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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Judi- I definitely hear your concerns. I'm glad you see the benefits.
Peggy-I love your description of seaweed-covered ledges. It's unfortunate that children can't engage in opportunities of risky play because of this valid concern.
Rae- I hope more and more people can see the benefits of risky play!
-Tiffany at Exchange
I certainly understand the benefits of "risky play" in developing problem solving skills and managing risk. However, as the director of a childcare center, I can't allow our teachers to take that risk with other people's children. As a parent, I can provide opportunities for my own children to engage in open-ended, more risky play such as climbing trees.
We would love to allow the children more adventurous, rough and tumble play. Unfortunately, we had a child fall from an age appropriate set of monkey bars doing exactly what the equipment was made for. She landed wrong and broke her arm. The parents sued us for medical bills and for both parents' lost wages as they both took her to every appointment. If America wasn't such an easy place for people to sue, I would love to see children play the way I did as a child in my neighborhood - climbing trees, jumping from rock to rock on seaweed-covered ledges, setting up jumps for our bikes, etc. Until child cares aren't held responsible for legitimate accidents, I can't feel comfortable.
I am really sorry to hear this. Why are we all heading in the wrong direction? And what is it going to take to get us turned around?