The IB trait that we are focusing on this month is being a risk taker. The children in our classroom take risks often, without even knowing it. The easiest way to explain this to children is calling their attention to it when we see it. Often, this makes the most sense to them, when they are really focusing on moving their body in a specific way, such as in “risky play.”
Risky play is a natural part of children’s play, and children often seek out opportunities for engaging in challenging and so called risky play. Risky play can be defined as a thrilling and exciting activity that involves a risk of physical injury, and play that provides opportunities for challenge, testing limits, exploring boundaries and learning about injury risk (Sandseter (2007; Little & Wyver, 2008). Activities such as climbing, sliding, balancing, jumping from heights and hanging upside down can be considered as risky (Tovey, 2010, pg. 79).
At Soundview we encourage children to view themselves as capable and willing to “take a risk” when they are feeling confident to do so. In our outside classroom, we encourage stick play, water play, exploring heavy objects, building with loose parts, balancing and climbing. Risky play has many natural consequences children can learn from. When children have to manage a situation they learn from their choices. For example, swinging a stick next to someone can hurt them. As the teacher, my job is to step in and share my life experience before a child is going to get hurt, but still allowing them to try some play that feels challenging.