Careful, wait – risk taking in a new environment   Leave a comment

These days I don’t have many opportunities to write blogs about children’s play as of course I am no longer a childminder.

However, I do still look after my granddaughter Annabelle two days a week and also spend time at family events with one or more of my grandchildren.

This very short blog is centred on one of those family events – which was a visit to Attingham Park (National Trust).

We had gone to Attingham Park as part of Garry’s 60th Birthday events. Annabelle had been a bit grumpy for some of the trip but had enjoyed running about and picking up sticks (which were all ‘Stick Man’) during our picnic.

Towards the end of the day we found ourselves in the ‘Play Field’ where we enjoyed an ice lolly and then the children explored the natural based play experiences. There are also swings and roundabouts but it was the natural based opportunities that attracted all the children – including Annabelle.

She found a small hill – which must have looked huge to her as a 23 month old.

She ran to it ahead of her mother and myself, and without a backward glance started to climb the hill, as you can see in the photo below.

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As you can see her footwear was right for the hot day but not so good for climbing hills, however footwear was not an issue for Annabelle – she found a way to get up that hill.

As her Granny I can not help myself from slipping into ‘professional’ mode and doing a ‘in my head’ observation. Because recently I have been reading a lot about language and communication difficulties in children, my mind tuned into that aspect.

Annabelle has a good level of language for her age, and a very good understanding of spoken language so I was not really paying much attention to the words she could say – it was her use of the words, in relation to her own risk assessment,  that I noticed.

Climbing the hill, she repeatedly said ‘Careful’ out loud but to herself, as she tackled the uneven surface. As other (older) children went to pass her, she said ‘wait’ – I am not sure if this was directed at the other children – I think it might have been, but as they took no notice of her (and why would they?) Annabelle waited while they went past, then continued up the hill.

On reaching the top she had a big smile on her face!

She then scanned the hill and the way down before selecting a place to descend.

‘Sit Down’ she said – and she did!

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As she slid down the hill, I heard ‘slide’ but also more ‘careful’ as she navigated her way down.

On reaching the bottom – she – well yes you are right – she did it again and again – each time taking a similar but slightly different route – and each time using the words ‘careful’ and ‘wait’

And if you are wondering – as Granny, do I have any concerns about Annabelle’s language and communication?

The answer is ‘NO – none at all’

 

 

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