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How do we get the balance right between protecting children from possible harm without wrapping them up in the proverbial ‘cotton wool’?

Risky play promotes resilience, which is critical for children to be able to self-regulate, make good decisions and negotiate the challenges in life. However, as soon as you mention risky play some people immediately think of putting children at risk of injury or exposing children to harmful play.

Add parents into the mix and the heat rises, as parents ultimately want their children to be safe (as do early childhood educators), however, our attempts to define and integrate a level of risk for children have in many cases failed. Children need the skills and opportunity to operate in a world that has risks. Risks are to be managed not eliminated.

This workshop will explore how this looks in our programs and explore the following questions:

  • What does the National Quality Framework says about risk taking?
  • How can we encourage children to take risks while ensuring their safety?
  • How can we help young children learn the skills that build their resilience so they can bounce back after life’s disappointments?
  • How can we communicate this to parents?

Upon completion of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Define risky play
  • Demonstrate diverse ways of how risky play might be integrated into early childhood programs
  • Discuss and select strategies with colleagues that support adults to overcome their fears in exposing children to risky play



Completing this course – Risky Play (6 hours) may be used as Teacher Identified Professional Development/Learning addressing: APTS 6.3.2 & 6.4.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation.


  • APTS 6.3.2: Contribute to collegial discussions and apply constructive feedback from colleagues to improve professional knowledge and practice
  • APTS 6.4.2: Undertake professional learning programs designed to address identified student learning needs


This course aligns with:

  • QA 1: Educational program and practice
  • QA 3: Physical environment