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Scraped Knees and Big Smiles: Risky Play in the Early Years

This event explores the various types of risky play that can be introduced into early years settings, how to balance risk with the appropriate checks and precautions, and how to take parents, staff, and children on this journey to create confidence in risky play and a shared appreciation of its benefits.  

The Context

Life is challenging. Life is risky. When children are provided with the opportunity to take part in risky and challenging play in a safe learning environment, they are developing important life skills such as making choices, problem solving, measuring risk taking, and navigating their way socially and emotionally in group situations. In short, evidence demonstrates that risky play improves child wellbeing and development. 

But parents and professionals rightly have concerns about exposing children to risk – so how do we balance risk with the appropriate checks and precautions?

Join us as we examine the latest policies and research around risky play, and explore how to take a positive approach to risk in order to achieve the best outcomes for children. 

Key Issues We'll Address With You

  • Improving children's wellbeing and physical and cognitive development through outdoor learning, exercise, and play
  • Balancing risk with the appropriate checks and precautions
  • Making the most of outdoor spaces, including land or forest areas owned by local authorities, private landowners, or national bodies
  • Taking parents, staff, local authorities, and children on a journey to create confidence in challenging and risky play, and a shared appreciation of its benefits
  • Observation, planning, and assessment
  • Different forms of risky play: rapid speeds, dangerous tools, rough and tumble, heights, and getting lost 

Confirmed Speakers

  • Marguerite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive, Play Scotland 
  • Sue Palmer, Independent Writer and Education Consultant, and Chair, Upstart Scotland
  • Doreen Watson, Service Manager Children, Care Inspectorate 
  • Rachel Cowper, Programme Manager, Thrive Outdoors, Inspiring Scotland 
  • Kate Hookham, Senior Trainer, Auchlone Nature Kindergarten, Mindstretchers 
  • Alexia Barrable, Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, University of Dundee
  • Chair: Tam Baillie, former Children and Young People's Commissioner

Agenda

09:45 Registration and Refreshments 

10:25 Welcome and Introduction from the Chair 

Tam Baillie, former Children and Young People's Commissioner

Session 1: Creating Opportunities for Risky Play in the Early Years 

  • Improving children's wellbeing and physical and cognitive development through outdoor learning, exercise, and play
  • Creating early years environments that provide opportunities for risky play

10:30 Marguerite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive, Play Scotland 

10:50 Prioritising Outdoor Play

  • Why active outdoor play is a biological necessity
  • Why risky play is essential in early childhood - not just for children’s health and well-being but for the health of society and, indeed, the planet
  • The urgent need for reform of early childhood care and education (0-8yrs) to prioritise outdoor play

Sue Palmer, Independent Writer and Education Consultant, and Chair, Upstart Scotland

11:10 Questions and Discussion

11:20 Refreshments and Networking 

Session 2: Addressing Concerns and Embedding Confidence – parents, staff, local authorities, and children

  • Balancing risk with the appropriate checks and precautions
  • Making the most of outdoor spaces, including land or forest areas owned by local authorities, private landowners, or national bodies
  • Taking parents, staff, local authorities, and children on a journey to create confidence in challenging and risky play, and a shared appreciation of its benefits

11:40 Doreen Watson, Service Manager Children, Care Inspectorate 

12:00 The Vital Importance of Risk

  • Discussing the research as to why risk is so important in childhood development
  • Understanding the adult’s concerns
  • Next steps - changing habits, attitudes and perspectives perhaps?

Rachel Cowper, Programme Manager, Thrive Outdoors, Inspiring Scotland 

12:20 Questions and Discussion 

12:30 Lunch and Networking 

Session 3: Different Forms of Risky Play

  • Observation, planning, and assessment
  • Rapid speeds, dangerous tools, rough and tumble, heights, and getting lost – incorporating different types of risky play

13:20 Interactive Roundtable Discussion

This interactive discussion is an opportunity to reflect on the morning presentations and what you can take from these for your own work. Delegates will be divided into small groups and questions will be set to guide the discussion. 

14:00 How Can Risk-taking Enhance Wellbeing?

  • What are the underlying processes that enhance wellbeing? (The key role of autonomy)
  • Exploring the relationship between autonomy and risk
  • How can we balance autonomy and risk, in order for children to flourish?

Alexia Barrable, Lecturer in Education, University of Dundee

14:20 Benefit Risk Assessment: Indoor, Outdoor and Beyond at Auchlone Nature Kindergarten 

  • Exploring why we undertake Benefit Risk Assessment with Children
  • Discuss methods and the language used to undertake Benefit Risk Assessment with children
  • Demonstrate the methodology through case studies 

Kate Hookham, Senior Trainer, Auchlone Nature Kindergarten, Mindstretchers

14:40 Questions and discussion

14:50 Closing remarks from the Chair

Tam Baillie, former Children and Young People's Commissioner

15:00 Close of Event 

Please note the agenda is subject to change

Get In Touch

Book now or  or call Craig on 0131 285 1688

If you have an inspiring case study or a project that you think is relevant, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are always on the lookout for new speakers. 

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Education

Date
30 Jan 2020
Venue
Cosla Conference Centre, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh EH12 5BH
Cost
Rate
1 place £245 + VAT | 2+ places £195 + VAT per place

There is one rate for all delegates

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Our events are CPD certified. This event is equivalent to 3 CPD points. A certificate is available on request post-event to all attendees.

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