Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Ice in the stomach" !

I couldn't help but share this article with you, from Jenny Kable at Let the Children Play. She is an early childhood blogger/teacher from Australia, and it seems she's on the cutting edge of early childhood education. What do you think? I like the idea of being "risk aware" vs. "risk adverse". Children love to move and explore, and in our "planet parker" experience, when given a bit of free range they watch their feet more and take care of themselves, as opposed to challenging the rules of "don't try that!". When we're outside we point out things to be aware of; "that tree has some really poky branches...let's look for one that will hold you up better" and "look before you leap!" child said to me yesterday "I'm not going to jump from this side because it's very rocky. Watch me!" and she jumped successfully to a soft landing on the leaves.
Risk taking should be part of childhood. We learn through the point where we feel challenged. The feeling of having a knot in your stomach is the place where you feel out of your comfort zone. - Rattler Magazine

We all know that feeling that you get when you see your child just about to do something risky.

Your stomach does a little lurch, and you hold your breath without even realising it.   The part of your brain where common sense lives has a little holiday as thoughts of calling out a useless "be careful" or stopping the play altogether take over.  You may already be mentally dialling 000.

Have you ever thought of what the child is thinking at that exact same moment?

Anticipation?  Determination?  Nervousness?  Exhilaration? Excitement?  Fear?  Wonder?  Abandon?  Joy? All of the above?

At the Unwrapping Risk Conference last weekend, Claire Warden shared that in Denmark they actually have a name for this knot in the stomach feeling.  

'Is i maven' translates as 'ice in the stomach' and is seen as a positive emotion and one that both children and adults seek and benefit from.

Wouldn't it be sad, if through our well intentioned desire to keep our children safe, we denied them the chance of experiencing challenges that bought on that incredibly important feeling of 'ice in the stomach'?  

Let's - as parents and as educators - strive to be risk aware and not risk adverse so that children can fulfil their right to a childhood of adventure, challenge, exploration, freedom and risk taking.

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of ice-in-the-stomach! How wonderful for children to be encouraged to take risks in a safe environment. It is a pretty important skill for life.