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Camp Hill State Infants and Primary School > Calendar and news > School blog > Posts > The benefits of risky play
May 05
The benefits of risky play

Our recent Camp Hill OSHC staff meeting was kicked off with a fantastic and insightful interview from Dr Rachael Sharman.

Dr Sharman is a strong advocate for allowing children to engage in risky play time pursuits, and has some very compelling arguments in support of this point of view. Risk in play has long been championed at Camp Hill OSHC and we have been engaging in practical risk for a long time now. The most important thing for parents and educators to acknowledge is that “risky play” is not a category of play, but that “risk” itself is an ever present factor in any play. Not allowing children to actively pursue challenges in their play, which are often considered risky, is literally cutting an Achilles heel in their development.

The irony is of course that aversion to risk is often carried out to protect children at play. This over protection of course hinders their ability to deal with new situations and actually turns a fun situation from risky to dangerous as the child has had no tangible opportunity to undertake sensible risks one step at a time.

The best example we can offer to parents of children in Queensland is swimming. Compared to using knives in kitchens, open fires or climbing trees, water and drowning by far and away presents a more tangible form of risk to our children. However do we deny children access to water to prevent tragedy and assume at some magical developmental level they will be gifted with all they need to know to deal with this risk? Absolutely not! On the contrary we throw them in early, teach them how to swim thus negating, or at least mitigating the risk at hand. As logical as this seems, this logic seems to be applied to comparatively few childhood pursuits these days!


Angus Gorrie.


Program Manager.


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