I provide encouragement
    How do you communicate with families about the value of children’s risk taking and how often do you have such communication?- Through resources, through documentation (learning stories on their children taking risks), through conversation, through newsletter articles
    How do you continue to develop your knowledge and comfort for risk taking?- I continue to learn and work to reflect on my values

    I am still a 9/10

  45. Alphonsine Hategekimana

    I will choose the number 2 because when parents are involved in their child’s activities, they are aware of the benefit of the play and what it will contribute to the child development. Even though the risks are worrisome when it comes to write an injury report, the parents will be aware that their child is having fun. In addition, since the beginning of this module, I see that there are times when children are not allowed to take risks, because we are afraid of what might happen to the child and yet the child is exploring more and taking risks.

  46. Erin Lihou

    I would choose number 2 as it would be great to have parents involved with their children if they were exploring risky play. Also it allows the facility to make sure they are abiding by rules as it becomes parents right to allow the risky play or not.

  47. Erin Lihou

    I would choose number 2 as it would be great to have parents involved with their children if they were exploring risky play. Also it allows the facility to make sure they are abiding by rules as it becomes parents right to allow the risky play or not. There is the big question of how a facility can offer such play while staying within the guidelines set out for the program

  48. Hilary Geddes

    I would love to have more of these risky play experiences but working in a licensed child care facility that has to follow many restrictions put on by lisenceing i am not sure how i would navigate around such.

  49. Janice Duncan

    How do adults help children make decisions about the risks they wish to take?

    I think that knowing the children in your group is important, through watching their play and listening to their comments one can understand where children are at with their comfort level. Some children ask for help as they tackle something new like hanging from a bar, I provide general guidance like….what if you try this? comments like “your arm muscles are getting strong when you hang like that! “Wow look at you, you are hanging from a bar, I bet you are proud.” My goal is to scaffold emerging skills and provide just the right amount of support.
    I watch the child’s expressions on their face, if they are getting too uncomfortable they usually say something like “I’m scared”. I ask do you want to keep going or would you like to do something else? Children also learn from and are inspired by one another so most often a child develops skill through watching others and practicing too.

  50. Laura Mcintosh

    My comfort level has grown when it comes to risky play by reading the module and seeing how many early learning professionals have identified the different developmental areas it can increase.

  51. Kathryn Armstrong

    I believe my comfort level for risky play is quite high but as many have already stated it is not my comfort level that will always determine what we can do. Moving the powers that be towards a more open and welcoming attitude to risky play is really needed.

  52. Stephanie Vieira

    I number is still the same but like I said before with this module I am learning lots more now and would love to have my number higher so that way the children can be more excited about risky play.

  53. Ai Paul

    My comfort level is little bit higher. More importantly I feel more empowered to share the benefits of risky play with families and co-workers. It is very important for children that we are on the same page.

  54. Kamaldeep Sidhu

    After reading this topic,my comfort level has grown a little bit,but a couple of staff members do not feel comfortable with risky play, maybe because of some children’s behaviour,I think I need more discussion with my staff on risky play.

  55. Jaclyn Geiger

    I see the importance of engaging and keeping the whole team of support of each learner on board including parents. I still feel like I am comfortable at an 8 out of 10 but still want to glean more information and understanding. I do wonder how the pressure of others expectations will feel as we step out as outdoor educators as this is not always seen as learning but play. When we add risk I could see struggles with school staffing to convince others who are not as comfortable or informed. I now understand a lot of time will be spent in educating myself and others.

  56. Deborah Fehr

    I started with an 8 and I’m still at an 8. I do however, have more ideas about how I can work with centres/educators to support their greater understanding of the importance or outdoor play. Living in a cold country is difficult for many people who think that 0 is too cold to go out or rain is too wet or wind is too windy. This course is providing me with multiple ways to support others in increasing their outdoor play time.

  57. Lorraine Kok

    My comfort level at the start was about a 7 I am now probly a 8 or 9 now that I have done the previous modules I see the benifits.

  58. Carrie Maclellan 

    I struggle with this piece as I find a lot of the hesitation I am feeling is not about my own insecurities of risky play but around the parameters set out by our licensing board! There are so many things that I would love to try but I know if licensing walked into our outdoor space while we were incorporating these activities, we would be written up. One great example is we have one climber that children under 3 are not permitted to play on. It has a rock wall feature climbing to the top and there is a child that is developmentally ready to use this climber but as per licensing we are told we cannot allow this child to take the risks that they (and we) feel they are ready for.

  59. Heather Howard

    My initial comfort level was about a 7 and I do feel it has increased slightly. Allowing children to assess their own risk while still being present and available to them is something that I feel is important. Engaging with the child and asking the right questions which will allow them to then make decisions which encourage critical thinking, problem solving and self-awareness.

  60. Christine Villeneuve

    I still feel my comfort level is between 7-8/10. I find if parents are concerned, if educators aren’t as confident, I spend time finding resources and educating them on the benefits of risky play. One educator recently said she asks children if they feel safe, or what do they need to feel safe? This was eye-opening to me and I use this more frequently now.

  61. Carli Olson

    I have my own question. How does a licensed facility combat with licensing on risky play with the younger bunch? Lately our children I(Infants and Toddlers) have been climbing the chain link fences we have and they are incredible at it. I know that if licensing came they would more then likely not be happy. Or allowing children under three to branch out when they are obviously ready to do so and climb on something higher then 3 feet. This has been a reoccurring thought in my head throughout this training

  62. Patricia Lynch-Staunton

    We invite you to answer some of these questions in the comment section and also go back to the number you chose out of ten at the beginning of the module about your comfort level with risky play. Do you want to change that number? Are you more comfortable or less comfortable?
    A key question for me is, “How do adults help children make decisions about the risks they wish to take?” This question helps educators think about leaving the control of the play n the child’s hands. The way I do this is firstly removing any hazards beforehand. This narrows the range of risk the child needs to assess. Then, I ask the child about heir paln and goals. “This looks interesting. What are you going to do here? Is there anything you have to think about? Where do you want me to be?”

    My comfort level with risk remains high overall. Although, when engaging with a child I do not yet know, it goes down until I can observe and see how competent their risk assessment is and what participation is required of me.

  63. Alison Rinas

    I believe in providing children with the trust to make their decisions bases on their comfortable level of risk. Each child will have their own comfort level with risk. I believe in asking children if they feel safe when trying a risky element in their play instead of telling them to be careful or how do something, allows children’s to access their own risk and remember what the safety guideline that were set out by the educator and group, for them to access and change or challenge themselves.

  64. Randi Robertson

    At the beginning of this module i said my comfort level was about a 7 or an 8 but i would probably say my comfort level is at about a solid 8 or even a 9 now.

  65. Romy Ralph

    My comfort level has grown but I feel it will still be a challenge because some of my co workers and parent’s do not see the benefits of risky play. I guess more education will have to happen to change that.

  66. Susanne Saunders

    i am starting to feel better about risky play. Understanding more. My number will stay the same. I will be making changes in the way I looked at risky play.

  67. Kim Hoey

    I think that I am even more confident now than before. I am willing to let the children do more risky play. Maybe 8/9 now.

  68. Anita Morgan

    My comfort level is about the same, however I feel more confident sharing the benefits of risky play with parents and staff

  69. Jessica Popp

    My comfort level is defiantly growing, I would put my self around a 8. Partially because I do have the opportunity to practice implementation on a regular basis, but I can see the value and understand the process. It is a pet peeve of mine when educators say be careful, I have been introducing using the phrase – I notice, or do you notice.

  70. Taylor Aichelberger

    In reading these reflection questions, the most important point that came up for me was the understanding that everyone involved in the child’s life needs to be informed, educated and on the same page regarding the benefits and necessity of safe risky play. At the beginning of this module, my comfort level was about an 8/10. Now, I think that I am closer to a 9 and that will continue to improve with experience.