Are scissors too dangerous for young children?
Recently discussed by some early years practitioners was the use of scissors in early years settings and whether they pose too much of a risk to children. It was discussed that plastic blade scissors should be used or regular scissors only during adult lead, close supervision activities where they can be used on a one to one basis but is this all too far? Do the risks of scissors outweigh the benefits?
What are the benefits of using scissors?
Scissors have so many benefits for children in the early years and it is a great skill for them to master. Many settings choose to have scissors out all day for children to freely use and explore because of all the benefits. Some of these benefits include:
· Fine motor skills – Crucial for when the child is ready to begin learning how write
· Cause and effect
· Bilateral coordination (using both sides of the body at the same time)
· Risk management
· Explore characteristics of effective learning
However some argue these are skills that can be promoted in other ways and scissors do not need to be available daily. Children are prone to accidents and scissors can become a dangerous tool as children cut themselves, use them inappropriately and can harm each other with them. Plastic blade scissors take away much of the dangers as the blades are unable to cut through flesh however it is often found that these also struggle to cut through paper making the scissors uninteresting and decreasing the benefits. There are some ways to ensure that children can have access to scissors daily and ensure their safety; so it may be a question of changing a few things and allowing children to develop skills instead of limiting their use.
How to ensure children use scissors safely
· Hand placement – Teach children how to hold scissors properly and where to place to other hand whilst cutting and guiding the paper
· Talk about risks – Discuss with children what can happen if they don’t use the scissors carefully, encourage them to manage these risks and help one another with this. It is also important to talk to the children about what the scissors can be used for and explain why we shouldn’t cut clothes or hair.
· Materials – Ensure the material’s you have available for the children to cut are easy to cut and require little pressure being placed on the scissors. It is great to encourage children to cut through different types of media however is too much force is needed cut the materials it may lead to the children’s precision being compromised. Playdough is great media to cut if you want to try something different
· Place – Think carefully about where you place scissors, children should be supervised at all times however this does not mean someone needs to be sat on a one to one basis nor does it need to be an adult lead activity.