Hallenge Within a Safe Environmenthow the Teaching Assistant Can Provide Pupils with Oppotunities for Risk Ans C


Jennie Lindon, (Lindon, 1999 p10), States, ‘Adults who analyse every situation in terms of what could go wrong, risk creating anxiety in some children and recklessness in others.’

Everyday life always involves a degree of risk and children need to learn how to cope with this. They need to understand that the world can be a dangerous place and they need to be careful at all the time.

A few children enter early years settings with little awareness of risk. They charge at equipment and can become a danger to themselves and others unless they are taught some boundaries and helped to make judgments about their own capabilities. Particularly in the outdoor area, these children need to be shadowed until they can manage themselves and equipment more safely. Other children, who may have been overprotected at home, may be fearful about trying new and challenging experiences or may be afraid to use physical equipment. These children need to be gently encouraged and supported to have a go with much genuine praise for their efforts. Children with special educational needs may need specific support to negotiate the environment and access experiences.

The Play Safety Forum (2002) argues that: ‘Children with disabilities have an equal if not greater need for opportunities to take risks, since they may be denied the freedom of choice enjoyed by their non-disabled peers.’
Many adults, who are afraid that children might hurt themselves, they simply remove objects and equipment rather than teach children how to use them safely. These adults need to get risk into perspective. As Jennie Lindon states : ‘…no environment will ever be 100% safe. Even well-supervised children manage to hurt themselves, often in unpredictable ways.’ (Lindon, 1999, p9)

An important aspect of teaching children about risk is to encourage them to make their own risk assessments and think about the possible consequences of their actions.