What’s the odd broken bone? The deliberately DANGEROUS German playgrounds designed to teach kids how to handle risk that put our safety-first playpens to shame
- A German professor has claimed ‘safe’ playgrounds prevent kids from learning vital lessons about risk management in their early years
- Meanwhile, insurance companies in the UK have refused to insure playgrounds deemed to be ‘too-high risk’ to avoid accident pay-outs
- Research suggests that preventing kids from playing unsupervised damages their understanding of risk management and could harm mental health
- ‘What the spongy surface playgrounds don’t do is teach kids that there is a consequence to falling,’ one researcher said
New German playgrounds are built to be dangerous, forcing children to negotiate perilous obstacles while risking injury if they fall according to a professor of motor development.
Professor Rolf Schwarz of Karlsruhe University of Education, argues that ‘safe’ playgrounds prevent kids from learning how to handle risk in the early stages of their development.
‘If we want children to be prepared for risk, we need to allow them to come into contact with risk,’ said the professor who works with councils and playground designers to develop challenging obstacles.
It comes as Rebecca Faulkner, an executive from New York based non-profit researcher play:groundNYC, said soft landing areas and spongy floors don’t help kids to learn that their actions have consequences.
‘What the spongy surface playgrounds don’t do is teach kids that there is a consequence to falling, and they won’t learn anything from it,’ said Faulkner.
‘The spongy surface really just teaches them that the ground is soft, which, of course, it’s not.’
TY – JOUR
AU – Kambas, Antonis
AU – Antoniou, Panagiotis
AU – Xanthi, G.
AU – Heikenfeld, Roderich
AU – Taxildaris, K.
AU – Godolias, G.
PY – 2004/02/01
SP – 44
EP – 47
N2 – The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of an intervention program focusing on the coordination abilities on the frequency of accidents in the kindergarten. Accidents were mainly “falls during play” (61%), while motor deficiencies were the major factor of accidents (77%). The intervention group (IG) demonstrated a significant improvement of their motor proficiency and reduced overall number of accidents. The control group had a slight improvement. Children of the IG, having low motor proficiency, had fewer accidents by the end of the program. These results emphasised the need for organised development of movement coordination and concrete motor skills in kindergarten in order to effectively prevent accidents.
T1 – Accident prevention through development of coordination in kindergarten children
VL – 55
JO – Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Sportmedizin