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Teachers not taking kids outside daily because it is too cold

post #1 of 113
Thread Starter 
My dd mentioned that she is upset when it gets cold out because the teachers say that it is too cold to go outside for recess. She says that they get to play games inside instead which just isn't as much fun.

We are in the South so we have had very, very few mornings under 36 or so and it warms up quickly. I am from up North so we never missed going outside no matter how cold-we just bundled up.

I feel like my dd really needs the outside time and I dress her appropriately for the weather. I feel this is just because the teachers don't want to be uncomfortable standing around and watching them which doesn't seem fair.

Would you raise this as a concern or just let it go since they are having free time? I worry that some of the children aren't able to come to school with the appropriate clothing and maybe that is the reason??
post #2 of 113
It's that people in the South don't have to dress properly for cold so they never really learn how to do it. There's a wonderful children's park here that closes when the temperature is below 45F because it's 'too cold for small children' which, since I grew up in Michigan, find to be totally insane.
post #3 of 113
Quote:
We are in the South so we have had very, very few mornings under 36 or so and it warms up quickly.
so you're talking 0-2Celcius & they're not taking them outside because it's too cold.lol

It isn't just the activity the kids need, they need the FRESH AIR.

The kids are kept inside when the temp drops below -13(-25C). My kids still walk to school when it is that cold or colder. They're just bundled up. When they were kept inside for 3 days 2 weeks ago OMG!!! I coach my 9yo's basketball team. There were 7 out of 10 kids on her team at practice that night. It took 3 of us coaches 15 minutes(out of a 1 hour practice) to get enough energy out of these kids that they'd listen. We ran them hard that night.lol

At 0-2(or 32-36F) all they need to stay warm is a Jacket, with a sweater under if it isn't lined. A hat if it is windy. Light Mittens.

I would definitly go to the school, but first check the school policies. Here it states that the kids are inside if it is lower than -25 with the windchill but they did start sending the kids out for a few minutes at a time just to get something out of them when it was a bit warmer. They were bad that day at practice I couldn't imagine 250 of them for 7 hours.lol
post #4 of 113
This reminds me of a synogogue program I used to take my kids to when they were toddlers. The person running the program never took the kids to the playground when it was too cold for her, and whenever she did take the kids outside, it was too hot for me to be outside comfortably. So, my kids never got to use the playground at all.

The playground was locked so we only had access to it when the teacher took the kids there- but since this was a group of toddlers I couldn't let my kids go outside without me.

That being said, I would talk to the school and ask them about their policy. Do they have an indoor gym where kids can run around and play, or do the kids miss out on physical play when they're kept indoors? If it's the latter, I'd complain and request a change in policy.
post #5 of 113
Since you mentioned not having appropriate clothing I would look in to that issue before making a huge fuss. I know for people coming from or living in a cold climate the idea of not having a warm jacket isn't something they can comprehend, but if it's an issue for some of these kids then maybe the teacher is doing the best he/she can. Where we live if it got down to freezing the only people that would be outside would be those trying to save crops from freezing. We might be a bit further south then your talking about though.

I know where we lived in LA many schools didn't have recess when the weather was cold because so many people across the parish could not afford a warm jacket for their children. Knowing how poor most of the south is I'm inclined to think it would be similar throughout much of the south. I know of charities that just work on getting warm clothing for kids in the north, but don't know of any down here.
post #6 of 113
Geez. I would have an issue with that. We're going through a spell of highs in the low 20s and they still send the kids out to recess. I think kids need recess as much as they need other things. But I do make sure my kid has his big warm coat, gloves, hat, everything he needs. And they're not really out there long enough to get frostbite or anything.

I'd talk to her. Or the other parents.
post #7 of 113
I wouldn't make a huge fuss because I think that there is a cultural difference about cold weather - or, rather, what constitutes "cold weather" - in different areas of the country.

I've worked in schools in both California and Michigan; there was a huge temperature difference over staying inside/going outside between the two areas. Trying to force the issue of going outside would probably bring parents out of the woodwork saying it's too cold and demanding that their kids stay inside.

I like the idea that there is no bad weather, just bad clothing choices, but that's a personal philosophy to which not everyone subscribes.
post #8 of 113
Hmm... growing up in WI, if the wind chill was below zero, we'd have indoor recess (morning/afternoon recesses would be in our classrooms, lunch recesses would be in the gym). It wasn't an individual teacher choice, it was a district-wide thing. Everyone was outside or everyone was inside. Here in AK, it's not really a school issue, because we don't have a playground (no solid non-tundra ground upon which to build one, and our school can't afford to barge in gravel to make a pad for a playground).

I'd at least inquire about the procedure for cancelling recess. It should be a school-wide decision, not an individual teacher thing. It's probably a student clothing issue... but I don't think it's an unrealistic expectation to expect parents to send children to school clothed appropriately for the weather. After all, they have to be outside to get to school, don't they, whether it be on the walk to school or the wait at the bus stop?

Then again, I'm the kind of teacher who would MUCH rather they go run around in the fresh air (even if it's a bit nippy)... we get so much more done if they're a little pooped out. Besides, kids look cute with pink winter cheeks.
post #9 of 113
Most districts have policies about going outside when it's cold. Also, if most kids show up without gloves and hats, then they can't go, so the whole class stays in. :
post #10 of 113
I have to laugh - we go out til -20 F.

Find out the district's policy, then talk to the teacher and the principal. Yes, different areas of the country vary on what "cold" is, but it's a health issue, too. Kids need fresh air. With the way the climate is changing across the country, people are going to have to adapt.

Jenn
post #11 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by psyche View Post
I wouldn't make a huge fuss because I think that there is a cultural difference about cold weather - or, rather, what constitutes "cold weather" - in different areas of the country.

I've worked in schools in both California and Michigan; there was a huge temperature difference over staying inside/going outside between the two areas. Trying to force the issue of going outside would probably bring parents out of the woodwork saying it's too cold and demanding that their kids stay inside.

I like the idea that there is no bad weather, just bad clothing choices, but that's a personal philosophy to which not everyone subscribes.
I wouldn't call it a cultural difference so much as a regional one.
post #12 of 113
Also remember a lot of people think that you get sick from being cold, which is a misconception!

When I worked in daycare, we would be chastized for letting the kids go outside because "they'll cathc a cold or pneumonia from the cold weather." My boss caved to their wishes.
post #13 of 113
My dd's school takes them out as long as it's above freezing. The only other time they'd stay in is in the rain. They've sent multiple reminders about sending your kids to school dressed for the weather. They have to be wearing snowpants/boots to play in the snow, and if they just have sneakers, have to stay on the blacktop.

I would contact the teacher/school about it and ask to see their cold weather policy. It doesn't sound to me like keeping them inside in your school is really justified.

And about affording coats, etc. You can usually find them pretty inexpensively at Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. Also, it's easy to layer. A shirt, sweater, hoodie and fleece will keep you just as warm as a shirt and coat. You can get mittens at the $1 store and most jackets/fleeces/hoodies have hoods if you don't have a hat.
post #14 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by heket View Post
I wouldn't call it a cultural difference so much as a regional one.
You have obviously never moved from California to Michigan.

ToMAYto, ToMAHto
post #15 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizam View Post
Also remember a lot of people think that you get sick from being cold, which is a misconception!

When I worked in daycare, we would be chastized for letting the kids go outside because "they'll cathc a cold or pneumonia from the cold weather." My boss caved to their wishes.
It's not a misconception. Being cold lowers your body's immunity and can throw off your body's homeostasis. There are germs in and on and around your body at all times, so just being exposed to germs isn't what makes you sick. It's when your body's homeostasis is thrown off and then you become to one of the many germs that was always there.

Don't know if I explained that well enough, but you can find lots of articles in Mothering that support this concept.
post #16 of 113
I agree with the differences! The schools here don't close even if there's 2 feet of snow on the ground - when I was in Memphis a few years back, they shut down the town for a half-inch of snow! Jeez, we had a whole month where it barely went above -17 and I think the schools might have closed down one day - but everyone walked there the rest of the days!

:

I also agree with the "cold=sick" perception. I still can't convince my sister that *viruses* cause colds, not wet hair outside!
post #17 of 113
I would talk to the school about it. This would bother me. Unless it's below 45 degrees and windy or rainy or snowing then they should go outside, even if for 15 minutes.

My kids go outside daily, even when "I" feel it's probably too cold for them to go outside. I can see where the teacher probably hates standing around in the cold watching them play, but I think even 15 min would make most kids very happy if they get that much time outside. I think it's good for them. I can't imagine any teacher not wanting that time to just let them run and let off steam.

I can see where some parents would be afraid kids would get sick outside in the cold. It does lower your immune system so it makes you more likely to catch something or if a child is already coming down with a cold or has something already then it could make them worse being outdoors in the cold. You very seldom hear of people getting sick in the summer months you know. So the cold DOES have something to do with lowering your immunity.
post #18 of 113
My son's K teacher said she often had children without proper/warm clothing (it's very cold here). They didn't head to the playground much once winter came.
Inexpensive coats and gloves may be readily available but I don't think it is the teacher's responsibility to clothe the children.
post #19 of 113
I think there should be a district wide policy regarding how cold (or hot) is too cold (or hot) for outdoor recess.

When people in the South are used to 60-80 degree weather in December (it's about 60 here today, the 'coldest' it's been in weeks), then 30 degrees really DOES feel like ice. I think it's about what you're used to more than anything else.

There's also the issue of unpredictable weather here. I might send my kids to school and the temp is 45 when we leave the house. By the time I pick them up at 2:45pm, it's 80. How do you dress for that? The idea of layering is nice and all, but our classrooms just aren't set up for 22 kids to come in several layers of clothes that all have to be shed by noon every day.

The worst days IMO are where it's 60 when you leave the house. Dress kids in jeans, long sleeve t-shirt, maybe a light sweater....

And the temp drops to 30 by lunchtime. Lovely.

The weather in the South is just *different* than the North. We're not used to bitterly cold winters, so to us, 30 degrees *is* very cold.
post #20 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Melissa* View Post
I agree with the differences! The schools here don't close even if there's 2 feet of snow on the ground - when I was in Memphis a few years back, they shut down the town for a half-inch of snow! Jeez, we had a whole month where it barely went above -17 and I think the schools might have closed down one day - but everyone walked there the rest of the days!
Ah, but we typically get ICE in the South, not snow. And we aren't equipped to handle it in terms of clearning off roads either, so the number of wrecks is astronomical simply because people aren't used to driving in icy/snowy conditions. It's safer to shut down the schools for what amounts to nothing up north because it happens so infrequently and it's just dangerous when you're not used to it.


Quote:
I also agree with the "cold=sick" perception. I still can't convince my sister that *viruses* cause colds, not wet hair outside!
Go back up a few posts and read the explanations on cold=sick. You are absolutely correct in that it takes an actual VIRUS to cause a cold, not just being outside with wet hair.

BUT....

Exposure to cold lowers the body's ability to fight off infection.

So, really, both of you are right to a certain degree.
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