Children are positively or negatively influenced by the language and communication strategies early learning teachers use with them. As well, how early learning teachers interpret and express themselves impacts the overall language that is used as a community of professionals. In the early learning sector, teachers benefit from being conscious of their choices of words so that they support outdoor play and the potential of young children to want to engage in play and learn outside.
Click on the audio play buttons below for adventurous play, challenging play, and risky play to hear the definition. As you listen to the words spoken, consider how hearing them makes you feel as an educator. Can you describe your feelings? It may help to look through this list of 62 words that describe feelings. Are you at ease when you hear about risky play? Perhaps when you hear the description of risky play, you are worried. You might be anxious and worry about how you will support children’s opportunities for risky, challenging and adventurous play and at the same time keep them safe. Consider the feelings listed in the table of feelings as you listen. Write down a list of five feelings that were evoked when hearing the audio.
Challenging Play is something that children will create themselves as it involves excitement and adventure. A challenge is something obvious to the child where they can determine their ability and decide whether to take that risk. It is different than a hazard, which is something unseen or not obvious to children and can result in injury. Children require challenge in their play in order to move forward in their development. Early learning teachers provide support to encourage challenging play, especially for children who may be reluctant (Solly, 2015).
Adventurous Play refers to children being adventurous by taking opportunities to explore and test their own capacities, to manage risk, and to grow in their capacity, resourcefulness and resilience. Adventurous play is imaginative and creative. Adventurous play can be risky but it does not have to be hazardous.
Risk-taking play, challenging and adventurous play can be risky. Risky play can be defined as a thrilling and exciting experience that involves a risk of injury, but more importantly, offers children opportunities for challenge, testing limits, exploring boundaries and learning about managing risk.
Play In order for an experience to be considered play, it must include a measure of inner control, the ability to bend or invent reality, and have a strong internally based motivation for playing. If there are specific requirements for an experience set by educators or parents, then it becomes work, not play (Dietze & Kashin, 2012).
Choose three words that best describe the way you feel about risky play and share them in the comment box below. At this time, choose a number from one to ten that best describes your comfort level with risky play with one being least comfortable and ten being most comfortable.
Take Different Perspectives – Families
Now go back to the audio and the list of feelings above. Listen again but now imagine that you are a parent of a child who attends your program. What feelings are evoked when you hear the definition of the words adventurous, challenging and risky play? Are they different from your list?
Now return to the audio and the list and imagine you are a child. What feelings do you think a child might feel when engaged in adventurous, challenging and risky play?