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The Science of Risky Play: Unleashing the Benefits for Young Learners' Development at Sage Academy

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Children are natural explorers, constantly seeking out new experiences and pushing their boundaries. In recent years, researchers and educators have recognized the immense value of risky play in fostering children’s' development. Risky play offers numerous physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits that are crucial for a learner's growth.


As a forward-thinking learner-led educational institution in Granbury, Sage Academy recognizes the benefits of outdoor play, and provides opportunities for young heroes to learn and grow through risky play.



Our daily schedule (find it in our info packet) allows for up to 90 minutes of outdoor time, encouraging young heroes to thrive in a supportive environment. Outdoor play takes place in Adventure Grove, the tree-covered half acre behind the school where learners can build, climb, experiment, and play with supplied natural materials such as stumps, rocks, logs, and more.




Read on to learn more about the science behind risky play, and how Sage Academy Granbury incorporates this type of outdoor play into daily activities to make a positive impact on learners' lives.


1. Physical Development:

Engaging in risky play involves activities such as climbing trees, balancing on uneven surfaces, or navigating unfamiliar terrain. These experiences help learners develop their gross and fine motor skills, coordination, and balance. By challenging their physical abilities, learners build strength, agility, and spatial awareness, laying a foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle.


2. Emotional Resilience:

Risky play provides our young heroes with opportunities to confront and overcome fears and challenges. As they push their limits and test their boundaries, they develop emotional resilience and self-confidence. Encouraging heroes to take calculated risks helps them learn how to manage fear, regulate emotions, and develop a sense of mastery over their environment. This resilience nurtures their self-esteem, empowering them to tackle future challenges with confidence.



3. Cognitive Growth:

Risky play stimulates cognitive growth by fostering problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and decision-making abilities. When learners engage in unstructured play, they must assess risks, make quick judgments, and adapt their strategies accordingly. This enhances their ability to think on their feet, evaluate consequences, and develop sound judgment—a valuable skill set that will support life-long learning and problem-solving.


4. Social Development:

Playing outside as a group promotes social interaction, collaboration, and negotiation skills. As young heroes engage in shared adventures, they learn to communicate effectively, cooperate, and resolve conflicts. Moreover, risky play encourages empathy, as learners support and look out for one another during challenging activities. These social dynamics foster the development of strong interpersonal skills and healthy relationships.


Sage Academy provides learners with opportunities for free exploration and unstructured play in a safe and supervised environment. We understand that calculated risks are vital for learners' development, and we encourage young heroes to engage in age-appropriate adventurous activities, both indoors and outdoors. Through these experiences, Sage Academy cultivates a culture of exploration, curiosity, and personal growth.


We look forward to celebrating and nurturing the spirit of risky play at Sage Academy Granbury, helping our young heroes to thrive and reach their full potential!

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