May 15, 2018
There's an element of risk all around us, present in everything we do. From the moment we wake up, whether we're off to the shops or off to climb a tree, risk is a part of our everyday life. And despite our fears being increasingly hyped up in the mainstream press, life in modern times is no riskier than it was a generation ago.
In fact, risk is now hugely reduced, the world is a safer place than it ever was and we manage the risks we are comfortable with. We learn this through trial and error, pushing as far as we feel able and pulling back when we reach our own personal limit.
But not so for many a modern child, with parents whose attempts to protect them, can leave their children wrapped in cotton wool, never having developed the ability to manage risk. Risk has become passive, anodyne and even someone else's responsibility.
But we believe in play of another kind.
Safe but not sanitised. Challenging enough to make a child think, safe enough to put a parent at ease.
"Risk is perceived by the child. By visualising their success and choosing the path that suits in approaching new situations, they learn to make their own informed decisions about where their limits lie and they match their skills to the demands of the challenge they face.
And risk is as important to parents as it is to children. Though it may not be obvious at the time, they are watching their children grow up in front of their eyes. Parents themselves learn how much their own child is capable of and reward them with more respect and even more adventure."
Even the fastest of roller coasters isn't actually risky. It's a personal and mental challenge maybe, but the risk assessment was done on the drawing board many years before and your only decision is whether you're brave enough to strap yourself in, close your eyes and hold on.
Now hazards are different.
Hazards we don't like.
They are different to risk, they're invisible and you can't make a sensible assessment of risk if you're not even aware of an existing danger. So we have removed hazards, by designing them out on our drawing boards before they have the chance to arise, learning from the EN 1176 Standard for design and build that we know to be safe. Adventure play should never be completely risk free, because if it is, then there is no adventure and far less sense of achievement.
So we design to challenge, to draw out the skills of parents and children alike, exploring and playing together. This is our sort of adventure and our sort of risk.
Life isn't risk free, let's make sure adventure play isn't either.