Good to see a common sense approach to risk noted in the The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2017/18. Those of us in early years have the challenge of knowing that we need to provide young children with a degree of risk and challenge in order for them to develop not only physical, but also emotional and vital life skills while being under pressure from many sides to keep children safe.
“Physical development in early years
The pressures of performance tables and Ofsted are not the only things that can lead to providers compromising on the substance of their provision. The gold plating of regulations and, in particular, health and safety requirements can do much the same.
We know that in the early years, a crucial part of preparing children for school is developing their muscular strength and dexterity. The best nurseries recognise this and encourage children to be busy and active.
But we also know that in other settings this good practice is stifled by undue concerns about the risk and safety of such activities. While it is a basic expectation of any institution that cares for children to carry out proper risk assessments, some level of risk is an essential part of childhood. Without it, we stifle children’s natural inquisitiveness and their opportunities to learn and develop and deny them those opportunitiesto build that muscular strength and dexterity. We hope that nurseries and other childcare settings take a common sense approach to managing risk.