Clothing every teacher needs for outdoor learning this winter

13/11/2020

We’ve all experienced that biting cold feeling in our fingers and toes in the winter. It’s enough to put many adults off outdoor learning for good. But have you ever heard the saying ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing?’ It turns out that there is some truth to it! Read on to find out our clothing recommendations that we wouldn’t be without throughout the winter months for outdoor learning!

Admittedly, we were not always the best dressed for outdoor learning in the beginning of embracing the outdoors. Yes, we too have been guilty of being caught out in ballet pumps in the rain! But as we spent more and more time outside, the right clothing became essential to enjoying our time outdoors, especially in winter! So to save you from soggy feet, frozen fingers and wind chill, take it from us investing in the right clothing is essential!

Coat

So there’s lots of different options for a good coat but here’s the key factors to look out for.

  • Is it waterproof? That might sound like a silly question in the UK but many high street  coats are actually just ‘showerproof’, not waterproof. Meaning that when the heavens truly open you’ll be left with the feeling of water creeping its way into your sleeves!
  • Is it windproof? Now this is the real game changer! When you’re stood outside in a windproof coat and a freezing cold gust blows against your back, but you don’t feel a thing, it’s incredibly satisfying! Having a windproof coat does often mean investing a little bit more financially but it will keep you toasty in the coldest weather.
  • Fitted cuffs. The ‘magic’ behind a warm coat is one which keeps all of the warmth trapped inside. Having fitted cuffs stops the wind blowing up your sleeves and blowing all of that warmth out
  • A well fitting hood. Having a hood that falls down every time there is a gust of wind is simply irritating. Equally, having a hood that flops over your eyes and makes keeping an eye on the children difficult is just downright impractical. So take your time to find the Goldilocks ‘just right’ hood for you, you’ll be so glad that you did!

Footwear

There’s a few options we would recommend for practical footwear for teachers but one that is commonly used is one of the worst culprits for frozen feet . . . wellies. They are fine for spring and autumn but once the cold hits, wellies are a terrible option to choose as they don’t offer any insulation!

Instead we would recommend a good pair of walking boots. You can spray walking boots with waterproofing to help protect them from the rain. Plus their thick lining, paired with some good quality socks are certain to keep your feet toasty.

However in our experience walking boots can still be quite leaky in heavy downpours, so if you’re looking for the holy grail of outdoor shoes we recommend Muck Boots. They look like wellies but they’re made of neoprene fabric which regulates the temperature of your feet = toasty toes! We have worn our muck boots through freezing temperatures, and whilst they do still need to be paired with thick socks in this level of extreme, they have always kept our feet wonderfully comfortable. They’re also 100% waterproof so stand up against heavy rain!

Gloves

The key to a good pair of gloves is choosing a pair which won’t remain soggy for too long if they come into contact with water. Your typical woolly knitted gloves are terrible for this! You could look to use ski gloves for guaranteed toastiness in your fingertips, but their thickness does present a challenge around being able to pick up items!

The gloves we would actually recommend for teachers are equestrian gloves! Our favourite pair are made of neoprene so offer warmth, they’re quick wicking and best of all they have silicone grips on the fingers and palms making them super practical for handling resources outdoors!

A good hat and scarf

There’s nothing too technical about this! Just a good warm hat will make all the difference and help you to retain your heat in cold weather. A scarf is down to personal preference! Hollie prefers a cosy woolly knit whilst Jenny prefers a practical neck warmer. Whatever you decide to go for, it will help towards keeping you feeling comfortable outside in winter!

So there you have it! Our key clothing items for teaching outdoors this winter. You will want to also consider layering when it’s particularly cold and this only covers our recommendations for adults. If you’re left wondering how you can manage clothing for your class this winter, we have a piece of Online CPD available to help you make getting outdoors in winter a seamless experience for you and your class.

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