"How do you convince staff to go outside no matter what the weather?" and "What do you say to parents who tell you they want their child to stay inside because they aren't well enough to go outside?"
Firstly it's not about convincing staff to go outside - it's really not an option! We provide suitable clothing for all staff (and students or visitors if need be) and as we start outside every day it's not up for discussion, it just happens. It is usually just 2 of us but some years we have extra staff & they soon see the advantages to going outside after a few days - honestly!
|Outside but under the covered area.|
But it all ultimately comes down to communication again, I take time to stress to parents when they first visit the school that we go outside everyday no matter what and again if they are successful in their application it is stressed at the introduction evening in the June prior to their child starting with us. I make it very clear that if their child is sick they should not be at school & that we will not be keeping any children inside because they are not well. As I said earlier, in the past 7 years no parent has even ever said this to me.
|After a while being out in the rain seems quite natural to everyone!|
Last week we had a leader from a neighbouring playgroup come to visit to see how we 'do' outdoor play. She had requested to come on a Friday when she heard that we would be outdoors for at least 2.5 hours regardless of the weather. Yes, she inevitable asked those 2 questions but she also 'got' why we go outside no matter what. She could see that the children weren't in the least bit concerned by the rain or cold. We are very lucky to have a covered area where the children can get changed into their wellies & rain gear & play at a variety of activities, including snack) without choosing to go out in the rain etc. So as the morning unfolded Janice could see some getting on their wellies to go in the sand, others getting on the rain gear to play with the water (from the water butt) and go down the wet slide, explore the forest area of the playground and play with the pipes & balls that were out.
Then as we lit the fire most of the class got on their rain gear to sit around it & enjoy the apples we cooked on it, only 1 child chose not to do this but as he was still outside just under the cover this is perfectly OK.
Generally we find that after 2 weeks of going outside both the adults & children just accept it & more importantly so do the parents.