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Children who are allowed to participate in ‘risky’ play are said to have improved levels of confidence. University of Newcastle professor Linda Newman, Dr. Nicole Leggett and preschool director Kate Higginbottom collaborated on the experimental project in New South Wales, Australia. Their aim was to generate an environment considered ‘risky’ for the average preschool child and see how they reacted to being around elements such as authentic tools and a fire pit. “These days there’s a tendency to shelter children from risks” Newman reveals. “By implementing risky play in a secure environment as part of early learning, we can ensure young children feel confident to engage with risk safely under supervision rather than on their own.” Findings concluded that with risky play, children were using terms connected to risk assessment and management and did not need as much supervision from their teachers. Girls also tended to take part in the activities at high rates, which researchers said helped dismantle gender stereotypes and contribute to a more equalised curriculum.

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