Do We Take “Safety” Too Far?

During my research this morning, I ran across this article by Deb Curtis, an author of the book I am reading currently, “Designs for Living and Learning: Transforming Early Childhood Environments.” There were three things that struck me while reading the article that I wanted to discuss here.

The main thing that struck me was the way that the director mentioned involved the entire staff in discussions of safety. I can relate to the reasons that are given for this collaboration, and this article motivates me to try to encourage this type of collaboration in my own place of work.

The second point that struck me was the idea that children will only try things that they are capable of doing. This doesn’t mean that they may fail while doing it, but it does mean that, as teachers, we should give children a little more freedom to experiment, experience, and discover. The important thing to remember, as a teacher, is that sometimes this experimentation does require supervision, but there is a huge difference between supervision and simply telling a child “no” because of your fears.

The third point that struck me was the level of involvement of the parents, and it makes me realize on a whole new level how important parental involvement in a childcare setting is. The more informed and involved parents are, the less likely it is that there will be contention over certain points.

I love that I am learning all of this (especially the parental involvement part) because it resolves a lot of questions that I have had regarding issues that directors can face when it comes to liability. When parents and staff are on the same page as far as safety concerns go, that can go a long way in establishing a foundation in which to offer the most to the children that you can.

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2 comments on “Do We Take “Safety” Too Far?

  1. Not quite sure what you mean about children only trying things they are capable of doing – children are definitely capable of biting off more than they can chew. I agree that children these days are too often prevented from taking any risks, but child care providers in a very litigious society have to err on the side of caution or risk being put out of business. It isn’t what’s best for the children, but it is the reality of the situation.

    • You are right – in some situations children can bite off more than they can chew. This is where communication between staff members, as well as between staff and children, comes into play. If staff members talk about what they are comfortable dealing with, and children are told in a clear, concise manner what is expected of them, then this can minimize the risks involved. It is all about proper supervision, also. That is probably the most important part of a teacher’s job in this respect.

      As far as the litigious society that we live in, that is where proper communication with the parents comes in. Just as there should be communication between staff members and staff and children, so too should there be communication between staff and parents before an accident happens. Staff and parents should be on the same page when it comes to what all parties are comfortable with when it comes to the children’s explorations, especially when it comes to explorations outdoors. The article talks extensively about all of these points.

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