The Importance of Risk Taking:
When was the last time you took a risk? How did you feel? When children including in child care take risks and succeed, they feel proud and self-confident. When things don’t go as planned, they feel frustrated, learn that things don’t always happen as predicted, and maybe even decide to try it again.
Risk is a vital component of children’s play but is balanced in the Day Care environment. It allows children to be challenged, to face uncertainty, to problem-solve, to work with others to find a solution, and to think outside the box. All of these qualities serve to expand children’s cognitive, physical, and social-emotional abilities. They become the building blocks for later learning and managing of experiences, both throughout school and as an adult.
Allowing children to take risks in early child hood development gives them the opportunity to develop the use of their judgment. When a child starts to climb the side of the play structure, our first instinct might be to say, “Don’t go up that high.” In taking away the experience from the child, however, he never learns what might be unsafe about climbing. He also never learns to balance his feet, grip tightly, and steady himself if he slips. He definitely doesn’t get the opportunity to figure out how to climb down after going up. He may later find himself in a situation—perhaps his friends are climbing a tree in the neighborhood, out of view of an adult’s eye—in which he doesn’t feel comfortable participating because he never learned to climb. Or maybe he does climb and falls because he never learned how to do it!
Risk-taking can also occur in activities that are less gross motor-centered. For children younger than Kindergarten age a child can take a risk and explore gooey sensory materials. Perhaps a child who has never wanted to get her feet wet finally does, shoes and all. Risks can happen when exploring real tools, such as scissors or a mallet, that are a bit beyond the child’s developmental level. When the child decides to give it a try, even when the adults present don’t think he has the capability to do it, he is taking a risk.
When we support children in taking risks, we give them the chance to learn something new about themselves, their physical abilities, and their thought processes. Always make sure your children are safe and secure and still have the opportunity to develop and grown their abilities.
Parkside Early Learning Centre – Child Care Centre Gympie