There are so many benefits to having regular outdoor lessons in the timetable. However, when the temperature soars there is lots to consider when keeping your class of children safe in sunshine. The last thing any teacher wants is a class of sweaty, stroppy children so we are here to share our top tips for beating the heat and getting outdoors this summer!
Sun hats are an essential when venturing out into the sunshine. Ensure that all of your children are wearing a hat before heading outside. If your children are inconsistent in bringing them in leave a note on classroom doors or send messages home to remind parents to bring one each day.
That being said in a realistic world, not every child is going to remember to bring their sun hat to school everyday or even worse they may lose theirs at lunch time. To combat this problem keep a stock of spare sun hats in your classroom.
We would suggest building a stock of sun hats by asking your school to buy a small number or asking your parents to donate any old ones from home (don’t forget to scavenge the cloakroom for old unclaimed hats when the children break up for summer too!) An unpleasant but necessary note is to be mindful of hat sharing if you have an outbreak of nits and to ensure that they are regularly put through the wash.
Sun cream is only effective for approximately a few hours at a time. So both you and the children need to top up regularly throughout the day. Many schools do not allow teachers to apply sun cream to children without written consent.
If you find yourself faced with young children without written consent, support them in applying their own sun cream effectively by applying your own at the same time. This will allow them to copy you, it also helps if you draw attention to the areas often missed e.g. backs of the arms & legs.
Another helpful tip is to keep a stash of those little mirrors KS2 use for rotations in maths. They’re perfect for little hands to hold whilst rubbing suncream on their faces and save you wiping up sun cream explosions in the bathroom!
Always make sure that the bottles of sun cream are labelled clearly with names. Keeping your basket of sun creams in view of the classroom door can also provide a helpful reminder to forgetful parents!
Everyone needs access to water on a hot day. Most schools encourage children to bring in their own water bottles, so remember to take them out with you when you go! Keeping a few empty, large bottles and reusable plastic cups in your cupboard will come in handy for those children who forget theirs.
Pouring water from a bottle to cup is great for developing grip strength and hand-eye coordination, so give those children with poor handwriting the job of decanting the water!
With all of these extra components to think about, preparing to go outside in the sun can seem like quite a task! Plan in a few extra minutes to give your class the time they need, without rushing, to get ready. The more often you go outside, the quicker they will become at this!
The last thing you want is a class who are all stroppy and red faced children who are too hot. Think carefully about the activities you have planned to deliver outdoors. Keep movement to a minimum in hot weather and only do it in short bursts with plenty of rest time in between.
Have a designated gathering area in the shade, where you can carry out spoken & written activities. If the only shaded area is concrete, you may also need to think about providing suitable seating.
If you don’t have any suitable shade in your setting you could create some by suspending tarpaulin from trees or posts with rope. Reach out to your local B&Q community scheme to see if you can obtain some for free.
Whilst hot weather can seem off-putting for outdoor learning, a strong routine for getting ready and planning ahead can ensure that your outdoor lessons still run smoothly. It can also provide an excellent opportunity for teaching about changes in the seasons, plants & insects, light & shadows and space!
We offer a module of online training for that! ‘Preparing for Outdoor Learning in Different Weather Conditions’ will inspire you to head outdoors in lots of different weather types and inform you which weather types are potentially unsafe. Head over to our Online CPD page to find out more!