3 Sure Strategies for Making Rough and Tumble Playing Safe and Beneficial in Early Learning Centres
Thanks to early media exposure, rough-and-tumble types of playing are increasingly becoming common among children in early learning centres. However, rough-and-tumble playing can lead to fights and affect relationships among children if not conducted appropriately. Notably, some early learning centres discourage all form of rough contact. While it might seem like a good idea, it is crucial to understand that rough-and-tumble (R&T) playing has a significant role in a child's development. For instance, R&T helps children to form and maintain social relationships and also understand the limits of their strength. However, without the right strategies, R&T can have a negative result, such as injuries. If you run an early childhood centre, use the approach in this article to make R&T beneficial and safe to children instead of banning all manner of rough contact.
Designate a Room
The primary reason why R&T playing causes injuries is the lack of an appropriate environment. In rough-and-tumble playing, children climb and roll over each other on hard floors and around tables and chairs. Even if the kids mean to be playful with each other, rough contact and hard falls usually cause injuries. Therefore, it is vital that you designate a room at the early learning centre specifically for R&T play. The room should be well padded and free of any furniture. You can achieve this by laying a couple of soft mattresses on the floor and placing padding on the walls. The accessories will allow children to turn, roll and climb over each other freely without the possibility of injuries.
Often, early education teachers pair children of the same age in rough-and-tumble playing. It is attributed to the belief that pairing older children with younger ones can have a negative impact due to the mismatch in strength. While it seems like a valid point, the opposite is true. Young children don't know the limits of their powers; therefore, the kids will try to outdo each other during R&T playing. Picking a partner who is a little stronger and is slightly aware of their strength limits reduces the risk of injury. Additionally, the concept of dominance in the strategy helps to reduce the occurrence of counterattacks which is common in R&T play among children of equal strength.
Supervise! Supervise! Supervise!
In as much as you have created a safe environment and a hierarchical order in your early learning centre's R&T play sessions, adequate supervision is still king. Teachers might be tempted to let children play alone in a well-padded room for the duration of the entire play session thinking that they are safe. While you should let children have fun, always make sure that you check in every few minutes. Ask the children if everyone is having fun and intervene only when necessary.