Thursday, January 20, 2011
Until you showed up. Our principals deal with a work load that is as varied as it is relentless. While putting the educational needs and physical safety of our children first, they do not have the kind of time for general policy review that we might like to think they have. Every time one or two parents contact the office, they cannot necessarily take time out to review a policy that might have been in effect for decades (as it appears the winter weather guideline has been.)
However, when a small group of parents start organizing information and then ask friends and supporters to be counted and then those friends and parents do actually take the time out of their own day to come to a blog, look around and then sign in; well that IS something. So thank-you. Without you yesterday would not have happened.
And about yesterday? We went to South Avenue expecting to meet one principal and instead we were able to sit down around a table with all four principals! We are deeply grateful for their time and attention. The discussion was in depth and we came away with a real task list of next steps. There has never been doubt in our minds that the principals want the children to have outdoor recess whenever possible and we came away from the meeting knowing that they are believers in the benefits of outdoor recess. We also came away with a deeper understanding for what the challenges are in general and specifically to each school. It will take us a few days to write down all that we understand the hurdles to be from our meeting notes. When we have concrete steps to take we will post them here. We will be going to the superintendent and to the board of education with our recommendations.
In the meantime if you have ideas regarding recess please share them either here or with your schools principal directly. Each school facility is unique and so what works for one school may not necessarily work for another. The more ideas we collect the better. Also, please tell your friends who may not have heard about the website. We would love to have more people from each school participating. If you have links to share that might be helpful we would love to see them and we'll post the link in our sidebar.
Yesterday, for what one of the principals said was the first time in years, all four elementary school principals sat down at one table to talk about recess.
That was because of you.
If in the near future you pass a school yard in Beacon and you see children playing in the snow you should know you had a part in the laughter you hear coming over the fence.
Thanks for your support.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
While at the moment this blog is all about research we will be adding to it every day with great links about outdoor education and wonderful stories about schools that are providing outdoor recess all year long.
Thanks again for all of your kind words and support.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Please Note: All comments are moderated. We will not post any comment that is not written with respect and kindness for all in our community no matter how much we might agree with the basic principle of the comment.
Thanks for taking the time to come to this blog and we hope you take a moment to comment.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Many years ago, schools were advised to keep children inside when the temperature is below 32 degrees. In 2004, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reviewed this policy and recommended that a combination of factors should be used to determine whether outdoor play is advisable.
Children benefit from vigorous exercise and should be given the opportunity to play outside whenever possible. You should use your judgment in determining whether conditions are satisfactory for outside play in cold weather, based on the temperature, wind speed, precipitation, and other factors. For example, outside play on a sunny, windless day when the temperature is below 32 degrees can be suitable as long as children are appropriately dressed. Note that occasionally, children with asthma may experience increased symptoms when playing in cold weather (however, exercise-related asthma may occur at any temperature and can usually be prevented by pre-treatment).
Montgomery Public Schools Rockville, MD
Children will go outside for recess everyday unless the wind chill index is below 15 degrees according to the National Weather Service (Willow Run) or it is raining. This guideline has been established in conjunction with the Wayne County Health Department.
The elementary school principals in District 199 have set the following guidelines in determining whether children will be allowed to go outside for recess: if the outside air temperature is less than 0 degrees Farenheit or the wind chill is -10 degrees or
The Saint Paul Public School District uses a guideline of 0 degrees or colder air temperature, or below 0 wind-chill. These schools get most of their weather information from web sites that use official temperature and wind-chill for the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area.
The Anoka/Hennepin school district, which covers much of the Twin Cities from Bloomington to Coon Rapids, has a policy that recess will be held indoors if the air temperature is 0 degrees or colder, or the wind-chill is -10 below or colder.
The Minneapolis Public Schools have a plan that allows the principal of each school to determine if recess will be indoors or outdoors. The policy does not use a specific temperature but counts on a common sense approach.
Rockwood School District Eureka, MO
School District of South Orange and Mapplewood, NJ
Forest Hills Local Schools Cincinnati, OH
Subject: RE: Outdoor play in cold weather
Attached is the latest post to the New York City Department of Education's Principal's Weekly on this issue. After this post appeared, I received several e-mails from principals asking for more precise guidance. My recommendations are as follows:
If the is above 20 degrees, it is safe to play outside. If the wind chill factor is 0-20, outside play is advised provided that students are appropriately dressed and under observation to make sure that they are wearing their coats, hats and gloves.
Roger Platt, M.D.
Director of School Health
New York City Department of Education