Risky Play in Early Childhood Education: A Risk Worth Taking



Abstract. This paper aimed to present a literature review, examine relevant studies and present their common aims and findings. Based on this review, the study also intended to discuss and evaluate the current status of risky play in Turkish early childhood education. The literature was chosen through online sources, including several books, reports and many articles in the journals. A comprehensive research was conducted through data bases including ERIC, SCOPUS, ULAKBIM and Complementary Index using the key words such as; risk, risk taking, risky play, risk perception. Sources were evaluated for eligibility based on predetermined categories such as the definition and categories of risky play, the value of risky play, and the effect of teacher interactions and school structure on risky play. The relevant studies were summarized using a template based on the predetermined categories and additional categories that emerged in the review process. In reviewed studies, it was frequently stated that over protective parenting style and a rise in risk anxiety related to children’s safety are common characteristics in modern society during the 19th and the 20th century. At that point, the key role of early childhood institutions in provision of risky play for children comes into question. However, there should be some regulations in schools in order to balance risk and safety. For instance, the staff–child ratio should be decreased to ensure active and appropriate supervision. Similarly, outdoor playgrounds should be improved to eliminate possibilities for negative risk-taking behaviors because of insufficient challenges or boredom. More natural elements could be included to increase the opportunities for risky play or the teacher might carry out outdoor play sessions in natural surroundings such as forests or woodland.

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