The Office of Pre-Primary Education

Representing the sector and service providers
Service management and teacher support (ChildForum)
Research publisher (NZ-International RECE Journal)
Parent and whānau information service (My ECE)
Find out more - go to About Us

childforum logo

Follow us on FacebookFollow us on Twitteryoutube

Member Login


Risk assessment of playgrounds and children's activities: Or, “why tree climbing is not banned by the Health and Safety at Work Act”

By Mike Bedford
© ChildForum

tree climbing


When the Health and Safety at Work Act was brought in concerns were expressed by the education sector. For example, does the Act mean children can’t climb trees in ECE anymore?

Then there’s NZS 5828: Playground Equipment and Surfacing to think about.

Well the good news is that it’s pretty much all good news. Far from prohibiting tree climbing, the Health and Safety at Work Act provides the ECE sector with the opportunity to use developmentally appropriate safety measures, taking into account the necessary risk associated with children’s learning and skill development. The other piece of good news – the Ministry of Education has acknowledged that NZS 5828 is not legally enforceable in ECE, but should be used as a guideline. This is a great opportunity for a really sensible ECE safety approach!

In this article we’ll look at how risk assessment, the HSW Act and NZS 5828 can combine to develop safety approaches that recognise the goal of Te Whariki:

To grow up as competent, confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit...”


grating cookingRisk Management in ECE – It’s like Adventure Tourism

The approach to risk management that has been historically used in work places assumed that all risks were inherently undesirable.

This meant that once you had identified your safety risks, you should manage them by attempting to eliminate, isolate, or minimise the risks.


Oops ... you are attempting to read material in the ECE Service member area.  Only ECE Services can access this.  Don't miss out!  

To keep reading, you need to login Smile

Is your ECE service not a member?  Look below ↓ for the click here button below ↓   It will take you to the membership page to choose your own unique username and password.  

Don’t miss out any longer, click the button below to join ChildForum

Join Us!



Subscribe now for information you can trust, expert advice and research, as well as access to quality resources. 

We are confident you will be delighted to discover and experience the benefits of membership - so join now and make this message for non-members disappear from your screen. 

Membership Options


Who is this for?
Teachers, Eductors, Lecturers, Policy Advisors - any indivdual with an interest in ECE

$98.00 12 months from the date of joining
$60.00 6 months student-only

Choose your own personal username and password
(Note that this membership does not give access to specialist ECE Service members-only info and support) 

ECE Service Organisation

Who is this for?
Centres, home-based, hospital-based, playgroups ... established or newly licensed.

$198.00 12 months per standalone licensed service
Special rates for organisations with more than 1 licensed service

This membership gives access to professional & research materials enjoyed by individual members PLUS ECE service management area info and support. 

Library NZ-International Research
in ECE Journal Subscriber

Who is this for?
Universities, Polytechnics and organisations wishing to have online access to the NZ-Int Research in ECE journal (includes all past and current issues) 

$125.00 annual subscription, renewable in November each year

A username and password for your library users linked to your IP address.