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  1. #1
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    Cold Weather policy

    So after yesterday and the weather being -28 I advised the parents I couldn't do school pick ups.
    I am now writing a policy about weather. I am waiting for the local health unit to call me back to give me temps for both cold and hot days and when its okay to take toddlers outside. So far i have what the parents need to bring for summer and winter for their child to safely be outside.
    Does anyone have a weather policy? What all did you include in yours? Any suggestions and help is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Euphoric ! Sandbox Sally's Avatar
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    I wouldn't do a weather policy if I had to do school pick ups, to be honest. If you're offering this, I think you kind of have to do it, if you know what I'm saying.

    In light of the kids being miserable this week in the really cold temperatures, I just changed my weather policy and sent it out to parents. I said this:

    • This is Canada, and our weather can vary from one extreme to another. Hence, I feel it necessary to implement an extreme weather policy. Since most of my clients are under age 4 and their little bodies both overheat and lose heat very quickly, I will not be taking the daycare children outside to play on days where the temperature is:
    o Above 32 C
    o Below -10 C

  3. #3
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    I think you might be stuck with the school pick up. It's for the very reasons you have concerns that I just don't take school age kids any more.

    When I worked in daycare, the cold weather policy (according to Day Nurseries Act) was that kids were kept inside in any weather that dips below -10 degrees (including wind chill). Personally, with little ones, I find that even too cold. I won't take kids out to play if it goes below -5 degrees and I'm very honest about that at intake interview. Especially if the children are very young, it's just miserable for them as they aren't as mobile as an older child. Not being able to move around well in their snowsuits definitely hampers their ability to generate body heat, so they get pretty cold pretty fast. Sooooo not worth it!

    For hot weather, I just use my best judgement. If you open the door and are hit with a 'wall' of heat that sucks the breath out of you, don't go out. We'll go out in hotter than 32 degrees depending on what our activity is. If we're playing in the sprinkler that day, in my experience, it's been fine. For regular play with no heat relief, it's pretty miserable.

  4. #4
    Euphoric ! Sandbox Sally's Avatar
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    I agree with the high temps thing - it's easier to put on hats, sunscreen, stay in shaded areas and use water play to stay cool than it is for the kids to stay warm in the cold weather, even if they're bundled.

  5. #5
    Euphoric ! Inspired by Reggio's Avatar
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    Mine includes the 'medium' I will use to check local temperatures because sadly weather reports can vary greatly so I want clients to know decisions are based on X report to avoid conflict of them having heard a different advisory or report.

    Lists that I will check before each outing for UV rating, Air Quality, Temperature including wind-chill and any weather warnings that might be in effect from thunderstorms to air quality concerns and take that into consideration.

    During the winter months we do not go outside if temperatures are below -10 degrees Celsius. My policy xplains that windchill is taken into affect as it is felt in the backyard ~ because basically there are times when the windchill at the local weather office says it 'temperature is -6 but it feels like -15' but there is NO WIND in our area or yard and the sun is shining so I would take them outside because the 'core temp' is not below -10 there are than there are other times when it is '-2 but it feels like -11' and we do NOT go outside because the wind is active in the yard and whipping snow around out there in faces and just miserable ... basically my policy is that I use my discretion and adjust our time out there dependent on the wind and how the kids are coping and parents need to dress their child for the weather assuming we will be outside daily and trust my judgement if we are not!

    I do not have a temperature for too HOT to be honest ~ my policy for the other times of year states the program will be outside daily unless there is a heat advisory issued by the Public Health requesting that children and elderly do not spend ANY time outside because it is so bad. Otherwise on the really warm days where there is an advisory to LIMIT outdoor active we will be outside but limiting our time from early in the morning and later in the afternoon to avoid the high UV / heat / smog times between 11 – 3 pm. Also explains we engage in water based activities to help us be active while still remaining a cool core temperature as well as we have regularly access to water and are offered purred fruit pops to help maintain hydration during warm months ... as long as they are playing happily and drinking lots I am good ~ if it is too much for us than we would come back in and like the winter it is MY discretion so send your child daily with all the things needed for outdoor exploration because we will likely be making the attempt.

    I personally do not DO the school runs ~ if I did HAVE to go for my own child I would likely want a policy in place like you are suggesting that if I felt it was too dangerous to take the other children outside due to the weather that parents would be notified that school drop offs / pick ups would be cancelled and the children would either have to find alternative transport OR if you have the space to meet your ratio you could offer to be willing to keep them all day for the additional fee of X to cover the extra food/care of the full day ... IMO this is no different that when they cancel the 'buses' because the weather is bad but leave the schools open for those who want to walk or drive themselves and parents who use that bus service have to decide do I drive them to school myself OR just keep them home!
    Children construct their own intelligence. The adult must provide activities and context, but most of all must be able to listen. Children need proof that adults believe in them. Their three great desires are to be listened to, to understand, and to demonstrate that they are exactly what we expect."
    Loris Malaguzzi

  6. #6
    Euphoric ! Inspired by Reggio's Avatar
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    BTW ~ I find this resource helpful for backing up my through process if I get a client who might question outdoor practice

    http://www.healthunit.com/%28F%28oEp...sPDF/12653.pdf
    Children construct their own intelligence. The adult must provide activities and context, but most of all must be able to listen. Children need proof that adults believe in them. Their three great desires are to be listened to, to understand, and to demonstrate that they are exactly what we expect."
    Loris Malaguzzi

  7. #7
    Euphoric ! Inspired by Reggio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfred View Post
    ...When I worked in daycare, the cold weather policy (according to Day Nurseries Act) was that kids were kept inside in any weather that dips below -10 degrees (including wind chill). ....
    I too use to struggle with stuff like this ~ assuming that DNA required something because the 'centre I worked at did such and such' ... so I bought a copy of the DNA as a new grad and memorized the thing

    After reading it ~ which is likely reading a foreign language ~ I quickly realized it was often CENTRE POLICY bosses were telling us was a DNA requirement ... but the reality is there are major differences between the two obviously cause individual centres can choose to make any policy they want as long as it adheres to DNA requirements which is why centres can be so 'different' even though they all governed by the same DNA ... reality is often bosses would tell staff or parents for that matter it was a DNA requirement verses a centre policy because the staff/parents would than assume it cannot be changed and stop 'complaining' about the policy so much ... but in fact there was room for improvement or change to the policy the boss just did not WANT to change it

    So in this case -10 is not a DNA requirement ~ that would have been the 'centre policy' where you worked and many do have that same policy across regions because they network just like we do so are sharing ideas and therefore have similar policy about somethings but the DNA actually only stipulates the following ...

    (d) each child over thirty months of age that is in attendance for six hours or more in a day plays outdoors for at least two hours each day, weather permitting, unless a physician or parent of the child advises otherwise in writing. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 262, s. 53 (4); O. Reg. 50/91, s. 1.

    And if you actually read the 'online version' under the program section back in 2007 when they did some tweaking due to public pressure about things like outside time and NAPPING they have even repealed section C) which use to require children under 30 months of age to spend UP TO two hours a day they basically no longer require you to even try to get that age group outside .... and do not get me started on what they did to trying caregivers hands behind their backs with regards to quiet time

    http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/reg...0262_e.htm#BK0
    Children construct their own intelligence. The adult must provide activities and context, but most of all must be able to listen. Children need proof that adults believe in them. Their three great desires are to be listened to, to understand, and to demonstrate that they are exactly what we expect."
    Loris Malaguzzi

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inspired by Reggio View Post
    BTW ~ I find this resource helpful for backing up my through process if I get a client who might question outdoor practice

    http://www.healthunit.com/%28F%28oEp...sPDF/12653.pdf
    Reggio the link doesn't work, can you please post it again? Thanks!
    "If we all could see the world through the eyes of a child, we would see the magic in everything!" - Chee Vai Tang

  9. #9
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    If I did before and after care, I would definitely have something in my policies that allowed me to cancel drop-offs and pick-ups in the case of extreme weather. I do school bus runs with my own son and I have kept him home today as it was -37 with the windchill this morning....really not safe to take the babies out in. As a parent, I would be livid if I knew that my baby or toddler was going to be taken out in dangerous conditions in order to drop-off and pick-up another child. I think you have every right to put something in your policies so before and after school clients understand this. I would make sure you tell them that you will check forecasts and notifiy the parents the night before if school runs will be cancelled (you can always say "may be" cancelled and then confirm in the morning...that way they have time to make other arrangements. I would also give them the option then of bringing the child to you for the day so they are not stuck if they can't do pick-ups.

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  11. #10
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    Thank you everyone for the input. The health unit called me back as well, and he gave me good information as well. I tell (verbally) parents that if its too cold or to hot that we won't be going outside. I want to put in place a written policy so parents can't come back saying that it doesn't say in the contract about it being too cold or too hot to go outside.
    I now only have to do one school run and the family understands that if its cold I can't pick up their daughter and actually appreciate me not taking toddlers out in the cold.
    I will not be taking anymore school kids because I can't guarantee that the weather will not be below -15. I will continue doing school pick up for this one family because they have no problem with picking up their daughter if need be.

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