The Riskiness of the Playground

  • Stephen J. Smith Simon Fraser University


Risk is described, not as a negative attribute of children's playground activity, but more positively, as challenge and adventure to which children can actively respond. Risk refers to something that is being accomplished by children, some intended activity which expands their sense of the world. Such a positive sense of risk is developed by showing that the riskiness of the playground is a reflection of our concerns for the safety of children and their proper supervision. I describe, in particular, how we might observe children closely and how we might take responsibility for the risky situations in which children find themselves. In so doing, I present a way of understanding how we can bring an underlying sense of security to children's feelings for the playground and for the risks that can be taken there.