Wednesday, September 19
I was fortunate enough to be able to scratch out some time, to go to some professional development this week. It remind me of how much I missed being at the college, to take an active roll in my learning. The idea of constructing my own knowledge, with just a few little nudges is something I truly value. This adventure, took me to the Danger of Playing it Safe! (Part 1) for my professional development.
This PD was facilitated by Harmony Simard, RECE and Maria L. Cabal, MSc, RECE. According to the online calendar, I would be partaking on a journey: "In this two-part series, participants will be encouraged to thoughtfully examine traditional mindsets about danger and safety, debunk long held assumptions about risky play, and reflect on their personal comfort with co-constructing play experiences that involve risk-taking. Through the use of action research, participants will be empowered to build on children’s competence and capabilities by transforming environments and updating practices into ones that embrace risky play as a source of meaningful learning." ECEPRC
What was amazing about the professional development last night was the expectations of constructivism. It reminded me of the value of learning ones own learning. Everyday, I talk to my families about the importance of allowing the kids to build upon what they already know. As they construct based on what they're interested in and then we just need to give them a few little nudges. It was interesting to see the other side of the equation, and the few little nudges being put into place reminders of how we feel, what we think, what is our bias on something, and how do we value it?
Moreover, it was wonderful to see so many passionate care providers from a large spectrum in Early Learning and Care: there was Licensed Home Childcare Providers, Private Home Childcare Providers, Centre Care Providers, Centre Supervisors, as well as; DECE and JK SK teacher from the public board system.
This made me, stop to look and reflect on what types of rich risky play experiences my children do experience in program. I was a little surprised going over the last few years of pictures and coming up with these moments. The How Does Learning Happen document, shares the statement "understanding of children as competent, curious, capable of complex thinking, rich in potential". These concepts are something I believe as well; so while I may be surprised in all the risky play the children have engaged in, I feel they have always done it safely, they have managed the risk based on their abilities and I have always been an arm reach away.
Next, I looked at one of my college text book, Pathways to Constructivism book, Ellen Jacobs, Goranka Vukelich and Nina Howe. I found the list of values and beliefs and attached the "things People Value" to children partaking in risky play; the collection was astounding: "achievement, adventure, challenge, competence, cooperation, creativity, excitement, freedom, happiness, independence, knowledge, learning, logic, nature, perseverance, personal growth, power, responsibility, self-control, self-respect, trust, and wisdom."
For the educator, I linked: accountability, challenge, collaboration, competence, cooperation, creativity, decisiveness, efficiency, innovation, integrity, knowledge, logic, mutual respect, open communication, recognition, reliability, responsibility, teamwork, trust, and wisdom." Additionally, I was reminder "In a constructionist classroom, you knowledge of child development and your understanding of the children in your classroom (based upon your observations) influences your approach to curriculum development and curriculum implementation." Pathways to Constructivism
Children's Risky Play from an Evolutionary Perspective: The Anti-Phobic Effects of Thrilling Experience, By Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter and Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair. "Risky play is a set of motivated behaviors that both provide the child with an exhilarating positive emotion and expose the child to the stimuli they previously have feared. As the child's coping skills improve, these situations and stimuli may be mastered and no longer be feared. Thus fear caused by maturational and age relevant natural inhibition is reduced as the child experiences a motivating thrilling activation, while learning to master age adequate challenges."
In the workshop, we talked about the fact that at times risky play can push beyond the educators comfort level, with a clear reminder that we have an active role in the program. We know our children in care, the children's abilities and where they may need support. If we are feeling unsure, we can help bridge a safer way, such as safety hats or on the grass; however, we also have veto rights.
I cannot wait for the part two on this topic. Feel free to watch my little video of our risky play moments below.