March 2019 Newsletter – Children and Risk: Encouraging Risk in the Classroom

Before you can begin to incorporate risk-taking activities, it is important that you reflect on your own relationship with risk. You can take a few quiet moments to think about how you feel when risky situations, either personally or professionally, arise in your own life. What emotions arise when you see a child engaged in a risky activity?

You could also take a quiz, such as this one to guide your reflection.

Next, you will need to work to create a safe environment in which children can explore risks. Of course, through supervision and careful selection of materials, you can ensure safety, but in this case, we are talking about more than just physical safety.

Consider the level of emotional safety that exists in your learning environment. How safe do children feel to take chances? What messages do children receive when they make mistakes? Are children encouraged to try new things or are they shielded from challenges and possible frustrations?

Teachers should work to create a classroom culture where children feel comfortable reaching beyond their current skill-level. Mistakes should be seen as welcomed learning opportunities and children should be encouraged to bring their ideas to fruition, even if they don’t know how things will work out. Risk taking will look different for each child so it is important to observe children carefully in order to notice when they appear to be avoiding a particular challenge. When you notice this, you can attempt to support the child’s efforts through encouragement, modeling, scaffolding, or just simply by letting them know you are there if they need you.

For the main article Children and Risk, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Risk Taking, CLICK HERE

For the article Big Body Play, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Managing Risk, CLICK HERE