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Nurseries in the United Kingdom are hindering children’s physical development by playing safe.
The United Kingdom’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) noted that nurseries have taken measures to stop children from doing risky activities. In fact, some have prohibited children from engaging in playground activities, while others have banned field trips.
Ofsted warned that such prohibitions can have a negative impact on children’s physical development. For one, stopping children from doing physical activities weakens their dexterity and muscular strength. Aside from physical development, children’s ability to understand rules and boundaries is also affected.
Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman explained that nurseries are creating a risk-free environment for children to ensure compliance with health and safety rules. Parents are also putting a lot of pressure on nurseries to keep children out of harm’s way at all times.
Pre-school Learning Alliance’s quality and standards manager, Melanie Pilcher, advised nurseries and parents to learn how to manage risk. If both parties can learn risk management, children will have more freedom to do risky activities and their physical development will not be compromised.
Bright Horizons Family Solutions, an early education provider in several countries, has taken action to ensure children’s physical development while teaching risk management in its over 200 nurseries. The institution has health and safety mascots that teach students how to avoid getting hurt while doing physical activities at school and at home. The mascots, called Candy Floss, guides students in making safe choices, assessing different kinds of risks, and taking control of their own safety.