Great Beginnings Southern River adopts risky play program to support growth
Great Beginnings Southern River, a Perth based G8 Education service, has adopted a unique program of ‘risky play’ since opening its doors in March this year, with the aim of supporting children to challenge limits, explore boundaries and learn about injury risk.
Centre Manager Shani Galappaththi spoke with The Sector recently about the centre’s woodworking program, which she says is one of the most unique ‘risky play’ offerings at the centre.
“We introduce the concept of woodworking right from the start in our nursery room, with children using plastic hammers to push balls through a hole,” she said.
“Children work on developing those skills and understanding the concepts right through to kindergarten where they start to use actual hammers, blocks of wood and nails to create objects during supervised play sessions with educators.
“The level of engagement and focus they show during these sessions is well above any other activity,” she continued.
G8 Education Head of Early Learning and Education Ali Evans said the benefits of risky play are unparalleled.
“Lessons about safety and understanding risk can be beautifully integrated with early childhood teaching experiences like woodwork,” she said.
“Woodworking and exploring natural materials is critical to help children grow as curious and creative thinkers.”
While the risks need to be managed, and active supervision is important, Ms Evans said she would like to see more services embrace risky play, saying the need to support and not hinder children when exploring risk is a vital part of scaffolded learning.
The centre is now working to expand its woodworking program to incorporate materials collected through recycling practices.
“I want to start introducing CDs, bottle caps and other objects we collect to the learning so children can start to create more complex designs while woodworking,” Ms Galappaththi said.
“This will assist in the children feeling a sense of accomplishment and build resilience as they problem solve during the creative and construction process.”
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