A Brisbane childcare centre is to build an outdoor area that challenges perceptions of what a safe environment is for children.
CHILDREN would be given trees to climb in, a creek to explore and material to build cubby houses under proposals for a new childcare centre and kindergarten which aims to buck the trend of wrapping them in cotton wool.
The proposal by C&K, which runs a string of childcare centres, comes as the organisation dedicates an entire weekend conference to the topic of “children’s right to childhood” and the consequences of risk aversion.
International speakers, including New York’s Lenore Skenazywho was dubbed America’s worst mum after she let her nine-year-old travel by himself on the subway, will address the C&K early childhood annual conference at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
C&K chief executive Barrie Elvish said that over the past decade there appeared to be an increasing emphasis “on creating what the regulators and the governments like to say is safe environments for children to play in”.
“By making it too safe we are actually not giving children the opportunity to build resilience,” he said.
“What C&K is doing about it, apart from this conference . . . we have just purchased part of the old Ithaca TAFE at Ashgrove and we intend creating an outdoor environment which challenges not just the existing regulations and future regulations, but also the perceptions of what might be safe and unsafe environments for children.
“We are not talking about blindfold bungy jumps.
“We are talking about the ability for a child to learn through mistakes and a child to learn through failure – a child to learn if you do jump off something too high it might hurt you when you land.”
Mr Elvish said it was part of a risk-benefit, rather than just risk, approach championed by conference keynote speaker Tim Gill,who helped change the way the United Kingdom Government viewed playground risk.
Yesterday Mr Gill said the journey to being a capable adult involved “a few bumps and scrapes and knocks”.