Fresh air and exercise are important for children. It keeps them physically fit, and helps them stay alert all through the school day. Parents can help by making sure their children come to school prepared to spend time outdoors. Hats, mitts, boots and a warm jacket are important to keep students comfortable during lunch and recess.The outdoors in winter is enjoyed most when chilrdren are dressed properly.
The old adage that there is no bad weather, just bad clothing, plays true during Canadian winters :) During the winter months, it's always best to stay warm and dry. Being too hot makes us sweat, creating moisture. When it is cold outside, being damp is uncomfortable as we lose body heat more quickly.
Canadian winters can be wonderful but when the weather is cold, TDSB schools keep one eye on the thermometer and the other on the needs of our students - a perfect balance of fun and safety. Elementary school students are kept indoors for recess and lunch times for a number of weather conditions such as rain, lightning in the area, extreme winds and extreme cold. When temperature and wind chill measure -28C or lower, students are kept indoors. Recesses and lunch hour may be shortened if the temperature and wind chill reading is between -20C and -28C.
With this being the case, it's important that children come to school dressed for the weather.
Layers allow children to be more flexible to changing weather conditions. Layers create an air space between the skin and the cold and this space is what insulates best. Layers are also looser, allowing for better blood circulation which helps to maintain body temperature.
Inner (Base) layer: The skin should be covered in a thin layer that helps to move moisture away from the body. Keeping your skin dry helps keep you warm and comfortable. Your inner layer should cover almost your whole body: arms, legs and torso. Polyester and silk, and related modern materials are best. Cotton is a poor choice.
Middle layer: This is the insulating layer. Wool and fleece work best. The middle layer can be made up of several thin layers.
Outer layer: This is the water and wind protection layer. Gore-Tex and nylon are best. Get a long coat so that you can sit comfortably. Coats should have high collars and a hood. You should be able to easily ventilate the coat by loosening sleeve ends, opening zippers under the arms and opening a front zipper. This will help get rid of the moisture inside the coat. For very cold temperatures or for kids rolling around in the snow, bib-type snow pants are a good choice.
Layering also applies to hands and feet
Wear two pairs of socks — a thin polyester sock against the skin and a thicker sock over that. Boots should be comfortable and not too tight. Tightness will constrict blood flow and make your feet colder. Boots should also have a good sole for grip and stability on slippery or uneven surfaces and should be waterproof. You can also wear a thin pair of gloves with thicker and waterproof mitts over them. Adjust the sleeves and cuffs so that snow cannot enter.
Dressing for the weather will allow all children to enjoy themselves outdoors but more importantly be safe as well.
excerpts: Dressing For The Cold-By SickKids Hospital staff