A GoPro Look on How Children Aged 17–25 Months Assess and Manage Risk during Free Exploration in a Varied Natural Environment

A new open access article available. I am so grateful that Steffen and Alexander invited me into this collaboration!

Abstract: Research indicates that risky play has positive effects on children’s development, learning and health, and ability to assess and manage risk, but there is a lack of knowledge on how toddlers engage in risky play. This study aims to investigate how toddlers assess and manage risk in free exploration in a varied natural environment and was conducted within an explorative qualitative approach. Observations were collected through head-mounted GoPro cameras while seven toddlers freely explored a natural environment. The results show that toddlers are able to assess and manage risks in challenging natural environments. They develop their own risk management skills and assess risks directly and indirectly. The results also show that practitioners sometimes perform risk assessment/management on behalf of the child and thus override the child’s own actions. The findings suggest implications for an early childhood education and care (ECEC) practice where children even as young as 17–25 months should be allowed to explore challenging environments and learn how to assess and manage risks



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