As practitioners, our main concern is to keep children safe from harm. Doing this can be very hard, as at the same time we need to encourage them to experience risk and challenges. If we try to remove all risks from children’s lives we could be risking to restrict their learning experiences. Some risks obviously need to be avoided and we wouldn’t be competent in our role of caring for children and young people if we didn’t protect them from these dangers. Faulty electrical equipment and poisonous chemicals are two examples of what can be clearly dangerous. On the other hand situations such as, climbing stairs, visiting the park, using a hammer or lightning a candle are experiences where is important to access the real level of risk. These experiences can extend the children’s learning and understanding on how to manage the real world in which they live. It is very important that we teach children skills that will help them managing dangers and risk for themselves. Giving children the opportunity to experience a certain level of risky experiences will help them to develop confidence and competence to make their own decisions in terms of risk taking. Risk assessment is an essential part of activity planning and a wide range of factors should be taken into consideration ( such as, age of the children, the nature of the activity, the physical environment, the level of supervision required,…). After doing a good risk assessment the activity can go ahead with the understanding that little accidents that might happen are a part of everyone’s learning experience.
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