Helping children to enjoy the benefits of playful risk
Children are being encouraged to enjoy and learn from challenging play opportunities with a "Risk Benefit Toolkit" launched by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The Council has adopted a Risk Benefit approach to children's play. This toolkit will help Council staff and other organisations working with children to weigh up benefits as well as risks when making judgements about places to play or activities to do.
All of this supports the Council's commitment to provide "challenging and stimulating" play opportunities which allow children to develop and grow, as outlined in the Council's Play Policy and endorsed nationwide by the Health & Safety Executive.
Councillor Dine Romero (Lib-Dem, Southdown), Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Youth, said: "Bath & North East Somerset Council is committed to offering children and young people opportunities for them to enjoy their childhood and prepare for adult life. These essential opportunities for exciting play enable children to develop and grow; and it's through childhood play that we first learn to spot risk and deal with it appropriately.
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"It's all about finding the balance between enabling children to get the benefits of challenging and exciting play without putting them at risk of serious injury. The Risk Benefit Assessment process helps to make a sensible, professional judgement on this and is now promoted by the Health & Safety Executive as the best approach."
To celebrate the launch of this approach, children from St Michael's C of E Junior School will join Cllr Romero and Cllr David Dixon at a newly created playful space at Carr's Wood, Twerton, in Bath on Monday 18 March. The children will test out the woodland play area – featuring fallen tree climbs, hilltop lookout, swing and balance/clamber logs – after "doing their bit" for the community and helping to clear litter from the woodland.
Councillor David Dixon (Lib-Dem, Oldfield), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: "There are a number of places for children to enjoy interesting and challenging play right across the district including, among others, Bath & North East Somerset Council's Somer Valley Adventure Play & Skate Park in Midsomer Norton."
For more information on the Council's Play Policy and where to find opportunities for challenging play, visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/playfulrisk.
The Council is also keen for people to share their memories of the life lessons they learned in childhood – as well as sharing photos, videos and tips of how their children benefit from challenging play – via the Council's Twitter feed @bathnes using the hashtag #playfulrisk.
For all the latest news from the Council subscribe to its Twitter Feed: www.twitter.com/bathnes