A Playworkers Guide to Understanding Childrens Behaviour: Working with the 8-12 Age Group

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Download e-book for iPad: Even the simplest grounding within the rules of psychotherapy can depart scholars poorly ready for genuine face-to-face paintings with consumers. Working with the Age Group. How am i able to boost an exceptional dating with a baby I appear to dislike? How do I continue a good operating courting with the oldsters of a disturbed and stressful baby?

Written in a jargon-free, readable sort, with many actual lifestyles examples, this ebook is a must have source for playworkers looking to increase their abilities as a complete. During play fighting, rats prefer the riskier, more physically and emotionally challenging subordinate position [ 71 ]. Research suggests that if children perceive they are not obtaining challenging and interesting risky play opportunities in public play areas, they may seek these opportunities elsewhere.

These children were also more likely to have sustained an injury in the previous month. The surveyed children overwhelmingly reported wanting their local area to be made safer and have more interesting things to do, suggesting that they recognized the danger and risk of injury of their chosen play spaces but had little choice of available and desirable play spaces. There is evidence to support concerns that absence of opportunities for outdoor risky play will result in children disengaging from physical activity. Furthermore, participants noted that some children used equipment in unsafe ways to maintain challenge.


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Numerous studies indicate that children want to be trusted with decisions with respect to managing risks and safety [ 10 , 75 , 76 ]. Results showed that the children felt strongly about being afforded opportunities for assessing risk for themselves [ 75 ]. They created identities reflecting maturity and competence and which included being able to display their ability to manage risks.

Taking risks allowed them to display courage and physical skills to themselves and their peers. Interestingly, while they viewed minor injuries as a way to show that risks had been taken, there was an understanding that too many injuries indicated carelessness or clumsiness, which was perceived in derogatory ways [ 75 ].

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Thus, they appeared to have their own regulatory system for maintaining risks and injuries at a manageable level. Children in other U.


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Furthermore, they felt that they, and not their parents, were primarily responsible for their own safety. In many cases the children had more detailed knowledge of the local area than their parents and used it to negotiate spaces safely. There is evidence that children learn risk management strategies for themselves and their peers as a result of risky play experiences.

Observational studies of children at play found they exposed themselves to risk but displayed clear strategies for mitigating harm [ 68 , 76 ]. Australian children, for the most part, engaged in behaviours that were well within their current capabilities [ 8 ]. Children appeared aware of potential dangers and adjusted activities accordingly. Notably, children drew on their risk experiences not only to develop understanding of their own constitutions and skills, but also of playmates.

They argued that if children were not provided with sufficient risky play opportunities, they will not experience their ability to cope with fear-inducing situations. Furthermore, they will maintain their fear, which may translate into anxiety disorders. Support for these argument also comes from animal research, which has shown that young rhesus monkeys and rats deprived of play during critical development points later show excessive fear, inappropriate aggression and exaggerated emotional reactions in stressful situations [ 71 , 77 ].

Importantly, anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental disorder in children and adolescents and parental overprotection has been associated with increased rates [ 78 ]. Adventure playgrounds were subsequently championed in England during the postwar era in reaction to the lack of interest children showed to conventional playgrounds and in seeking to provide creative spaces appealing to boys and girls of all ages [ 80 ]. They emerged as staffed and unstaffed play spaces where play workers could provide supervision and assistance, while still giving children the freedom to pursue their own interests.

Adventure playgrounds provide child-centered and child-directed play spaces where children create and modify their own environments [ 80 ].

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Children have access to raw materials such as building supplies and tools, as well as sand, dirt and water. Different opportunities exist for children of varying developmental levels and interests to try new things, such as climbing that is graded for developmental requirements, allowing children to select risk they are comfortable with. Some adventure playgrounds in proximity to farms or community gardens provide children with the opportunity to interact with and care for animals, and grow and cook their own food [ 81 ]. While there are estimates of approximately 1, adventure playgrounds in Europe, they have not been widespread in North America, which is believed to be the result of culture-specific safety concerns [ 81 ].

Research on adventure playgrounds, safety and child development is in its infancy and few academic peer-reviewed articles are available. There are accounts in the grey literature indicating lower injury rates than conventional playgrounds [ 81 ], reductions in aggressive behaviour and gains in social responsibility and social problem solving [ 82 ]. Organizations such as Play England [ 79 ] are exploring methods for promoting playground settings and adventure playgrounds that do not have the same cost implications of staffed adventure playgrounds, yet manage injury risk.

Clearly further investigation is required to understand the developmental and safety implications of adventure playgrounds. However, early data are promising and encourage serious consideration of this model in promoting child risky play. Our examination of the evidence would suggest that such a label is premature. However, we share their concerns with respect to the trends evident in aspects of child safety efforts relating to outdoor play. We would encourage the injury prevention field to foster opportunities to engage in outdoor risky play that align with safety efforts.

An approach can be encouraged that focuses on eliminating hazards, which Wallach [ 83 ] as cited in [ 65 ] defines as a source of harm that is not obvious to the child, such that the potential for injury is hidden, such as a broken railing; but does not eliminate all risks, which involve a situation that allows the child to recognize and evaluate the challenge and decide on a course of action that is not dangerous, but may still involve an element of risk.

This approach has been advocated elsewhere [ 84 ] and is a central component of the Adventure Playground movement.

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Notably, European and Australian organizations and researchers appear to be attempting to operationalise this idea in practice, with North American efforts lagging. Both injury and play organizations, such as the U. Research is emerging which considers optimal strategies for providing children with outdoor risky play opportunities that minimize hazards, such as adventure playgrounds [ 6 , 79 , 86 ] or provision of unstructured play materials that can be freely manipulated in conventional playgrounds [ 73 , 87 ].

These novel areas of investigation have the potential to open up many exciting avenues for injury prevention and represent an opportunity for epistemological growth, cross-disciplinary and international collaboration to foster optimal child development. Special thanks to Genevieve Creighton and Lori Wagar for their assistance in the preparation of this article.

The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Published online Aug Olsen , 2 Ian Pike , 3 and David A. This article is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license http: This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Introduction Unintentional injuries are a leading cause of death and hospitalization for children worldwide, taking the lives of nearly a million children each year [ 1 ].

What is Free Play? Why is Free Play Important? Support for Outdoor Risky Play Research indicates that children have a need for outdoor risky play opportunities.

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Children Have a Natural Propensity towards Outdoor Risky Play Undoubtedly, some children have greater appetite for risks than others [ 66 , 67 ]. Conflict of Interest The authors declare no conflict of interest. World Report on Child Injury Prevention. Child injury prevention and child survival.

Public Health Agency of Canada. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. European Report on Child Injury Prevention. World Health Organization; Rome, Italy: Risk, challenge and safety: Implications for play quality and playground design.

A Playworker's Guide to Understanding Children's Behaviour

Outdoor play spaces in Canada: The safety dance of standards as policy. The perils of overprotective parenting: A Nation of Wimps. Too Safe for Their Own Good. Knopf; Toronto, ON, Canada: A Nation of Wimps: Playworkers are likely to become more and more significant in children's lives; and A Playworker's Guide to Understanding Children's Behaviour at last gives them their due. The case studies bring the book to life and will prove a practical resource when confronted with the myriad of emotions and behaviours that children and young people display. Specific information about this age group is scarce and I particularly liked the way in which difficult issues are dealt with, in context of the year olds' experience and fears, and through discussions by playworkers as they address the situations.


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Acknowledging behaviour as a language, the author introduces a refreshing honesty about interactions in out-of-school clubs, reflecting the excitement, struggles and changing relationships that are the stuff of life for playworkers. Essential reading for everyone working with middle years children! Andrea trained initially as a primary school teacher and taught in various London schools. She has contributed articles to a number of leading childcare magazines including 'Nursery World' and 'The Times Parent Forum' as well as having written papers for teachers and professionals.