The Children and Nature Network website summarizes a research study called “Outdoor play – Does avoiding risks reduce the benefits?” by H. Little and S. Wyver, published in the Australian Journal of Early Childhood:
“Little and Wyver discuss the importance of children’s experience with risk for healthy development, including children’s ability to develop and refine their motor skills and enjoy and gain confidence in being physically active. The authors also review literature related to the impacts of not providing children with opportunities to engage in challenges and risk-related experiences, including children‘s engagement in inappropriate risk-taking and underdevelopment of decision-making skills related to making sound risk judgments. Little and Wyver discuss the inability of many early childhood educators to provide challenging and stimulating outdoor experiences to children due to restrictive regulations and a cultural emphasis on eliminating or minimizing physical risk.”
Rusty Keeler, in his new book, Adventures in Risky Play, provides a smorgasbord of ideas for supporting children’s challenging and stimulating outdoor experiences…including ways to work with regulators and engage family support. In a testimonial included in the book, Playworker Marc Armitage writes: “As Rusty points out, the greatest barrier to children playing is often we adults and our hang-ups and concerns, yet overcoming those is not only possible but essential if our children are to get the most from their play experiences.”
What is Your Yes?
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Adventures in Risky Play: What is Your Yes? goes to the heart of risk-taking and children. As educators working with young children, we all have boundaries and feelings around what risky play is allowed. Rusty Keeler invites us to examine the cage of boundaries that we have created for ourselves and our children. He challenges us to rattle our cage and discover where the lines are movable. In our role as educators and caretakers, when we allow children to play and confront risk on their own terms, we see them develop, hold their locus of control and make choices on how to navigate the bumpy terrain of a situation. What better teaching tool for life is there?
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