Week ending 22/04/2022
Welcome back everyone. What a lovely week of warm weather, giving us the opportunity to do a whole week of outdoor pre school. With this, the children have enjoyed digging, gardening, climbing, mud kitchen, clay modelling, dancing (I like to move it move it is the most requested song) and group games (what’s the time Mr Wolf is their favourite at the moment with hide and seek being a close second). It’s amazing to see how content children are to head straight outdoors when they arrive. We have noticed the rapid development of their gross motor skills, their strength, balance and risk taking. They are thinking critically about their own safety and how to jump and climb in a safe way. We talk about this together and they support each other with reminders. It’s great seeing them being responsible, kind and considerate to their peers and mature in their thinking.
What is Risky Play in Early Years?
At first glance, risky play sounds pretty scary and dangerous, but at our setting we encourage it. So, what is risky play?
Risky play may be defined as an activity that is exciting for children. There may be a risk of physical injury in risky play, but it offers chances for children to push themselves. It focuses on testing limits and learning about boundaries as children challenge themselves with fun and interesting activities where they are trusted to explore the risks involved. It doesn’t focus on actually putting children into actively dangerous situations or allowing them to come to harm.
The Types and Characteristics of Risky Play
Risky play typically involves taking part in an activity that is both fun and also has an element of risk. The risk might come from different aspects depending on different types of risky play.
The Benefits of Risky Play
Risky play is often very fun and memorable. When we take risks, we get a big rush of adrenaline. This makes us feel excited and gets us feeling energised, ready for anything! For young children, risky play in early years is thrilling as a fun activity to push their boundaries and add a whole new level to their play. It makes their activities memorable, too, so taking part in risky play around a particular topic can help children as they learn about it.
Taking part in risky play encourages children as they develop their ability to judge the situation and activity they are in. It’s a great way to develop children’s critical thinking skills as they consider actions, consequences and how to navigate those risks safely. As one of the Characteristics of Effective Learning, critical thinking is a key skill that children will use throughout school and their whole lives. Working on it at a young age gives them a great start as they work out how to interact with the world around them.
Children will learn the specific skills of risk management, which helps them understand simple ways to keep themselves safe. Risky play in an environment where they are actually safe and have adults to turn to for assistance helps them work on this skill in an emotionally safe space. They build a strong foundation for assessing and managing risks as they grow up, where they may not always have an adult to turn to.
Risky play in early years requires exploration, supporting children’s natural curiosity. As another characteristic of effective learning, it’s important to encourage self-driven exploration to help children develop the skills that will help them learn and enjoy learning.
Little ones can also gain a big confidence boost from risky play. By navigating risks on their own, they learn what they are capable of and can begin to grow their confidence in their own abilities and judgements, as well as their friends around them.
You can support children’s growing independence. As well as being a confidence boost, children learn to make judgements on their own in risky play and build on their own thoughts, and develop resilience – a vital life skill. In early years, children are beginning to get a taste for their independence, as they often still rely on adult input for many things. Getting to drive their own play this way helps them build these skills as they build that confidence and become comfortable with their own independence.
Risky play in early years encourages social activities, as they will often play together in groups for many risky place activities. They learn to trust each other and support each other, working out how to keep themselves and each other safe. It’s a lovely way for children to build bonds with their peers while finding their own limits in social situations.
Many physical activities are perfect for supporting physical development in children. Risky play refers to many activities that are extra useful for developing gross motor skills, like running, jumping, balancing and climbing. Children have to work to manipulate their bodies safely, which is a great exercise to support their fitness and skill development.
Thank you to all of you who attended the stay and play, it was wonderful to be bringing those parent partnerships back into our pre school practice, we look forward to having you all back in soon. We love the opportunity to show you how happy and settled the children are and how secure they feel with the team here and within their friendships.
We would like to offer thanks to the families that offered cash donation to pre school, it is with your generosity we purchased some of the items from the children’s wish list, the children requested more spades and wheelbarrows for the digging pit, they also requested a tent that they would like to open up for snack time and to play in. Those deliveries arrived today and the children were very excited unpacking them. It is so important for us to show the children that they have a voice, that we really love to hear it and to know that we act on it!
Have a fantastic weekend
Jo and the purple ladies 🙂