Many of us associate childhood development with feelings of security, certainty and protection. While there is no doubt that these are all critical concepts in regards to mental, physical and emotional health, we also need to remember that children should learn to appreciate the notion of risk.
As this psychological article highlights, risk is one of the fundamental factors of life. Those who are able to learn about this concept during the Early Years Foundational Stage (EYFS) are more likely to develop coping mechanisms as they grow on both physical and emotional levels. Let us first examine the benefits of risk-taking before moving on to discuss some of the ways in which this mindset can be fostered.
Why is Risk-Taking an Essential Part of the EYFS?
Perhaps one of the most logical arguments involves the fact that mistakes can and will occur throughout our lives. No one is perfect and those who are able to accept this fundamental observation are much more likely to embrace a healthy view of the world around them.
Additionally, there are many healthy risk-taking behaviours. Examples include (but are certainly not limited to) learning a difficult game, solving a complicated problem, bonding with other children, and overcoming one’s fear of heights. These will all enable a child to develop confidence and more importantly, he or she can better learn about specific weaknesses at an early stage.
Finally, learning about risks helps children to identify “good” risks as well as those which could pose some type of danger. This type of differentiation will prove to represent an invaluable asset as they grow. So, how can parents and teachers foster a healthy and productive approach to taking risks?
What Steps Can Parents and Caregivers Take?
It is essential to allow children to make their own mistakes so that they can learn from them. Of course, this is assuming that the results will not cause any type of physical, mental or psychological harm. Parents and teachers should therefore adopt a somewhat “hands-off” through the use of Tiny Tracker EYFS tracking software. These applications are excellent ways to record any observations within real-time environments so that the correct actions and conclusions can be drawn at a later date.
Another useful tip involves modelling. Children emulate their parents and caregivers. So, their behaviours will directly correlate to what they observe. This is why it is important to set a good example and to demonstrate how specific risks are dealt with. Children who are able to witness the actions of others are much more likely to exhibit these very same behaviours as they progress through different stages of maturity.
We can now see why taking risks represents an important component of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Children who are provided with the proper levels of insight and guidance will be able to adapt to the circumstances around them as they grow. They can also identify which risks pose real threats; helping to avoid potentially serious scenarios.