|My rain gear - not very fashionable!|
I remember days when my class didn't even go outside, maybe because it was raining, too cold, windy or because I hadn't had time to put any 'toys' out in the playground. You know what, now I can't imagine anything worse than NOT getting outside with my class everyday at least once. So what happened? Well a number of factors, I became involved in the Comenius European partnership with a kindergarten in Norway, that had an outdoor class & we moved into a brand new purpose built building. Thankfully, I had already had a chance to meet up with & visit the Norwegian teachers before we started designing our new nursery building. I was able to work with the architect to have the outdoor space designed in a way that I knew meant we would make full use of it all year round. At some considerable added expenditure the architect agreed to add a covered 'veranda' area between the classroom & the playground. This meant that no matter what the weather we can be outside - those who don't want to get wet can stay under the cover.
We also invested in good quality 'rain gear' - waterproof dungarees & coats for the children & adults. This is what makes the big difference - there is no way I could have 26 children outside in the rain, if we then had to change them all when we went inside. At least now we only have to change the odd one who has got a little too enthusiastic with the water.
I love watching the children in September if we are outside playing & it starts to rain - they go to run under the cover or inside, shouting "It's raining, we have to go inside". We then explain that we don't have to go inside, we have rain coats etc. and if they don't want to get wet they can stay under the cover. Usually one of us adults then goes out to show what fun it is to be out in the rain, jumping in puddles etc. By October, most of them don't even notice the rain & it's us who are asking them to remember to put on a rain coat.
The key is that the adults need to be prepared to get wet, cold or windswept. We go outside first thing every morning for at least an hour, so usually the 2 of us are in our rain trousers & waterproof coats from 9.00. This way I can kneel down to help someone with their shoes etc. without worrying about having wet knees, it also means I can sit down anywhere I need to & not worry about getting muddy or chalky. Luckily, my main assistant & I are are in agreement - comfort over fashion any day. The biggest compliment we got was when a colleague in another nursery (who wears high heels & lovely clothes to school) announced she was going to have a dress down day once a week so she could enjoy planting outside with her class - her compliment was "You know what I'm not going to care what I look like that day, just like you 2"!!!
|If everyone is dressed for the weather then they can all have fun.|
Remember there really is no such thing as bad weather.