In the “big yard” at a school I teach at we have play ground equipment for the physical challenge. We also have installed a semi-tractor trailer tire, which also invites more risk. For the younger twos, threes, and four year olds climbing up the tread of a three foot high tire is not always an easy task. But many do climb to the top after several attempts at slipping and falling on three feet of wood chips below.
Often I will watch them struggle with their climb. They will reach out their hands, ask for help, but I give them the nod of recognition and the verbal insurance, that they can do it all by them selves. And they do. It may take several tries, but they eventually make it to the top, even if it happens another day — to the point where they are then leaping off the top, like a frog.
It is not unusual for the tire to be covered with people either standing or sitting on top, but generally they all move cautiously and considerately around each other with out any adult prompting. They are managing their own risks, taken control of their world. In a well nurtured and loving environment, youth are trusted to take risks. But where do those limits lie? Where as an adult do we draw the line? (Feel free to comment below. This is another work in progress.)