It is important to take a balanced approach to risk management so not to over protect the children we care for but providing them with the safety to explore and make some decisions about risks confidently themselves with guidance. Children need to learn to manage some risks themselves and recognize their own boundaries and limitations by practitioners helping children and young people recognize the risks and dangers around them in the appropriate way. Any activity a child does involve some risk even something as simple as painting.
If the activity is well planned and organized, with thought given to possible risks, the likelihood of an accident or injury should be minimal. The secret is to balance the risk of an activity against the benefit to and safety of the child. Risk and challenge are important to a child or young person’s development. Avoiding all risks and challenge would result in a very timid adult lacking in many everyday skills and abilities. It would be very easy to respond to all risks to which children are exposed by not allowing them to explore or experiment.
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Children need to explore their environment – it is one of the ways in which they learn but it needs to be a ‘safe’ environment where risk is controlled by adults. It is important that children are given the freedom to develop their skills, with adult support but not too much intervention. Understanding the stage of development a child is at and their individual needs can help you to provide the right amount of risk in activities, for example children under the age of 8 cannot safely judge the speed or distance of a car on the road, so a child under the age of 8 should never be allowed to cross the road alone.
When children are involved in new activities to progress their development it can create conflict or dilemmas between duty of care and an individual’s rights. In my work setting promoting health and well being is a very big issue and teachers have taken all this in to consideration when planning daily schedules. There are many ways which we can promote health and well being. These are: * Physical activity: this is essential to children of all ages, because this helps to strengthen many parts of the body, especially the heart, lungs, bones, and muscles.
This also links the need for stimulation. Many children might not get the opportunity to run about at home so at my work setting we give the children allotted time everyday (about 45min daily) and take them to our outside area where they can run and play and get all the physical activity that they need. However, if it is raining outside we have a special area inside where they can still run about and have plenty of physical activity. We also promote this through planned activities in class to strengthen their bodies.
Fresh air and light: This is very important for children to be healthy. When we take the children outside we are also giving them the opportunity to breathe in fresh oxygenated air which is essential for growing children and also giving them plenty of vitamin D from sunlight. Our class rooms are also very well ventilated and this ensures that the air is always circulating in and out of the class room and they all face an outside area to allow sunlight to enter the class room throughout the day.
This is important because young children don’t yet know that they must cover their mouth when they cough to prevent germs from spreading (this is promoted though activities in class and also posters in the corridors). So if the air is well ventilated then germs are being reduced from spreading around. A healthy and hygienic environment – by practising good personal hygiene routines and hygiene routines in the setting, this will help prevent the spread of infection