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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 61, 2015
9 REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • SUMMER 2015 - ISSUE 61 In our programs, opportunities for these discussions occur daily, whether it is in the moment, when risk becomes visible, when children are actually doing risky things, or during group times when risks are discussed. Key words that are used in conversations with children include 'benefit', 'dangerous', 'safe', 'hazard',' risk', 'manage', 'plan', 'explore', 'safety' and 'strategies'. As children's understanding of risk becomes stronger through these informal conversations, they progress into exploring formal benefit-risk assessments to further strengthen their understanding of assessing risk in collaboration with peers and educators. Educators model and pose questions to provoke the children's thinking as they explore risks and challenges in their play, asking questions such as, 'Have you assessed the risks?', 'Do you feel safe?', 'What things could you check for to keep yourself safe?', 'How will you keep yourself safe as you...?', 'How do you know the people around you will be safe?'. Educators collaborate with small groups of children to collate their thinking into formally written benefit-risk assessments about common risky play explorations such as tree climbing and building with bricks. In recent play, children were encouraged to contribute to and engage in this process, in their own capable way. As we continue to engage children in formal and informal benefit-risk assessments, we believe that exploring and extending children's learning about risk supports them to become capable learners throughout the whole of their lives. It builds on their skills and capacity to assess risk, problem solve, collaborate with others, document their thinking, challenge their own ideas, as well as those of others, recognize risk in other aspects of their lives, and make informed choices and decisions. "Children are viewed as competent learners -- their natural curiosity and plasticity, their desire to communicate and relate with other people and their desire to grow all offer a rich potential for strong and powerful development" (Ebbeck, Ebbeck, & Wan Kam, 2010, p.10). References: Council of Australian Governments, 2009, Belonging, Being, Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework, Canberra ACT: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Daly, L and Beloglovsky, M, 2015, Loose parts. Inspiring play in young children, St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press. Ebbeck, F, Ebbeck, M & Kam, S, 2010, Reggio Emilia in Practice: An approach to Creativity in Early Childhood Education, Hong Kong: Kendy Publishing Co.
Reflections Issue 60 Spring 2015