Education Matters

How controlled risk-taking benefits young children

Posted by Mark Dunn on Oct 17, 2016 6:00:00 AM

How controlled risk-taking benefits young childrenFor many parents, the notion that we might encourage children to take risks is at odds with an instinct to protect our sons and daughters. Yet, controlled risk-taking can be fundamental as we grow as learners and people.

Taking calculated risks underpins many of the activities of successful learners. By denying our children the opportunities to take risk, we may rob them of invaluable early learning opportunities.

We want children to:

  • develop academic curiosity to pose questions to which they do not know the answer
  • develop intellectual courage to pose solutions that may or may not prove to be effective
  • dare to try activities which are new and will take them out of their comfort-zone.

Parents and teachers can help children experience the benefits of taking controlled risks by allowing them the freedom to exercise personal choice within the limitations of a safe environment. This can mean:

  • inviting and posing open-ended questions (questions with multiple answers and perspectives), for example: What if…? How else could we…?
  • valuing and modelling the learning that can come from making and reflecting on mistakes, by reframing failure as typical of most first attempts in learning
  • encouraging children to try new activities, alternative methods, and different routes by breaking away from routines and the familiar tried-and-trusted ‘right way’
  • allowing children ownership through choices, but also maintaining expectations while providing chances when these expectations aren’t always met.

By being encouraged to pursue curiosity and practise decision-making, children learn the good judgment that will be expected of them later. This is how controlled risk-taking benefits young children.

At Trinity Grammar School, students experience a variety of safe environments in which to take risks. The process of inquiry in the classroom, the array of co-curricular opportunities and the outdoor education programme offer boys many chances to practise risk-taking and learn from the process, success and setbacks that these challenges provide.

To find out more about how Trinity inspires boys to realise their potential, passions and purpose in life, and to experience the Trinity difference for yourself, register for our upcoming open day.

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Topics: Parenting tips, Outdoor education, Trinity difference, Early learning, Education