West Coast Recess & Lunch

Dec 12

Please Dress for the Weather!

This post is taken and modified from Anita Strang’s Principal’s Blog dating back to March 30, 2014 from Parkland Elementary in Coquitlam. This West Coast Recess & Lunch  is what we are adopting at Gibson. Please read below and be prepared…

This is just to remind everyone that we very rarely keep students inside due to the weather conditions. Many schools in the Delta School District are doing the same and with good reason as I will explain further below. Please ensure that your child is well prepared for rain on any given day. The biggest complaint our students have on rainy days is that they are cold so we encourage them to bring an extra sweater and bundle up. Interestingly they rarely complain of cold on snow days so they clearly know what to wear on our coldest days.

Being prepared for the weather!

We have also spoken to the students about finding ways to avoid getting so wet. In rare circumstance we will call home if they are soaking – but we encouraged the kids to

  • Wear a rain coat
  • Wear rubber boots so they can enjoy the puddles (if you are able to provide them with a pair to keep at school that would be perfect)
  • Wear “muddy buddies” – rain pants they can quickly slip over their clothes (much like they would snow pants)
  • Bring an umbrella
  • Wear a rain hat
  • Bring a change of clothes just in case
  • We have extra mittens, toques and jackets at our school if somebody forgot
  • We even have extra clothing for children who need a quick fix to get dry at Gibson.

Rainy Weather FAQ

I am concerned that my child will get sick being out in the rain.

It is not cold that makes us sick but rather viruses. “People get sick more often in the winter because they are exposed to each other more in the winter than in the summer. When it is cold outside people tend to stay inside and are more likely to spread germs to one another” (from “Does Cold Weather Cause the Cold or Flu?”). Another article on the same topic can be found here: What Causes the Common Cold?

Turns out that getting outdoors is more likely to protect our kids from illnesses than keeping them indoors.

My child has been sick but is now returning to school. Can he stay inside today?

We are quite reluctant to allow this for a couple of reasons. First, if your child is still not quite better it would be better to keep them at home until they are 100% ready to function fully at school. If he is too sick to go outside he is also probably too sick to get through the day’s work successfully – give him another day of rest. Secondly, we have very limited supervision inside so if more than a couple of kids are requesting this it becomes problematic.

We do make exceptions to this based on special circumstances so if you want to chat about your child’s specific health conditions please phone me and we can chat about your concerns.

Why don’t you keep them in – they would be far more comfortable – it doesn’t seem fair!!

I have done a lot of reading about how important it is for all of us to spend more time outside. I am very concerned that if we set things up for our kids to avoid inclement weather by staying indoors we are teaching them that they need to protect themselves from it. The habits we set up with our kids as they grow up tend to last into adulthood. Rather then feeling that they need to stay indoors we want to encourage them to find ways to enjoy the rain. Here is a cute short article about this concept: Kids love rain!

I’ve seen groups of students that are very happy when it rains as they are busy constructing canals, dams, and islands and they are thrilled when the rain arrives to fill them. These type of imaginative play is very healthy learning experiences for our kids!!

Another reason why it is so important that our kids go outside is that it is extremely difficult for most of them to focus on their school work in the afternoons when they have not had the opportunity to get some fresh air. In the past when we used to keep kids inside more routinely due to rain our students struggled through their afternoons.

Are the children ever allowed to stay inside due to the weather?

Occasionally we do call an “inside day” for extreme weather conditions. At times we adjust our Recess & Lunch so that either the Intermediates will go out while the Primary students stay in or we simply all stay indoors. Here are some recent examples at Gibson:

  • When it is raining very hard – the type of day when you get soaked just walking from your house to your car. In that case we can call an ‘optional’ day. This is done very rarely as it makes supervision more challenging. Sometimes we may send out the older students (Intermediates) to maintain organized and safe supervision. That said – the weather can change suddenly – if heavy rain subsides – we will go out!
  • There was a day we rang the bells early a few years ago as it began to rain very hard while the kids were outside.
  • If there is a threat of a thunderstorm – we will error on the side of caution and avoid any lightning strikes! That’s not fun.
  • Recently we restricted the playing area due to visibility with the fog we had last week. But we still went outside!
  • During high winds – we close the primary side due to the trees by the primary playground and risk of deadfall, etc. The Intermediates can still go outside.
  • There was a day last school year we kept the kids in because the snow had melted and then turned to ice and the entire blacktop area was a sheet of thick ice. Yikes!
  • On special event days we may hold students in (ie. when students are dressed up – picture day, assemblies, concerts, etc)
  • If we are ever in a Code Yellow (Secure and Hold) or if Delview is in a similar situation. This happened recently and we always work with Delta Police with matters like these. We will always send an e-mail/update out in regards to serious situations like a Code Yellow once we are stable and safe.

Additional Resources:

“Bubble wrapping our kids is a bad idea – let them play in the rain”

“Children should be allowed to play in the dirt”