Research & reports on risk
Balancing & managing risk in play; reports, research, reviews & official statements.
Reports & research documents are, as much as possible, arranged in chronological order, most recent at the top
A playworkers guide to risk
Providing a balanced approach to risk management in play settings by using the widely supported risk-benefit assessment approach … explores the current legislation and support from a wide range of sources, as well as looking at some of the current playwork theory. Includes the ‘ABC model of dynamic risk-benefit assessment.’ Play Wales, May 2018.
Benefits & risks of tree climbing on child development & resiliency
Study found that children afforded the opportunity to be involved in risky play such as tree climbing grow socially, emotionally, physically, cognitively, and creatively, and have increased resiliency. Gull, Goldstein & Rosengarten, University of Phoenix (US), November 2017
Ofsted’s Chief Inspector writes about safety culture in schools
‘Amanda Spielman encourages school leaders to make decisions based on their experienced judgement’ and criticises ‘an unnecessarily risk-averse culture which does nothing for children’s development and learning’. Gov.uk, 6 August 2017.
Health & safety with Nest in the Woods
A good explanation of risk assessments as an integral part of Forest School, as learners develop their self-esteem and learn to manage risk for themselves. Section on the Language of Risk Assessment, and useful links.
Take a risk, go play outside! ‘An online tool to help parents and caregivers gain the confidence to allow their kids to engage in more outdoor play.’ With sections on – What is Risky Play? and Why is Risky Play Important? Followed by a guided journey to put yourself in your child’s, and other parents, shoes, to build an action plan for change.
Risky outdoor play positively impacts children’s health: UBC study
New research from UBC and the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital shows that risky outdoor play is not only good for children’s health but also encourages creativity, social skills and resilience. University of British Columbia News (Canada), 9 June 2015.
Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play (Canada)
‘A diverse, cross-sectorial group of partners, stakeholders and researchers, collaborated to develop an evidence-informed Position Statement on active outdoor play for children aged 3–12 years.’ It states “Access to active play in nature and outdoors—with its risks— is essential for healthy child development. We recommend increasing children’s opportunities for self-directed play outdoors in all settings—at home, at school, in child care, the community and nature.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8 June 2015.
What is the Relationship between Risky Outdoor Play and Health in Children? A Systematic Review
‘… the review revealed overall positive effects of risky outdoor play on a variety of health indicators and behaviours, most commonly physical activity, but also social health and behaviours, injuries, and aggression.’ International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2015.
Day-care children benefit from risk in play
Report from Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education in Norway believes day-care centres are becoming increasingly fearful about something going wrong. The author has written a book called ‘Outdoor Recreation & Outdoor Life in Day-Care Centres.’ ScienceNordic, 2 November 2013.
Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation guide
Shows how play providers can replace current risk assessment practice with an approach that fully takes into account the benefits to children and young people of challenging play experiences. The document’s overall approach will be useful for those who manage spaces and settings in which children play, and for those involved in designing and maintaining them. Play England, September 2013.
Children’s play and leisure: promoting a balanced approach
Statement from the government’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE), created with the Play Safety Forum, which includes key messages including: when planning and providing play opportunities, the goal is not to eliminate risk, but to weigh up the risks and benefits; those providing play opportunities should focus on controlling the real risks, while securing or increasing the benefits – not on the paperwork. September 2012.
Nothing Ventured… balancing risks and benefits in the outdoors
Aims to encourage readers to take a reasonable and proportionate approach to safety in outdoor and adventurous settings, and to reassure them that managing risks should not be a disincentive to organising activities. It is not a ‘how to guide’. Rather, at a time when many wonder whether society has gone too far in trying to keep children safe from all possible harm, it adds its voice to the call for a more balanced approach: an approach that accepts that a degree of risk – properly managed – is not only inevitable, but positively desirable. English Outdoor Council, c2010.