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Trust Is a Powerful Motivator

by Dexter Lane
November/December 2017
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/trust-is-a-powerful-motivator/5023862/

Learning involves risk-taking. Children, driven to learn about the world around them, naturally take risks. When we provide children with an environment that supports learning through appropriate risk-taking, we trust them to figure out their world, and to ask us for help when needed. Yet our societal attitudes about protecting children have resulted in squeaky-clean, “safe” playgrounds, where risk is minimized. And we’re now learning that these playgrounds inspire many children to take greater risks because they’re uninspired by the watered-down challenges left for them.


Diann Gano, owner of Under the Gingko Tree preschool in Rock Island, Illinois, survived childhood. By today’s standards, some would consider this a miracle. Forests were her playgrounds, and manageable risk was a natural part of daily adventures. Looking back, she’s glad she grew up when, where, and how she did.


Diann had no girls in her neighborhood, which bordered a state forest, so she played with her four brothers and their male friends. To keep up with them, and to not lose face, Diann developed what she thought of as a boy’s sense of “risk-taking.” Following the boys’ path in the woods made all the difference to her.


“I grew up with four brothers, and ...

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