This quote is from a government publication aimed at the Early Childhood sector - However my daughter goes to a school where the Kindy kids aren’t allowed to use certain play equipment (eg: the firemans pole) until they are in grade 1. My daughter has been competently descending and even ascending the firemans pole since she was 4. She regularly asks me “Why don’t they trust us at school?” “Don’t they know how capable I am?”.
E-Newsletter No.25 ‘Spaces for children’, included a section on ‘trusting children’, and provided examples of some services that have begun to restore their trust in children’s abilities to negotiate (and enjoy!) activities such as navigating rocky paths and steps, using adult gardening tools and even climbing trees.
Providing a balance between safety and challenge begins with educators thinking critically about their own attitude to ‘risk’ and why they may be ‘risk-adverse’. This can help them to identify which aspects of the environment genuinely represent danger to children, and which risks may be acceptably undertaken by children, where the benefits to children’s learning and experience far outweigh any possible negative outcomes.
‘Managed’ risks are those with controls in place. This means that educators think about issues such as children’s abilities, past experiences, family/home background and personal dispositions—as well as the activity itself—to identify and minimise the potential risks.
‘Learning about healthy lifestyles, including nutrition and physical fitness, is integral to wellbeing and self-confidence.’ (DEEWR, 2009a, p. 30; ACECQA, 2011, p. 63)
Learning about how to live in a healthy way, and being able to take increasing responsibility for making good health choices and caring for themselves, enables children to experience wellbeing in their present lives, and lays the foundation for a healthy lifestyle in the future.
A key part of learning about and adopting healthy lifestyles involves children seeing these modelled positively and enthusiastically by the important people in their lives, including their peers, families, communities and early childhood educators.
Learning about healthy lifestyles often occurs most effectively when educators identify and use the learning opportunities in everyday experiences such as meal times, hygiene procedures, active play times and toileting routines. (Natural Learning opportunities identified and responded to).
It’s funny becasue I had this conversation today.
From one of my facebook chats earlier: