PLEASE READ THIS SECTION VERY CAREFULLY AND REFER TO IT OFTEN!
AS WEATHER PATTERNS SHIFT WITH THE CHANGING SEASONS, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ADJUST THE TYPE AND QUANTITY OF YOUR CHILD’S CLOTHING AT FOREST SCHOOL!
Clothing is one of the most important items you should invest in to keep your child comfortable at Forest School. A child that is consistently warm and dry throughout the day will be much happier and more likely to fully enjoy the benefits of learning in an outdoor environment than a child that consistently comes unprepared for the day’s weather and is often cold and wet.
Each child will have their own individual level of tolerance for wet/dry and cold/warm conditions and depending on their interests, may naturally engage in activities that challenge the limits of their clothing constantly (e.g. love interacting with water or mud) requiring multiple changes a day and there will be others that prefer to engage in less clothing-challenged activities where their clothing keeps them comfortable and dry throughout the day with no changes.
* Forest School Educators cannot be expected to hold children back from engaging in activities that challenge their clothing unless there is a moderate to high risk of injury. However, Forest School Educators can help your child learn to self-regulate their level of engagement with these elements that challenge the limits of their clothing so as to minimize their discomfort.
You don't have to invest in stylish, expensive brand names to keep your child warm. Thrift stores and online used clothing sites are great places to look for children’s clothing at more affordable prices. We have included a list of some of our staff’s favorite local, provincial and online supply stores where you will find a broad selection of outdoor clothing and accessories for all ages at a range of price points. We encourage you to take some time to “shop around” and evaluate your choices carefully.
The items you will want to spend more money on are the outer layers of clothing which is your child’s first line of defense against the elements. These items are more likely to be found at specialty stores or by chance at thrift or online stores. Middle and base layers are where you can save money by shopping for these items exclusively at thrift stores. Here is a breakdown of outer, mid and base layers:
Base-layer: Natural fabrics such as wool or silk work well as an inner layer, as well as fleece. The key for this layer is to wick moisture away from the skin and insulate the skin with a breathable layer to keep them warm.
Mid-Layer: This is another insulation layer that creates ‘dead-air space’ between your child’s skin and the elements. This airspace helps in keeping your child warm. Wool sweaters (Merino wool is exceptionally warm and soft on sensitive skin) and fleece tend to work well.
Outer-layer: Water-proof and wind-proof, as well as breathable.
Note: All clothing and accessories must be labelled
We keep a bin or bag of spare clothing at Forest School in case of accidents or if we need a change after having fun in puddles!
We ask that you drop your child off for the day dressed for the weather conditions at the time - not the predicted forecast which may not unfold until later in the day or even at all.
When it comes to boots you should get a boot that is one size larger than your child’s foot. Again, this creates dead-air space to assist in insulation. Socks help to wick moisture away from the skin, (please note: cotton tends to sweat and doesn't do a great job at wicking-away moisture). The best foot insulator would be two pairs of wool socks (and a plastic bread bag in between) with waterproof boots that have wiggle room.
GLOVES ARE NOT RECOMMENDED. They do not allow the child’s body heat to aid in keeping fingers warm and most young cannot reliably get their fingers into all the correct holes! Waterproof mittens are best in winter with lighter mitts reserved for early fall and spring.