Adamstown Community Early Learning and Preschool Practitioner Research Team is a finalist in the 2019 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards
In partnership with the University of Newcastle, the Adamstown Community Early Learning and Preschool's (ACELP) practitioner action research team is recognised for bringing together academics and early childhood educators to develop a deeper understanding of how intentionally supported risky play could improve children’s physical capabilities and enhance their risk competence.
The risky play curriculum at ACELP encompasses Sandseter’s (2009) six categories of risky play and includes experiences such as climbing trees and using tools. The team aimed to identify whether the positive promotion of risky play through educators' intentional teaching could help develop greater risk competence in children.
Over the course of the research program, ACELP also identified that educators lacked confidence in promoting risky play because of concerns about liability and regulatory limitations. However, throughout the study educators' confidence in encouraging children to take part in risky play at the centre increased by more than 114 per cent, and the total occurrences of risky play went from a total number of 380 to 814.
Following the research program, children demonstrated a greater capability to problem solve and identify ways to manage risks independently – for example, children removing socks when climbing to reduce the risk of slipping.