CompSAT HSN – The 3 R’s – Relationships, Risks, and Rewards


Is risk-taking on your list of skills to be
taught and learned? It should be. When you think about the 3-R’s, what comes to mind?
Does reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic sound familiar? Well, with this suggestion from
Betty Jones, ECE CompSAT asks you to reconsider another set of 3-R’s – Relationships, Risks
and Rewards. This video focuses specifically on the topic of helping children and teachers
learn how to be risk-takers, as we explore the competency area of Health, Safety and
Nutrition. We explore how the 3-R’s – Relationships, Risks and Rewards work together to help children
grow in confidence and competence. Yesterday, at the dog park I met this mom
from New Zealand who was telling me how unhappy she is with all the limits her child is facing
at the childcare program. She told me that, in New Zealand child development programs,
kids climb trees, use real tools, and often go barefoot all day. I could hardly believe
it! So I’m looking online to check it out. I think it is true, Maggie. I went to a session
at the California Association of the Education of Young Children (CAEYC) Conference last
year called “International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education (ECE),” and I remember
being really surprised. People in other countries seem to trust children more than we do here. Take a look at these pictures I found of different
child development centers in New Zealand. I think parents and teachers would freak out
if they saw this. We are just so fearful of everything here. When you look at the details in these pictures,
you can see how it benefits the kids. They are not only developing physical skills, but
real confidence. It says here, that in New Zealand, they create
questions to imagine the child’s perspective. Questions like, “Do you know me?” “Will you
let me fly?” Isn’t this fantastic? Can you imagine how different our programs might look
if we had the goal of children learning how to fly? What would we need to have in place to get
comfortable with kids taking more risks? Well, we would need to have good relationships
with the parents, so that they would not think that we are negligent. I think the teachers
would really have to understand the value of risk-taking. We would have to have good
relationships among ourselves to help each other closely observe and recognize when kids
are capable of taking risks that might challenge our comfort level. Look, I found a quote from Betty Jones. “Risks,
like other learning, can be scaffolded, monitored, and guided, just as a gymnastics coach practices
spotting on a balance beam by being close in case of a slippage. Then she says, “Risk-taking
should be on our list of skills to be taught and learned as a whole new way of thinking
about keeping kids safe.” The challenge we face is to allow young children
to take physical and emotional initiative, while guiding them to pay attention to ways
to be safe, too. It is really rewarding for children to master skills that require some
challenge and risks. I wish we could get back into giving kids
opportunities to practice cutting with real scissors, and use real tools, not just toy
ones. It really makes kids proud to be trusted with adult tools. We just need to make sure
they are closely supervised. Well, back to my question. What would it take
to let children fly? That is a great question.

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