The Value of Risk With Children

In the introduction of her article, “The Role of Risk in Play and Learning,” in the Community Playthings online magazine, Collage, Joan Almon observes…
“Real play means taking risks — physical, social, and even cognitive.  Children are constantly trying out new things and learning a great deal in the process.  They love to move from adventure to adventure.  They face the risk of mistakes and even of injuries, but that does not deter children.  They embrace life, play, and risk with gusto, and they are prepared for a certain amount of bumps and bruises while growing up.  Even a broken bone doesn’t slow them down for long.  Fortunately, they heal fast.
“Although no one wants to see a child injured, creating an environment that is overly safe creates a different kind of danger for them.   Growing up in a risk-averse society, such as we currently have, means children are not able to practice risk-assessment, which enables them to match their skills with the demands of the environment.  As a result, many children have become very timid and are reluctant to take risks.  At the opposite extreme, many have difficulty reading the situations they face and take foolhardy risks, repeatedly landing in trouble.”
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