Empowering children through involvement in risk assessments

It is important that we provide a safe environment where our children can play and explore. As the nursery’s Health and Safety officer, it is my role to ensure that we work as a team to ensure all environments are kept safe. This is carried out in a number of ways but one that keeps safety at the forefront of everybody’s mind daily is our Daily Risk Assessment checks for indoors and outdoors.

To support children to develop a sense of being safe and keeping safe, we work together with them to carry out their own checks using a pictorial risk assessment sheet. As the children complete the risk assessments alongside an adult, they identify any potential hazards and check that the nursery play equipment is safe to use.

This experience provides them with opportunity to learn what hazards are and to problem-solve whilst putting measures in place. They learn that with effective measures in place we can play together in a safe environment whilst the staff team make sure there is still an element of manageable risks that support children’s development and encourage their sense of freedom and play.

The children from pre-school have taken part in a thorough risk assessment recently as building work is taking place in our outdoor area. Logan greeted the delivery of lots of wood with his hard hat and high vis vest on and going out to check the delivery man was safe and to document what was being delivered.

Logan was great at thinking about other people’s actions and sharing his knowledge of being safe whilst taking the wood off the van. “I don’t think he should be on his own carrying all that wood. We need to find him someone to help him.” He then drew the items and counted how many large pieces of wood there were and then guessed how many planks of wood as there were a lot! He represented number and quantity through marks by writing numbers next to his pictures saying “I will show this to Mark (Our wonderful Maintenance Manager!) so he knows how many wood pieces there are.”

As our maintenance team were due to arrive, Logan, Noah and Mikey completed a risk assessment of the outdoor environment. They made independent choices about which areas they wanted to check and ticked them off. As they arrived, Logan shared with Mark his order list and talked about how it was safe for him to work at Townhouse today. Noah asked “What are you making?” Mark sat with the children and explained that he is making a new shed and that there will be four builders in the outdoor area and that they were going to make the area safe so the children can still play.

He took the children outside and showed them the area they would be working in and asked what they thought he needed to do to make it safe. They shared that “We need to tape it round the wood bits.”

Throughout the day the children have been watching the builders and asking lots of questions to make sure they are following the risk assessments. We are very proud of our Townhouse children and will always support them to develop their confidence and be involved in making their own safe choices.

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