So what are our parameters for calling off a trip because of cold??
Firstly, our school has long cherished and valued the exposure of our students to the rigors, and beauty, that winter can bring. It cannot be experienced in book, or video, or in told stories. It has to be experienced, in person, face to the wind.
We cannot do our winter trips in spring. It would be like teaching Spanish in English.
That said, we still have the problem that small mass humans, poorly dressed for the cold, can find themselves in a dangerous place. Part of our educational goal for winter excursions is to instruct, head on, how to be prepared for frigid temperatures. How does the junko and cardinal handle it? Talk about small mass! These animals and all cold hardy animals wear the finest furs and insulated garments ever invented. They have evolved coping systems to keep their "naked" feet from freezing, the "rete mirabile" which reduces the temperature of blood to the feet so that heat is not lost!
We can learn from these brave and fearless animals by imitating their basic strategies. Cover up with fur and down! Prevent heat exchange from happening especially from out parts of us that stick out: the feet and fingers, the ears and nose.
And we teach the kids to "play the piano" with their toes and fingers inside boots and mittens. We tell them to run, 100 yards, to get warm blood circulating through the system. Jumping jacks. We tell them to be cognizant of their own condition, and that of their class mates. A child with purple lips that is shivering and crying, has lost the fight with Cold. Time for a re-set in a warming center.
On all Mighty Acorn Winter trips our bus is on stand by to serve this role. They must be accompanied by an adult volunteer, thus re-emphasizing the importance of this venerable role. After warm up, students are often happy to face the challenge once again.
Similarly on Lake trips, we have use of the Yacht club as warming shelter. The spectacular beauty, the raw icy power of the Lake is not to be missed. Exposure might need to be limited, but the experience will never be forgotten.
We have been doing these trips for many, 25+, years, and are very much aware of the challenges that we face. The most bothersome to me, is when we are forced by circumstances to cancel a trip, and try to re-schedule before we run out of Winter.
Predictions can change. Ten degree weather with Sun and no wind, can be very comfortable. Thirty-five degrees with a cold, persistant wind and rain, can make for alot of misery. So I think we need to be calm, and patient and prepared.
The predictions for this Tuesday are for temperatures to go above 32 degrees! Perfect for a Mighty Acorns trip. Will that "warm" air shift into Wednesday??? We don't know.
I have an impressive selection of winter boots, extra socks, snow pants, coats, scarves, hats and gloves available for student use. Our job is to make sure our kids are outfitted with winter gear, and cold weather strategies, so that they can safely venture out.
I remember once stand by the breakers at Montrose point during a giant storm, Waves were crashing and blasting up into the sky, then back to earth with great power and music. For the first time ever I was dressed in full, heavy duty rain gear, and was able to stand right in the path of this drama, dry, and warm. It was spectacular.
Enjoy the fierce, fine cold.