With the winter months of January and February upon us, we will no doubt face the prospect of indoor recesses. The Elk Island Catholic School Division procedure on inclement weather recommends that if the temperature is -25C or colder, with or without the windchill, that students stay inside for recess. In previous years our school practice has been to have students stay in classrooms when this happens to play games or watch a video. We have found that when colder weather persists and students are inside for several days, their ability to focus and complete academic work suffers. Recess is a very important time for students as it allows for play, social-emotional regulation, fresh air, and exercise. This year we would like to try something new to help us raise resilient kids which is an important focus at our school and we will do all we can to support daily outside play so we are starting a Polar Bear Club. Students will be able to go outside for recess below -25 C, provided they have proper winter clothing. Proper winter clothing includes: Winter jacket, snow pants, socks, mitts, toque, face covering/scarf, and boots. Students will learn the importance of dressing in layers and what is appropriate for weather conditions so that they can enjoy their time outside in a safe manner.
Our EICS Division Administrative Procedure 134 provides guidelines for us at Holy Spirit for responding to the winter months:
- Decisions regarding outdoor activities are to take into consideration inclement weather that may result from the following conditions or combination of conditions: continuous rain; extreme wind, and/or extreme cold
- The suggested guideline is that students do not go outside if the temperature is - 25 C or colder. The suggested guideline above is at the discretion of School Administrators and staff as part of their consideration for determining whether recess will be inside or outside. Outside time is sometimes shortened or withheld to accommodate winter conditions. Factors such as temperature, conditions, duration of time are all taken into decision making.
- When temperatures or wind chills are below -25 Celsius, outdoor recess play may continue with reduced play times outside.
In order to support the important balance of learning and play, we will have three responses to recess breaks to respond to Alberta weather:
- Regular recess outside: (temperature and conditions not an issue)
- Inside Recess: (Extreme cold and/or weather conditions that are deemed unsafe for full duration of outside playtime)
- Polar Bear Recess: (Temperatures are lower and cold but still safe to head outdoors for short periods).
- Outside supervisors and indoor staff are continuously checking for proper winter attire and layers. We have extras on hand for our kids.
- Morning supervision begins at 8:30 am, please do not drop off students prior to 8:30 am. First bell rings at 8:35 am.
- Students are given opportunities for snacks before and after recesses to allow time for free play, reduce choking hazards, ensuring they stay bundled, and to minimize the litter on our playground.
- Please ensure that your child comes dressed and ready for any weather. Please ensure that your child's teacher is updated with any pertinent medical information that applies to outdoor inclement weather, especially if there are any medical reasons your child should not head outside. Please contact your child’s homeroom teacher if you have any questions about this new initiative.
- Students will be given the opportunity to head outside for a short duration of supervised play and if not dressed properly they will stay indoors for supervised activity.
I’m a Polar Bear!!
I bundle up and play outside when it’s cold.
I learn better when I’ve had fresh air and playtime.
I am resilient! I am Canadian!