Thursday, 28 November 2013

Dressing for the outdoors - keeping warm.

Some children have no problem with wearing extra coats/fleeces & hats from our supplies.

I hate being too hot & would far rather be cold & add more layers than be stuck in the heat but when it comes to being outside in our cold weather I like to be nice & warm. I wear about 3-4 layers for being outside every morning & usually have ski trousers on too. 
Some years the children are better prepared for the cold than others ans some years they are still wearing very light, thin coats despite it being very cold.
Last week we had a trip to Peatlands Park & all the parents were reminded to wrap the children up as warmly as possible, it was great to see children wearing good thick winter coats, leggings & tights under their trousers & extra tops under their coats. 
It made me think that really the children could be dressed like this everyday in the colder months as we are only outside an extra 40 minutes on the day of a trip.
Image from Muddy Faces

On the days we spend the whole morning outside it is heartbreaking to see young children starting to cry because they are cold & this is not anyone's intention - I do not go out of my way to make children miserable. Even worse is when it is 2-3 children who are cold & unhappy whilst the majority are dressed more warmly & having fun playing outside. We can't just decide to bring everyone inside because a tiny minority are cold. Luckily this year, we have extra staff so it is possible to send those very cold children inside for a few minutes to play some games & warm up before coming out again. We also ended up layering them up with any extra clothing they had in their spare sets of clothing - we do have extra fleeces & coats but some children will only wear their own clothes.

The best clothing guide for outdoors in our climate that I have come across is from Muddy Faces. The key is layering - I keep saying it's easier to take layers off when we get inside than to try adding them when outside.
As it says in the Muddy Faces article:
People often talk about layering clothing, but what does it actually mean and why is it important? Layering clothes is a system that can be added to and removed to sustain a comfortable temperature. Air is trapped in and between the different layers and helps provide insulation. More importantly outer layers can be removed if an individual is feeling too hot, allowing the body temperature to drop to a comfortable level. By keeping a base and mid layer on this prevents the body temperature dropping too much, when outer layers are removed. A comfortable body temperature can prevent too much sweating during physical activity which can cause people to become cold when the physical activity stops.Frequently children have too much or too bulky clothes on which prevents them from moving easily and detracts from their ability to participate in outdoor activities. So getting the layers of clothing right really helps children to access sustained outdoor provision and helps adults to support this.
Ideally for being outside November - February in our climate I'd like to see all the children wearing a long sleeved vest or t-shirt, their school t-shirt, sweatshirt, a zip up top & a good warm coat. They should also be wearing leggings or tights under their trousers & good thick woolly socks - wellies can be very cold without thermal socks or fleece linings. Unfortunately a few years ago our school uniform supplier started selling school coats, they are fleecy waterproof jackets & are really not warm enough for November - February weather.
I'd rather see a child in a thicker coat during these months & I would seriously ask parents to consider if a coat is truly warm enough if the child is wearing it from September right through to June. 
Warm socks tucked over trousers.
Image from Muddy Faces
We are hoping that our PTA will help to finance buying good quality snowsuits for us to use in the colder months but until then I'd love to see all the children layered up for the next few months.

I would also say that in the last 3-4 years it has become much easier to get affordable good quality winter clothing & footwear for young children. So please bear in mind that there really is no such thing as bad weather just inappropriate clothing! 

1 comment:

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