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Episode 8: Adopting a relaxed approach to risk-taking in the Early Years with Ellen Sandseter

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Throughout this episode, Ellen Sandseter, researcher and expert in Children’s Risky Play, shares practical tips and guidance for adopting a more relaxed approach to children’s risk-taking in the Early Years. 

Reflective practice

Have you ever considered taking your next staff meeting outdoors to immerse yourself in some of those thrill-seeking adventures our children are encouraged to experience?

Ellen suggests that this type of reflective practice is a simple (and enjoyable) way to become more comfortable in adopting a risk-taking approach to learning in the Early Years. She also encourages practitioners to remind themselves of the feelings they experienced in their younger years when participating in thrill-seeking activities to create new learning opportunities.

Understanding the children’s competencies

Ellen suggests that for practitioners to feel more relaxed in their approach to risk-taking in early childhood, it is important to understand the children’s individual competency, rather than focusing too heavily on their age appropriateness. Language plays a huge part in understanding this and actively engaging with them to guide and scaffold their learning. For example, using questions that encourage children to confirm how they’re feeling or explain what it is they’re doing: 

  • What is the safest way to do this? 
  • How does the activity make you feel? 
  • Do you think you might be too far away?  
  • Why are you doing this?  

Achieving this balance of open-ended play, and appropriate adult intervention will develop key skills and offer endless learning opportunities. Hear all this and so much more in episode 8 of the TTS Talking Early Years podcast series

Watch on YouTube:

(The views expressed throughout this podcast are the speakers’ own, and TTS does not take responsibility for the views and guidance highlighted as part of this recording).

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

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Approaches to risk-taking in the Early Years with Ellen Sandseter

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