There has recently been an interesting thread over at the Mothering Dot Community Forums (on the Waldorf sub-forum) regarding the importance of hats and warmth and what happens if warmth is not maintained.
Here are some articles regarding warmth to start you off:
This one is about dressing the Waldorf Baby: http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/early-years-nurturing-young-children-at-home/the-waldorf-baby/dressing-the-very-young-child.html
Also this blog post by Donna Simmons regarding the importance of hats:
Here is another article about warmth and health of the young child:
This is one of my personal favorites: http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/sjohnsonwarmth.pdf
One point that Susan Johnson, the MD who wrote this article makes, is especially pertinent:
“Warmth is probably one of the greatest gifts we can give our children, not only the warmth of love, but the physical warmth of their bodies. Children are developing their bodies especially during the first seven years of their lives. An infant or a young child will always feel warm unless they are on the verge of hypothermia because they have an accelerated metabolic rate. If we don’t provide them with the layers of cotton and wool to insulate their bodies, then they must use some of their potential “growth” energy to heat their bodies. This same energy would be better utilized in further developing their brain, heart, liver, lungs and other organs.”
Here is a blog post I wrote regarding the 12 senses that points out the place of warmth within the hierarchy of the senses:
I personally think the consequences of not being warm enough comes down to three separate things: one is the fact that then energy is diverted away from development of the inner organs and brain, the second one is that warmth is a gateway to the higher senses of the 12 senses and could possibly be related to the explosion of sensory processing disorders we are seeing in this generation of children, and the third thing is that lack of warmth (both physical AND emotional –always remember that warmth is about emotional warmth as well as the physical warmth) can lead to a literal freezing of creativity and lack of enthusiasm – the highest level of warmth in a human is enthusiasm! Rahima Baldwin Dancy writes on page 48 of “You Are Your Child’s First Teacher”: “The sense of warmth is very important throughout early childhood, for warmth is the vehicle through which the will penetrates the body.”
Edmond Schoorel writes in his book “The First Seven Years: The Physiology of Childhood” that “In the child, the warmth of the body is warmth of the head. In the lower pole, we have to look for the warmth of will. That has to do with an intentional, directed will that brings the child into a true relationship with his or her environment. It is obvious that infants do not have this yet. Most of their movements are chaotic and undirected. During infancy, each directed movement is connected to reflexes, such as aiming for the nipple, sucking, or swallowing.” Remember, sometimes nothing can calm a baby as a warm hat, warmth is important for good weight gain and for organization of the senses.
Therefore, it is a good idea to keep your child’s head covered throughout the first year and to really watch the layers of clothing a child wears up until age 9 or so. Wool and silk are preferable coverings; some of my favorite caps for infants and toddlers can be found here: http://www.nordicwoollens.com/c188943.2.html
Stay warm this winter and all-year round,