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Weekly Challenge for #EnviroEd # 50 – Too Cool to be Warm?

November 2, 2014

 

It’s November. Here in this hemisphere that means we’re seeing shorter days, colder recesses and for some teachers’ less outdoor learning time. Which is sad considering that these colder months allow for some of the best outdoor learning time available to us as educators. But for outdoor learning to be successful in this season our students and teachers alike must be prepared.  And just as plants and animals are preparing for winter now is the time for us to have the same discussions with our students.  Whether our students are new to the country, new to a region or just new to outdoor learning in colder temperatures we should ensure they (& their parents?) are aware of the best ways to be ready for being outside comfortably.

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We don’t need to dress our kids as “Slug” from A Christmas Story. Students can be both warm AND comfortable for outdoor learning. This week’s challenge is to not only begin those discussions in the class but perhaps to others within the school community too.  How do your students think they can share the message and importance of dressing for the colder months? Video? Posters? What’s their public service announcement about preparing for the winter months ahead look like?

While some “winter boots” may be stylish and work well on sidewalks that are ploughed by your municipality before you leave for school – what do your students think is appropriate for footwear if doing an hour lesson outdoors in deeper snow? Do your students know the benefits of mitts over gloves? Having the warmth of each finger in one sleeve is better than individual sleeves for each digit although admittedly gloves can be handier for gripping and writing. A winter hat, toques as they are called in Canada is essential rather than a headband or earmuffs. While there may not be much truth to the concept that you can lose 40% of your body heat through your head – you will lose some heat and it’s important to keep your scalp warm as well as those ears.

There are some good, kids oriented videos out there such as this one from ActiveKidsClub called Get Dressed for Winter.

I recognize all parents are on a budget and there is only so much a school can do to help with this as well – but the first step to getting students comfortable with outdoor learning in the colder months is to inform them.

Those that choose to ignore that, well aren’t they an experiential lesson on their own? I’ve watched those “cool” kids in the schoolyard with their “winter” jackets undone. No hoods nor hats to keep them warm, they tend to stand by the doors at the school with ungloved hands tucked up in their sleeves moving back and forth with their head tilting from one should to another in a valiant yet futile attempt to keep their ears warm.

If that’s “cool” I’d rather be warm.

 

 

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