Play & Risk

Play & Risk

Influencing factors on professional attitudes towards risk-taking in children’s play: a narrative review is a peer-reviewed paper written by Martin van Rooijen and Shelly Newstead. Based on Martin’s doctoral research, the paper challenges the traditional ‘risk-benefit’ approach to children’s play. A literature review is presented which identifies a number of complex and inter-related influences on adult attitudes to children taking risks in their settings. A new model which illustrates these influencing factors is presented and it is argued that these factors should also be examined in professional development opportunities for adults who work with children.

First published in Early Childhood Development and Care, July 2016 and also republished in the book Reconsidering the Role of Play in Early Childhood in 2019.

This paper has been widely cited by international risk researchers, and further research using the attitudes to risk model were also published by Martin van Rooijen and colleagues in 2019. These studies looked at professional attitudes to risk in a Dutch context and at the moral friction in developing attitudes and collegial expectations towards children’s risk-taking in play in childcare contexts.

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