While at the park last week another caregiver admonished me for allowing the three year old to climb up and down and around on the playground equipment while I stood and observed. What if he fell, she exclaimed. Don't I worry about him getting hurt or lost? She offered up several other reasons about why I was not a good caretaker. I then began to explain to her that the little person knew where I was and how he could find me if he needed me, that he trusted me to come if he needed help. I explained that I trusted him to explore in this very developmentally appropriate play structure. I also told her (much to her shock) that yes, he may fall, but don't we all fall at some point in life and that's how we learn to get back up? Exasperated she left before I could go on about the benefits I saw him gaining from climbing, but I spoke my piece and went back to observing my little person.
These photos are pieces of what I observed and I believe that they serve as a strong documentation in support of the power of climbing. When I go back and look at these photos I see a little person who is curiously exploring not only the space around him, but his own body's movements. I see him figure out how to move across different types of structures and I see him overcoming his own reservations about moving on certain pieces.