Conclusion… So, what’s stopping you?
There’s many aspects that could be holding you back from providing fabulous risk-based experiences. Parent concerns, staff unsure, management saying no? Most of the lengthy conversations we have with staff groups during professional visits include how they can introduce more riskier activities in their setting. It all boils down to change, that terrifying word that opens the can of worms… some people love change, and others loath it. Either way, there comes a time when change is necessary, particularly when working in Early Years.
So, how do we help others come around to the idea of change? Change isn’t just about embracing something new, it’s leaving something old behind. If you have done something in a specific way for a while, it can be hard to change your routine. Introducing small changes, swapping one object for another is a great way to start. Replacing imitation objects for real items, pretend food for real food, kitchen items in the role play area, natural materials/sticks and stones in the small world areas or the sensory baskets. These items can then be used around the room for a different purpose; stones and natural materials for transient art, kitchen tins/tubs to construct with or contain in ect. These small changes/introduction of different materials gives you the opportunity to then add and extend further; smaller (whilst still appropriate) pieces, larger scale construction and more unusual fabrics to explore. Whilst these small changes are taking place, it’s important to regularly have a conversation with peers and parents to explain why these changes are necessary and what benefits the children will get/are getting from them. This gives everyone the opportunity to feel included in the introduction of riskier materials. Ask for their help and ideas? How can they contribute.
On occasions there can be a divide in opinion within the staff team. Whole setting training can provide everyone with the same experience and opportunity to discuss view points and work towards the same goals and become a united force. It is very difficult to make change on your own, everybody needs to be on board and have that same understanding. And we cannot stress enough how important that word ‘understanding’ is. You cannot go into something new and expect it to happen overnight, you also cannot expect it to ‘work’ if you are any of your team do not fully understand what it is you want to achieve.
Thanks for reading our collective module, we hope you gained a small insight to how we work and took away something you and your team can relate to.
To summarise – Rome wasn’t built in a day, these changes to your vision, resources, team - must be introduced slowly, start with your colleagues – Introduce them to the idea, role model, check in and believe in yourselves most of all! Continue to evaluate your own judgement of risk, and the children you have – after all you know them best!
Challenge yourself and those little wonders around you! And remember the saying about being yourself because an original is always better than a copy!