Rich play and learning opportunities need to be influenced by considered design, planning and construction and by the pedagogy and risk/benefit philosophy of educators. This cross-sector resource provides tools and information to highlight the value of self-exploration, discovery and challenge for children’s development. Case Studies from South Australian sites offer stories of experience and conviction, helping children navigate risk and challenge and optimise learning opportunities.

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Subject Area: Risk

Nature Play SA Schools Coordinator Eric Nicholson shares his working knowledge of the wonders of worm farming, taking Nature Play to schools and families and the current generational trend of parental risk aversion.

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This episode of the Sage Family Podcast is an engaging  interview with Peter Gray, Evolutionary Psychologist, blogger and author of the inspiring book Free to Learn. Peter explains why the adult way of looking at childhood can have a negative impact on childhood learning and the consequences of disallowing inoculations of risk. Peter is a research professor of psychology at Boston College and founding board member and president of the alliance for self-directed education.

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Subject Area: Risky Play

Why does the phrase “Drive fast, take chances” elicit both laughter and fear? Researchers have identified a kind of developmentally important play called “Scary Funny.” Listen to this engaging conversation between Occupational Therapist Kathleen Lockyer and Dr Mariana Brussoni, risk researcher from the University of British Columbia to learn more about how a little bit of risk can go a long way towards a child reaching their true potential.

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Length: 1h : 33m : 00s

Subject Area: Risky Play

Each online magazine edition will have script to inspire educators. Print them out and place them somewhere that you can get daily inspiration.

If we allow children

to explore risky play

like jumping across logs

and climbing trees

they will show us just how

capable and competent

they can truly be

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This Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play was developed in Canada in conjunction with a cross-sectorial group of partners, stakeholders and researchers from around the world seeking an evidence-informed Position Statement on active outdoor play for children aged 3–12 years. The Position Statement was created in response to practitioner, academic, legal, insurance and public debate, dialogue and disagreement on the relative benefits and harms of active (including risky) outdoor play. The final Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play states: “Access to active play in nature and outdoors—with its risks— is essential for healthy child development. We recommend increasing children’s opportunities for self-directed play outdoors in all settings—at home, at school, in child care, the community and nature.” The full Position Statement provides context for the statement, evidence supporting it, and a series of recommendations to increase active outdoor play opportunities to promote healthy child development.

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Excellent resource full of great ideas and imagery to help families and care providers restore nature to children’s everyday outdoor play and learning environments. Includes information on the developmental benefits of nature play,the importance of risk taking, where to start and how to implement change in your play space. Includes a list of suggested materials to introduce, different types of settings, how to manage a nature play space and the importance of getting children’s input right from the beginning.

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In this in-depth interview, author and activist  Tim Gill urges parents to consider the level of freedom and types of experiences they had in childhood. He explains why allowing children to fulfill their need to test their own limits helps them assess risks, learn their capacities, gain confidence and become more resilient. Tim talks about unstructured play and what a great play space looks like; garnering peer support from other parents; and what can be done to help the growing number of children suffering from anxiety and depression. You’ll learn why it’s vital to weigh up the risks vs benefits of certain types of play and how to be a little less risk averse and a little more free range.

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Length: 1h : 06m : 00s

Subject Area: Risk, urban planning

Tim Gill  is an independent scholar, advocate and consultant on childhood. His website and blog focuses on the changing nature of children’s play and free time, and their evolving relationships with the people and places around them. Tim argues for a balanced, thoughtful approach to risk in childhood: a position set out in his 2007 book No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society  Tim is a longstanding advocate for child-friendly urban planning and design and supporter of the Playing Out movement.

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Subject Area: Risk, urban planning

Hanna Rosin’s excellent and in depth article looks at why a preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery, without actually making it any safer. Rosin notes, most parents today remember their own childhoods as quite different from the way their children are growing up. Aware that she is not adverse to being a constant presence in her own children’s lives, Rosin takes her 5 year old son Gideon to ‘The Land’ – an adventure playground with a difference in North Wales – where children make the rules, parents are nowhere to be seen and fire making is an every day occurrence.

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