Picture a child learning to walk: arms stretched out with an attentive parent giving words of encouragement. Those first tentative steps, however, often end in a fall, albeit a short drop onto a soft diaper. But without risking that fall, how would we ever learn to walk? If children want to learn, they need to be challenged and that exposes them to risk. Parents who are being introduced to Jump and physical literacy often ask us questions about risk. Many are surprised that we embrace risk! In our mind, when you’re learning to run and jump, bumps and scrapes are inevitable and part of the learning process. The key, from our perspective, is to manage risk by identifying it and mitigating it as much as possible.
Jump manages risk on a number of levels; firstly, our gym has been designed for kids: there are soft landing surfaces and equipment built to scale. Secondly, our staff and policies: all of our staff are trained in risk management and follow a policy that’s reviewed twice a year. Here are a few policy highlights so you understand what’s involved:
o We will always respect a child’s personal limitations o We will work diligently to protect participants from serious harm o We will work diligently to help participants learn to identify risk o We will work diligently to help participants learn to manage risk o We will always take safety seriously and follow best practices
In some ways, the most significant threat to managing risk at Jump is enthusiasm. Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not in favor of cracking-down on enthusiasm – we relish it! But, from time to time, enthusiasm can take hold and place others or ourselves at greater risk. It’s the kind of enthusiasm that might make us rush on to the floor of the gym to say hello to a friend without noticing a hazard or making a noise in the lounge that causes someone to loose concentration on a piece of equipment that we want to mitigate, not the enthusiasm that gets us to the gym early for class.
Since risk management is essential to keeping Jump a safe place to learn and grow, we’re going on a campaign to make everybody aware of how to do his or her part. Staff will be reminding students and parents of our policies and procedures informally and we’ll be putting up new signage inside the gym to remind everybody of the rules. Our intention is to keep Jump and everybody in it safe so that we can all achieve our full potential as staff, students and parents. If you have any questions regarding our risk management policies, please send us an email, call or drop-by and see us.