National Circus School, photo by Sylvie-Ann Paré

One good reason kids need to take physical risks

In an interview with Active for Life, Patrice Aubertin explained that “constructive physical risk” is an essential element of childhood.

Here’s his explanation of exactly what that is, and why it’s so important.

It’s an idea that I am stealing from [the late] Reg Bolton. The idea is that in order for kids to be enjoying something, there has to be a certain element of risk. In French we call it the “Délicieuse incertitude” [Editor’s note: The Challenge Zone is where an activity has just enough challenge: not too easy, and not to hard].

The risk is not necessarily about potential serious injury. It’s about asking yourself if you can do it. Asking yourself if you will succeed, it’s about that little thing in the pit of your stomach when you are not too sure if you are going to make it or not. And I am including artistic risk in there too.

Both risks will push you to be more creative. You have to find solutions because you are not too sure how you are going to do it. It means you are being exposed because you are outside of the box and if outside of the box, you are at risk emotionally and that is something that you need to get used to because life is like that.

That is why I think risk is an essential element about childhood. That is how kids build their ability to face the various environments that they will be subjected to. There are no two ways about it, If you don’t do it, you are limited.

Physical (and emotional) risks give you a sense of self-expression because it becomes yours. There is nothing better to engage kids than making sure that what happens belongs to them. It lets them see for themselves how it can be done, how they can get there.

photo credit: Sylvie-Ann Paré

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