This article was originally published in the Rowville-Lysterfield Community News.
By Aurora Educational Leader, MJ Donnallen. 

As a leading early education provider, Aurora Early Education uses current research as well as established pedagogy to design our curriculum. For instance, when it comes to risky play, research shows that children who take calculated risks have a stronger depth of learning to manipulate their environment, question their surroundings and demonstrate how to be more resilient and capable. 

So, what are calculated risks? An environment with calculated risks within Aurora Early Education is a supported space where children have the opportunity to ‘step out’ of their comfort zone, and ‘step into’ a well-supervised play space where learning and life-long skill developments can be tried and tested. 

Why is it important for children to take calculated risks? If children never take a risk, or are never ‘allowed’ to take a risk, children will grow up completely protected from any possible harm. Of course, it’s natural for us to want to protect our children from everything; but when we do, this can have the opposite effect, where we don’t allow them the opportunities to explore, discover and connect to their world and the greater community. Providing risks creates positive learning experiences, where the children take on responsibility and gain coping strategies.

Some examples of calculated risks include: 

  • Playing at Heights: Children enjoy the outdoors, particularly when they are able to climb trees and other structures of various heights. As adults, many of us can remember the ‘freedom’ of being in the outdoors and climbing trees to get the ‘best view possible’. The sense of wonder, awe and achievement is one which many children are delighted to conquer.  With guidance and support, educators offer these learning opportunities, so our children can become confident, capable, resilient and agile in their mobility, flexibility and skill. 
  • Exploring Speed: Children enjoy running, racing, swinging on ropes or playground swings, sliding down playground slides, riding bikes and other devices.  The adrenaline and the speed in which children take their levels of play to new heights, really is one which can be terrifying to us as adults. However, children have a need to run around and get their heart rates pumping. It’s a way of them developing their gross motor development as they use and develop their large muscles and coordination. 
  • Fire-Pit: The benefits of calculated risks with a fire pit ensures children get the opportunity to become not only aware of the dangers of fire, but also the importance of the element of fire and heat.