Risk ‘essential’ in school grounds

School grounds should be ‘as safe as necessary’, not ‘as safe as possible’ asserts a new declaration from the international School Grounds Alliance.

While promoting risk-taking on school grounds may raise questions of liability for schools and concerns for parents it is essential for the development of healthy young people, according to a declaration released in September by the International School Grounds Alliance (ISGA). This declaration is endorsed by all 54 of ISGA’s Leadership Council members, representing 38 organisations from 16 countries and six continents.

“Since the world is full of risks, children need to learn to recognize and respond to them in order to protect themselves and to develop their own risk-assessment capabilities.” the Risk in Play and Learning Declaration states.

The Declaration cites research from around the globe demonstrating the benefits of risk-taking and showing that indiscriminate risk-minimization policy can be a source of harm. The Declaration calls on those who plan and manage school environments to take benefits of risk into account. It further encourages parents, school officials, legislators and insurers to devise policies and processes that permit schools to provide activities with beneficial levels of risk.

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