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Will risk-enhanced playgrounds help build your child’s resilience?




William Haight plays with his five-year-old daughter, Soleil Haight, at the Venice Beach Boardwalk Playground on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 17, 2017.
William Haight plays with his five-year-old daughter, Soleil Haight, at the Venice Beach Boardwalk Playground on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 17, 2017.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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Playgrounds are an important setting to a child’s development, from providing opportunities for physical activities to contributing to cognitive learning.

For decades educators invested in minimizing risks for children in playgrounds. Sand, for instance, has been used more sparingly in public playgrounds in recent decades because of the danger of hidden glass or animal feces, part of the “sterilization” of play that risk advocates complain about.

But this notion is being challenged today. Researchers are working on bringing that element of risk back into a child’s everyday environment. Bringing in risk, some researchers say, helps build resilience in children. Do you think a risk-enhanced playground will do more good than harm?

With guest host Libby Denkmann.

Guest:

Barbara Sarnecka, associate professor of cognitive sciences at University of California in Irvine, specializing in cognitive development; she authored a study on how people overestimate the risks children face if left alone.



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