Children enrolled in our Early Childhood programs should arrive in rain and winter gear that will keep them warm and dry each day.
Staying warm and dry is necessary to make the outdoor experience enjoyable, especially in the upcoming colder months. The children need to run, climb and play without concern over their physical comfort. Our Early Childhood instructors will model appropriate clothing for the children, but it is the family’s job to help them arrive ready to take on the elements.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”— Alfred Wainwright
It’s all about the clothing… correct layers and materials will ensure children stay warm and dry. Each child should be covered head to toe, and key in cold weather is layering:
- 1st layer: long underwear or snug fitting shirt & leggings: wool or synthetic (not cotton!)
- 2nd layer: fleece or sweatshirt top and bottom
- 3rd layer: waterproof snow pants or overalls & warm jacket with hood
Hands, Feet and Head:
- Waterproof mittens/gloves (cinch above the wrist / near the forearm)
- Heavy socks, (wool, possibly two pair in cold temps)
- Water-proof lined snow boots – in warmer weather, rain boots
- Heavy scarf /gaitor or balaclava for the neck
- Thick hat- preferably wool covering the ears
Another tip is to have all the boundary lines tucked in: where the pants meet the shirt at the waist, tuck in; where the socks meet the long underwear layer at the ankle, tuck in; where the sleeve meets the glove, have the glove tucked over or under. Boots should have rain or show pants coming down over the edge of the boot to keep the feet dry.
Some days are rainy and require warmth as well as wet protection. Rainy days are inherently colder due to the dampness of the air. Please keep an eye on the weather and temperatures for each day, as that will make a difference in how you dress your child for school. Layers can always be stripped as the day warms up.
Some parents find that its easier for children to lose layers when they have rain or snow pants versus the snow suit, or the overalls-style rain and snow gear. Also when considering bathroom readiness, pulling down bottom layers may be easier when it’s pants and shirts (you are only pulling down the bottom layers and keeping the top layers intact) versus overalls. This is an individual family decision but something to consider.
Recommended reading about dressing young children for cold weather: The Importance of Warmth, by Susan R. Johnson, MD, F.A.A.P.
Some notes and recommendations from Forest Parent and Child instructor Anne Coyner:
Charlottesville Waldorf does not have a marketing relationship with the companies listed below, I found each of these while looking for winter gear for my own children and through recommendations from parents in my classes over the years. I have personally ordered from LL Bean, Columbia, Oakiwear, REI and Amazon. Charlottesville also has a second-hand outdoor store, High Tor Gear Exchange, where you might be able to find outdoor gear, as well. This list is simply to get ideas flowing for you.
We are a school partner with Oaki and Polarn O. Pyret, both providers of children’s
outdoor rain and adventure gear. Oaki provides us a 25% discount with the code:
cwaldorfschool. Polarn O. Pyret offers a 20% off when you sign up for their outdoor
savings at the following link, no code necessary:
PLACES TO FIND Winter and Rain GEAR for Preschoolers:
- Amazon (please consider using smile.amazon.com and designating CWS as your non-profit!)
- Eddie Bauer
- Lands End
- LL Bean
- North Face
- Polarn O.Pyret
I ordered my adult size 100% wool base layers last winter from LL Bean and have worn them extensively (and they are not itchy – miraculous!) I wash them on delicate and hang them to dry. It’s personal preference but wool can go more than one day of wearing before washing. Columbia has durable fleece pants and pullovers that can be purchased via amazon. Since it is difficult to keep hoods up, a wool hat is preferable in addition, and a chin-strap or balaclava really helps with children who want to take their hats off. Please contact me if you have any questions regarding winter and rain gear. Our Forest Parent & Child class participants have kept warm and dry all winter after following these guidelines!
We also have a you-tube video below that demonstrates layering children for cold weather.
Good luck in your hunt for winter gear, and stay warm!