Adult perspectives on children’s risk taking: Outdoor provision in England and Denmark

This paper aims to evaluate adult perspectives on children’s risk taking within a school setting. An international comparison was discussed between England and Denmark in relation to the attitudes, cultures and viewpoints on children’s risk taking from both of these countries that may influence an adult’s perspective. Online surveys consisting of a total of seventeen questions were distributed, through email, by willing participants who were contacted through social media. Parents, Students and Educators from England and Denmark were asked a variety of questions relating to their thoughts, feelings and opinions on children’s risky play, outdoor-based activities within a school setting (N=18); which adults may deem to be “risky” for the child. Participants’ responses were measured through: scenario-based questions; questions set on a Likert scale; open and closed questions. Overall, 7 were Danish respondents and 9 were English respondents, with 2 identifying as another nationality. The collected responses revealed that Danish participants were more likely to exhibit a ‘laidback’ attitude in their approaches and beliefs towards allowing children to engage in risk-taking activities within a school setting. Whereas, it was found that English participants were more likely to generate negative associations with children’s risk-taking, an example being a fear of the child getting hurt. Thus, making them less likely to allow children to engage in risk-taking activities within a school setting. Furthermore, the results gathered showed a greater cautiousness towards children’s risk taking in English participants compared to Danish participants.