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The Health, Safety and well-being of the child.

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Lisakay Emmott ECE 102: The Health, Safety and well-being of the child "Children need to feel safe and secure but they also need opportunities to take risks and to tackle challenges, developing confidence and self-esteem" When thinking about the topic of risk taking, my initial step was to find a definition. Stephenson (2003) explained that risk taking is 'attempting something never done before; feeling on the borderline of 'out of control' often because of height or speed, and overcoming fear'. Young children encounter these risks several times a day. In the baby it could be trying to sit up and then falling backwards; the toddler stepping that little further and falling down, and in the older child by riding their bike without stabilisers. Stephenson (2003) went on to talk about the feeling of elation when a child succeeds. Initially Susan Isaacs theorised that children should not be restrained by adult intervention, she believed that children should make their own choices, this included risk taking. My understanding is that Susan Isaacs believed that risk taking should not be limited and children should be encouraged at every opportunity. There are a range of issues in the area of risk taking that adult carers need to be aware of. These are both indoor and outdoor risks in both the home and early years setting. Indoor risk taking could be anything from closing a door for a toddler, to scribing in a new and different colour for a four year old. ...read more.


The rules governing our outdoor play areas are becoming more and more restrictive. Although the need for safety is acknowledged, children need to learn by experience. Susan Isaacs felt that when her theories were 'tested' at The Malting House, some were unworkable. An example of this was that one theory meant that the children were not to be restrained in any way. This included physical and emotional risk taking. They were to have a schooling that was free from physical and emotional restraints. The children were intrigued by an old metal roof that was extremely unstable. Rather then stop them climbing up (eliminating the danger factor) and never finding out for themselves the result behind the risk, she limited the activity of climbing on the roof to one child at a time. In the modern day, adults would never subject children to such a risk, and quite understandably. My point is adults are moving too far into the realm of being too safe. Stephenson's second question was, 'If children are not able to confront and conquer risky physical activities are there some less obvious longer term implications we should be thinking about?' As mentioned previously, part of a child's natural curiosity needs to be satisfied. If we are not satisfying that natural curiosity, will future generations struggle to cross the road, as the road and the traffic upon it are 'too risky and scary'. The adult carer needs to be aware that if they set about curtailing natural curiosity, we will be driving the children to a very boring and unchallenging world. ...read more.


The children are therefore enjoying the activity of risk taking, as well as feeling safe in knowing an adult is available to help at any time. Another factor that the adult carer should be aware of is the idea of making a child's environment completely hazard free. Therefore taking away any risk or danger. Walsh (1993) thought that children in an environment that is completely 'safe' could become bored and this could lead to self initiated risk taking that could be dangerous. Durberry (2001) felt that children who grow up in an ultra safe environment would 'lack confidence in their own physical ability'. This would be due to the poor opportunities for the children to build and extend upon their exiting knowledge. He continued that children had to be both confident and competent physically in order to feel competent emotionally. The ideals on risk taking vary from culture to culture. Although the main aim remains the same. The child needs to remain safe, but feel they are being challenged and stimulated. To minimise hazards there needs to be a high adult to child ratio. Children need opportunities to explore and do so independently. Over the last decade, the child's freedom of choice has been limited. Adult carers are sometimes over anxious about letting the child experiment with risk taking. The procedures and guidelines that are in place give the adult carer a frame work on which to base their activities upon. The adult carer should exploit and become fluent in the procedures and guidelines in place. This in turn will provide groundwork for safe risk taking. ...read more.

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