Something our teachers are trained to know is how important it is to allow children to take risks. Allowing children to make decisions on what their own bodies can handle gives them the sense of empowerment over their own bodies. This is important in the early years to instill mental and physical problem-solving skills, in the present and when they are older. We must give children the space to explore their own bodies’ capabilities to allow them to learn.
Allowing a child to challenge her own body and mind creates a strong mental and physical child. To restrict a child from doing large gross motor skilled activities—“risky play,” if you will—could cause the child to fail to develop proprioception, which tells them where their body parts are without having to look at them. Proprioception is the sense that helps your child’s mind understand gravity.
When children learn just what their bodies are capable of, they will climb to the highest point and swing to the highest level possible. Children are astounding physical beings. Given the opportunity they will find a way to navigate a challenge and only ask for help when they need it. They may do so in the form of crying out if they have not yet mastered their verbal communication. This is when you talk them though the challenge or assist as you see fit. Once they discover the thrill of these delightful outdoor activities, studies show that there will be less behavior issues in the classroom.
Healthy active children are less likely to suffer from childhood obesity. Our goal here at DCDC is to keep our teachers and families educated on the latest discoveries behind outdoor exploration. So, when you see our teachers allowing your child to climb to the top of the climbing apparatus or slide down the slide head first, you can keep in mind that we are allowing them to discover their bodies’ limitations and have fun while doing it!