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Saturday 27 May 2023

Letting our kids wrestle with skills....

For our little friends taking age-appropriate risks are an important part of their childhood. It helps them learn and grow in so many ways. Here are some of the reasons why we need to encourage our young children to take risks:

  • It helps our little friends to learn and grow. When children take risks, they are stepping outside of their comfort zone and try new things. This can help them to learn and grow in many ways. For example, it can help them to develop their problem-solving skills, their creativity, and their confidence.
  • It helps them build resilience. When children experience setbacks and trying again, it can help them to build resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from challenges. When children learn to take risks and deal with the consequences, they are building resilience.
  • It helps them develop a sense of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief that you can succeed. When children take risks and succeed, it helps them to develop a sense of self-efficacy. This can lead to them taking more risks in the future.
  • It helps them have fun. Taking risks can be a lot of fun. When children are allowed to take risks and explore, they are more likely to have a positive and fulfilling childhood.

Of course, it is important to encourage our children to take safe risks. We should not encourage them to do anything that could put them in danger. However, we should also not be too overprotective. We need to let them take some risks so that they can learn and grow. This is so important for our little friends' confidence, independence, their emotional, social and physical development. And we so often see in our schools which little friends have a hard time with this and struggles to be independent, make choices with confidence and stand up for themselves and others.

Here are some tips for encouraging our young children to take risks:

  • Model risk-taking behavior. Children learn by watching the adults in their lives. If you want your children to take risks, be a role model and show them that you are willing to take risks yourself. Learn new skills like surfboarding and let them see you practicing and falling, trying again. 
  • Talk to your children about risk-taking. Explain to them that taking risks is a normal part of life and that it is important to learn from your mistakes. For instance, you can talk about starting your new hobby like art classes and talking about feelings for instance being nervous meeting new people and learning a new skill, but still trying.
  • Start small. Don't expect your children to take big risks right away. Start by encouraging them to take small risks, such as trying a new food, going on a jungle gym, swinging higher or playing a new game. If they need something that is a bit high to reach, ask them how they can get to it without adult intervention, e.g., they want a bowl on a higher shelf, then they can pull a chair closer, etc.
  • Be supportive. When your children take risks, be there to support them. Let them know that you believe in them and that you are there for them if they need anything.
  • Celebrate their successes. When your children take risks and succeed, be sure to celebrate their successes. This will encourage them to take more risks in the future.

As the adults in our children's lives, we tend to anticipate their needs. We tend to say: 'be careful' so often, that we smother their beings and courage. Using the phrase "be careful" can be helpful in some situations, but it can also be discouraging and disempowering for our young children. It can make them feel like they are not capable of taking care of themselves, and it can discourage them from taking risks and exploring their environment. We want and need them to explore, take risks and be independent, as this is when our young children really learn.

Here are some alternatives to saying "be careful" to small children:

  • "What can you do to be safe?" This helps children to think about safety and how they can protect themselves.
  • "Let's try that together." This shows children that you are there to support them and that you believe in them.
  • "I trust you." This gives children a sense of confidence and empowerment.
  • "What's your plan?" This helps children to think about the consequences of their actions and to make safe choices.
  • "Can you show me how you're going to do that?" This helps children to learn how to assess risk and to make safe decisions.
  • "What if…?" This helps children to think about the potential consequences of their actions.
  • "I'm here if you need me." This gives children a sense of security and safety.
  • "Watch your feet" or "remember it is hot". This helps children to focus on WHY they need to be careful, and it teaches them to reason and think for themselves.

It is important to choose the right words for the situation. If you are concerned about a child's safety, you can still use the phrase "be careful," but you can also add other words or phrases to make it more positive and empowering. For example, you could say, "Be careful (watch your feet, watch your hands, watch the walls", I know you can do it."

The most important thing we can do is to talk to our children about safety in a way that is age-appropriate and that makes them feel confident and capable. By following these tips, we can help our children learn to take risks and grow into confident and resilient adults. These skills will benefit them at school, in the classroom, when visiting friends and in life.


Our Transport sensory tray and why we love sensory trays in our classrooms.


One of our favourite sensory trays for our Transport enquiry: coloured pasta, transport containers, tweezers and spoons.

Our little friends learn all different math skills like 'fill it up', 'empty', they count how many scoops it takes to fill up a container, colours, etc.

 It's also a fantastic fun fine motor activity using the spoons and tweezers.

Sensory activities are an important part of our daily preschool activities, because they offer many benefits for our little friends' development. Here are some of the reasons why we do sensory activities with our little friends in our preschool:

  • Sensory play helps our children learn about the world around them. When they use their senses to explore different materials, they are learning about the properties of those materials. For example, they learn that sand is soft and slippery, water is wet and cold, and beans are hard and bumpy. This sensory knowledge helps our children to make sense of the world around them.
  • Sensory play encourages developing their fine motor skills. Many sensory activities involve using their hands and fingers, such as playing with play dough, threading beads, or pouring water. These activities help our children to develop their hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and strength.
  • Sensory play can also assist with their gross motor skills. Some sensory activities involve moving the whole body, such as dancing in a ball pit or rolling around in a pile of leaves. These activities help our children developing their balance, coordination, midline crossing and strength.
  • Sensory play develops their cognitive skills. When our children use their senses to explore and learn, they are also developing their cognitive skills, such as problem-solving, memory, and attention. For example, a little friend who is playing with a sorting bin is learning to sort objects by color, size, or shape.
  • Sensory play is also great in developing their social skills. Sensory activities often involve sharing and taking turns, which helps our children to develop their social skills. For example, a little friend who is playing with sand is learning to share the sand with their other little friends and to take turns using the tools.
  • Sensory play develops their emotional skills. Sensory play can be calming and relaxing, which can help our children to manage their emotions. For example, a little friend who is feeling stressed or anxious may benefit from playing with a sensory bin filled with rice or beans.

Overall, sensory play is a valuable part of our preschool education because it offers many benefits to our little friends and their development. It is important to us to provide them daily with a variety of sensory experiences so that they can explore and learn in a fun and stimulating way.

Here are some examples of sensory activities that we have done in our preschool:

  • Water play: This is always a huge hit with our little friends and has such a calming effect on them. Our children play with water in a variety of ways, such as pouring it, splashing it, using it to wash other toys in it, etc. We also sometimes add bubbles or essence to it.
  • Sand play: Our children play with sand in our sandpit outside or our sensory bin inside. Our little friends build sandcastles, make sand sculptures, bury toys in the sand, diggs, etc.
  • Sensory bins: Our sensory bins are containers filled with different materials, such as rice, beans, water, shaving cream, pasta, etc. Our children can explore the materials with their hands, from the moment they arrive in class.
  • Painting: Our children can paint with different materials, such as finger paints, tempera paints, watercolors, sponges, rollers, etc. They can also paint with their hands or feet.
  • Play dough: Our children can play with play dough by rolling it, shaping it, pinching it, cutting it, making different designs, etc.
  • Music and movement: Our children listen to music daily, they can also dance, sing, or play musical instruments. We also give them the opportunity to use different objects like bean bags, scarves, balls and hoops for movement. We also build different obstacle courses for our children to move through.
  • Nature exploration: Our children can explore the natural world by going on walks, collecting leaves, playing outside and in the mud. Outside time is our favourite time for all our senses to develop.

These are just a few examples of the many sensory activities that we do in our preschool. The joy and possibilities are endless!


    As parents, it is always important to remember that when it comes to our children, that we NEED to be on the same team, and that we ...