As we have said before, we believe that children should develop in a way that emphasises their relationship to nature. They need to know they’re part of the living world.
That means experiencing weather, in most of its forms.
True, parents and care providers need to use common-sense.
Occasionally, some weather conditions might be too extreme for children’s safety. Nobody is suggesting that children should be allowed to play outside in such situations.
However, as a society, we may have gone too far in terms of isolating our children from the real world’s weather. That isn’t healthy.
Our distant ancestors weren’t able to insulate themselves from the weather as easily as we can. Therefore, our bodies evolved to cope with variations in temperature, humidity, sunlight and winds. The typical child’s body, assuming they have no underlying medical conditions, is well able to do so too.
Children are of course more vulnerable to some forms of weather conditions than adults (e.g. hot sunshine) and extra care is required, however, there is no reason at all why say getting wet in a shower is bad for them. They can be a little hot outside or a little chilly – their bodies will easily cope providing sensible thresholds aren’t exceeded.
If it’s hot, they can be taught to seek and play in, the shade. They’ll quickly learn that it doesn’t pay to play physically demanding games in hot weather either.
If it’s a little cool, they’ll equally rapidly learn to either run about a bit more to generate heat or put on another layer of clothing – perhaps both.
Providing appropriate supervision is in place, there is no reason why children should not be encouraged to experience and interact with, things such as sunshine, wind and rain etc.
Why this matters
There are concerns in medical circles about the increasing numbers of allergies and immune system deficiencies that are developing across the world. This is most notable in predominantly western industrialised cultures.
Why this is happening is hotly debated and many studies are inconclusive. Foodstuffs, the environment, cosmetics, medications, pesticides – they and many other things have been noted as suspects.
However, there is a growing school of thought which suggests that, at least in part, this may be attributable to the way we increasingly insulate our children from real-world engagement.
As we have pointed out previously in our blog, never in human history have so many of our children been so isolated from contact with nature. This has happened only in the past 50-60 years or so.
We believe that nature intends our bodies to be exposed, in moderate amounts, to various weather conditions and temperatures from an early age. Some spills and minor injuries such as cuts and grazes probably come into the same category.
This involvement with nature may be essential if children are to develop a healthy body as they grow up.
Our policy at Byford Child Care
We wish to re-state that our greatest and foremost concern is the safety and well-being of children in our care. Nothing but nothing takes priority over that!
As part of our care and development programme, we will allow children, in the right circumstances, to play outside and experience a range of weather conditions. We will, of course, take into account expressed parental wishes and requirements.
If you’d like to know more of our outside play policies, we’d be delighted to receive your call.