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ERIC Number: ED405132
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Oct-10
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Coordinating the Elusive Playground Triad: Managing Children's Risk-Taking Behavior, (While) Facilitating Optimal Challenge Opportunities, (within) a Safe Environment.
Jambor, Tom
While it is our responsibility as adults to protect our children from hazards that would inflict injury, it is also our responsibility to provide children with a safe play environment providing challenging opportunities to explore, practice, and reach personal levels of competence. Children learn their own play abilities and limitations through the trial and error of daily play encounters. Once personal competence and a sense of security are gained, children attempt higher levels of play involvement. Inventing new ways to play on boring equipment can lead to risk-taking that increases the chance of injury. Adults should be aware of children's understanding of play challenge. Toddlers have little understanding of potentially dangerous situations and must be closely monitored. Preschoolers should be given opportunities for play that lead to enhanced competence. By age 7, children are unlikely to exceed their ability and take unnecessary risk unless pressured by children or adults. However, some children are inherently more likely than others to be risk-takers at an early age. A constructive approach to risk-taking is to differentiate between developmental challenge and unnecessary risk or hazard. Most playground injuries are caused by hazards rather than poor judgment in risk-taking. The initial step in playground design or maintenance is to identify potential hazards. Completely safe playgrounds may be acceptable to adults but children are likely to reject them and seek challenge and risk in potentially dangerous environments. The quality of children's play within adult contrived play spaces is questionable. We must balance safety regulations and the challenge and risk-taking needs of children. (KDFB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A