Early Years Podcast

Enriching Learning Opportunities Outdoors

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Episode 6: The benefits of risk-taking in the Early Years with Ellen Sandseter

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Throughout this episode, Ellen Sandseter, researcher and expert in Children’s Risky Play, talks about the fundamental benefits of learning through risk in early childhood and why practitioners must also not be afraid to take a little bit of risk in their practice too.

Ellen breaks the benefits down into two parts, looking at the subject experience and the developmental benefits, and explains that the emotions children experience while taking risks will help develop their motor skills and competencies, self-confidence, awareness, and ability to risk assess, plus so much more!

Learning through risk in early childhood (often referred to as risky play) can benefit children in a variety of ways: 

  • Expressing their emotions – experiencing the thrill of trying something a little out of their comfort zone or overcoming a fear or worry. 
  • Physical development – exploring their physical limits and capabilities by climbing, jumping, running, and balancing! 
  • Self-awareness – testing and learning their own boundaries while becoming more aware of the environments and people around them. 
  • Problem-solving skills – assessing and calculating the level of risk will enable children to develop their problem-solving skills. Practitioners can facilitate these conversations by making comments such as, ‘How many people can fit in there?‘, or ‘That might be too heavy for one person‘. 

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Please note: When referencing the speakers views, theory and work for development of your own materials, please ensure academic reference of the speaker is cited. 

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