Monday, 28 October 2013

Winter Weather or Not: Dressing for Winter

The first snow of the winter fell Saturday. While many of us are hoping that warmer weather will return and extend to at least Halloween, the cold hard fact is that winter is coming. Staff and students will need to make the necessary adjustments and dress for the cold. Those of us who remain active outside all year round know the adage "There's no bad weather, just bad clothing".  In winter, dressing for success means making good clothing choices, dressing in layers and being prepared.

Active Kids Club recommends keeping activity levels in mind when dressing for winter. This choice is especially important when one considers that school children may have multiple environments to deal with. Waiting for the bus is an entirely different climate zone from riding in an enclosed space with dozens of other students for an extended period of time. Then, depending on the age of the student, they may re-enter the cold for a period of playground activity prior to settling in for a days learning.

Layers are the key. Think three - inner - middle and outer. The inner layer needs to keep students warm but be able to breathe and wick moisture away from the skin. Cotton is a poor choice as once it gets wet, it stays wet, and there are few things less comfortable than sitting in wet clothes for much of the day. The middle layer should be warm and insulating and suitable for a variety of activities. The outer layer needs to be wind proof and water resistant, easy to remove and able breathe to allow for the escape of sweat and water vapour.

Heads and hands require particular attention. According to a toque is more than just a Canadian fashion statement, it can help regulate body temperature. Ear flaps can be particularly helpful. Mittens work best for keeping fingers warm, but even a cheap pair of stretchy gloves can protect small hands from icy conditions.

Its still early in the season, so the debate over snowsuits or splash pants can probably wait but its never too early to invest in a good pair of boots. What a student might give up in cool is definitely more than made up for by having warm feet. Last year winter set in early and hung on late. While the white stuff may be coming later this year, being prepared for the weather is always a good idea.

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