PLAY BENEFITS AND RISK

PLAY BENEFITS AND RISK POLICY – BUSH KINDER SPECIFIC

NQS: Quality Area 3

Purpose:

This policy aims to:

  • Detail the benefits of outdoor play in the Bush Kinder environment, including the types of activities to be undertaken
  • Give parents/guardians comfort that while aiming to develop the children’s self-awareness in managing risks and undertaking challenges, that appropriate supervision is provided to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants at all times.
  • Detail procedures for staff and volunteers to ensure that children are appropriately supervised and assisted during play and to ensure the safety of participants.

POLICY STATEMENT

Values:

Langwarrin Park Preschool is committed to delivering a Bush Kinder program which:

  • Offers children opportunities to safely explore rich, diverse natural play environments while developing self-confidence, teamwork and social skills and an understanding of their environment.
  • Allows children, through play, to experience challenge and develop self-awareness in managing risk according to ability and confidence.
  • Fosters child-led play at the child’s pace.
  • Gives participants freedom to explore using multiple senses which are fundamental for encouraging creative, diverse and imaginative play.

2. Scope

This policy applies to parents, staff, committee members, authorised persons, volunteers and students on placement working at Langwarrin Park Preschool.

3. Background and legislation

In modern society, opportunities for free, outdoor play can be limited and the valuable experience of free play in the outdoors, learning to accept challenges and taking considered risks is one that is not available to all children.  There is an emerging belief that we have developed an over reliance on digital and electronic sources for recreation, learning and socialising.

Langwarrin Park Preschool’s Bush Kinder program will support young children to develop responsibility for themselves and others.  It will encourage early risk minimisation strategies that will ensure that young children start to consider the consequences of their actions, for themselves and for others and will support the children in taking on challenges and accepting responsibility.

This program will support the children in becoming independent, responsible and motivated learners.

Under this policy, climbing, running, rolling balancing will all be available to children, with such support and guidance as is deemed necessary for safety.  At all times, the staff will be guided by the expert knowledge of the Royal Botanical Gardens Cranbourne in relation to hazards.  In a Bush Kinder setting children learn important lessons – what is slippery, will I trip over that?, is that safe to climb?, how many of us can fit on that log?

Relevant legislation includes but is not limited to:

  • Occupation Health and Safety Act 2004
  • Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (The Regulations) and the National Quality Standard including Quality Area 2 – Children’s health and safety and Quality Area 3 – Physical Environment  

4. Definitions:

  • Appropriate clothing – refer to Bush Kinder Protective Clothing Policy
  • Footwear – It is important that children wear enclosed footwear.  Refer to Bush Kinder Protective Clothing Policy
  • Play – Play activities at Bush Kinder are diverse but typical activities and goals may be but are not limited to: Playing imaginative games using the resources nature provides/ role playing/ building shelters or other large structures from branches, with the help of peers and adults/ observing changes in nature/ drawing from life/ climbing trees, walking on logs and rocks, exploring the bush, play involving effects on water, puddles and mud play. 

5.  Sources and related centre policies
● Bush Kinder Delivery & Collection of Children Policy (Bush Kinder Specific)
● Bush Kinder Protective Clothing Policy (Bush Kinder Specific)
● Bush Kinder Emergency Evacuation Policy (Bush Kinder Specific)
● Bush Kinder Snake Awareness Policy (Bush Kinder Specific)
● Incident, Injury, Trauma and Illness Policy 
● Supervision of Children Policy
● Excursion and Service Events 
● Sun Protection Policy
● Water Safety Policy
● Occupational Health and Safety Policy

  • Bush Kinder Risk Assessment 
  • South Mornington Preschool – Bush Kinder Program 
  • Westgarth Kindergarten – Bush Kinder Program 
  • DEET – Bush Kinder Fact Sheet 

PROCEDURES 

General 

The Committee is responsible for: 

  • Implementing and maintaining a Play Benefit and Risk Policy which provides clarity to parents/ guardians and staff as to types of activities the children may be undertaking in Busy Kinder while highlighting the benefits of these activities including improved self esteem, co-operation and ability to assess and respond to risks
  • Providing a safe environment for all participants in the Bush Kinder program
  • Ensuring that all parents/ guardians being aware of this policy and are provided access to the policy
  • Ensuring staff and volunteers are appropriately educated on procedures detailed in this policy 

Staff are responsible for:

  • Supervising the children at all times and ensuring their safety.
  • Assessing potential risks and hazards in liason with staff from Royal Botanical Gardens Cranbourne.
  • Ensure that strategies to mitigate risks and hazards as identified in our risk assessment are carried out as required. 
  • Encouraging children to do things for themselves e.g. putting on clothes, climbing and holding back branches, assessing risk through conversation with staff
  • Talking and listening to the children as much as possible
  • Offering help and encouragement during play whenever needed e.g. a more timid child may need support when climbing a tree for the first time.
  • Encourage the children, during play to help each other, share and to solve problems together, and give praise when this occurs.
  • Encourage children during play to reflect on how they have changed e.g. how they can now walk along a log by themselves.
  • Pointing out features, insects, plants, weather, sounds etc. that children may not have noticed.
  • Taking opportunities to reinforce safety routines applicable to play where ever possible.

Parents/guardians are responsible for:

  • Ensuring protective and appropriate clothing is worn to Bush Kinder by their child in line with this policy including enclosed footwear and long pants.
  • Reinforcing appropriate safety and behaviour strategies.
  • Reading and being familiar with this policy.
  • Bringing relevant issues to the attention of both staff and committee.

Evaluation:

In order to assess whether the policy has achieved the values and purposes the committee will:

  • Seek feedback regarding this policy and its implementation with parents/guardians of children participating in the Bush Kinder program.  This can be facilitated through discussion and the Bush Kinder survey.
  • Ask staff to share their experiences and observations in relation to the effectiveness of this policy.
  • Regularly review the policy and centre practices to ensure that they are compliant with any new legislation, research or best practice procedure.

Authorisation 

Endorsed by the Langwarrin Park Preschool Committee of Management on the 15th March 2021 

Review Date

March 2022