Why playing outside is important
To begin with, it’s common knowledge that children need time to blow off steam and get some exercise. This helps them grow strong and stay healthy but it is also good for them mentally as it gives them an opportunity to explore and discover the outside world. It teaches them about their surroundings and is a chance to feed their imagination.
For people without respiratory problems, cold air is not damaging to the lungs and sport/movement outdoors can generally continue in cold weather. Exposure to breathing cold air can get critical for healthy people under the temperature -15 degrees. Then the body can’t manage to warm up the in-breathing air till it reaches the lungs. For people with respiratory problems, much greater care should be taken as the damaging effects of cold air can happen at much warmer temperatures.
Cold Weather Guidelines
It is essential that students arrive at school each day prepared for cold weather. Students must be dressed appropriately so that they remain safe and comfortable during the following times:
- Outside playtime before and after school
- Lunchtime playtime
- Fire Drills (at all temperatures)
- Bus breakdowns
- Unscheduled and scheduled outside breaks and learning experiences.
Below freezing (-1 to -8°Celsius)
Students are expected to go outside during their break time, though prolonged periods of time outside is not advised. Parents should ensure that their child brings the following items needed to stay warm and comfortable when outside:
- Warm coat
- Head/Ear covering
- Waterproof snow pants (if snowing)
If the temperature reaches below -8 Celsius students will stay inside
The main risks of extreme cold weather are:
- Flu or cold
- falls and injuries
- heart attack
- frost bite (only in extreme cold weather)
- Feels like -5 to -15°C - limited time of 2 x 20 minute sessions during free-flow learning (optional for children
- Indoor option offered during main break and lunch-time between -10 to -15°C.
- No outdoor water play from 0 degrees.
- No children allowed outside without appropriate dress, including hat, scarf and gloves from 5 degrees.
- Since sport lessons are for longer periods than playtimes, sport will remain indoors while the temperature is below 0°Celsius
What parents can do:
- Flu vaccinations are still the best way to protect against an unpredictable virus.
- Put several layers of clothing on your child and make sure their head, neck and hands are covered. If they then get warm, they can take one layer off at a time. Dress babies and young children in one more layer than an adult would wear.
- In drier winter air children lose more water through their breath. Keep them drinking and try giving them warm drinks.
- Make sure your children are wearing footwear with a good grip to reduce the risk of slipping and falling on icy pavements and take your time when walking!
- Due to darker mornings and evenings, it is recommended that children wear or carry something to make them more visible when making journeys. This should be something bright or fluorescent during the day and something reflective at dusk and in the dark
- Babies should be checked to ensure they are at a suitable temperature. (https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/baby-room-temperature/)
- Signs of frostbite are pale, grey or blistered skin on the fingers, ears, nose, and toes. If you think your child has frostbite bring the child indoors and put the affected area in warm (not hot) water. Signs of hypothermia are shivering, slurred speech, and unusual clumsiness. If you think your child has hypothermia see a doctor