Risky Play and the Institution

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Why is risky play important?

Play is the work of the child. It’s how children learn new skills. For decades now, we’ve had research that points to the need for children to engage in risky play in order to learn how to take and manage risk. Play helps children “develop intrinsic interests, learn how to make decisions, problem-solve, exert self-control, follow rules, regulate emotions, and develop and maintain peer relationships.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499858/) In the aforementioned article, risky play is “defined as thrilling and exciting and where there is a risk of physical injury.” It means children are reaching the edge of what they are currently good at, stretching their abilities, and yes, sometimes getting injured in the process.

Where do we go from here?

Institutions must look inward to see if there is a solution that will allow them to better support child development in the area of risky play. I personally do not see a solution given the current systems in which they operate.



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Justin Shell

Justin Shell

Justin Shell is a father, and the founder of MySchool (https://myschoolathome.io). All articles are intended to be perpetual works in progress.