22 June

As Western Australia grapples with a skills shortage, a local early learning centre is doing their part to start training our future tradespeople early, introducing woodworking concepts to young children.

Great Beginnings Southern River has adopted a unique program of ‘risky play’ since opening its doors in March this year.

In an early learning setting, risky play is defined as learning experiences which provide opportunities to challenge limits, explore boundaries and learn about injury risk.Kindergarten children working on their woodworking projects

According to centre manager Shani Galappaththi, the centre’s woodworking program is one of their most unique ‘risky play’ offerings.

“We introduce the concept of woodworking right from the start in our nursery room, with children using plastic hammers to push balls through a hole,” she said.

“Children work on developing those skills and understanding the concepts right through to kindergarten where they start to use actual hammers, blocks of wood and nails to create objects during supervised play sessions with educators.

“The level of engagement and focus they show during these sessions is well above any other activity.

“The children show incredible restraint and consideration when using these tools which I think highlights their capabilities as engaged learners.”

Great Beginnings is part of the G8 Education network, one of Australia’s largest early learning providers dedicated to its purpose of creating the foundations for learning for life.

G8 Education Head of Early Learning and Education Ali Evans said the benefits of risky play are unparalleled.

“Lessons about safety and understanding risk can be beautifully integrated with early childhood teaching experiences like woodwork,” she said.

“Woodwork and exploring natural materials are critical to children as curious and creative thinkers.

“The risks need to be managed and active supervision is important however these aspects should support not hinder valuable learning experiences for young children.”

The centre is now working to expand their woodworking program to incorporate materials collected through their recycling practices.

“I want to start introducing CDs, bottle caps and other objects we collect to the learning so children can start to create more complex designs while woodworking,” Ms Galappaththi said.

“This will assist in the children feeling a sense of accomplishment and build resilience as they problem solve during the creative and construction process.”

To learn more about Great Beginnings Southern Rivers you can visit the website, book a tour online or call on 1800 517 086.