Uniforms: The Simpler Way

by Sarah Bayne

June 22nd, 2012 -

Why is Avenues a school with uniforms?

Uniforms simplify life, for children and parents. They eliminate those age-old fights between parents and children of deciding what to wear every morning. They remove school clothing as an Issue of economic or social exclusion, of unfair comparisons or peer pressure to purchase expensive clothes.

Research indicates that schools with uniforms experience greater focus and attention from students. Some studies also show that attendance and school performance improve in schools with uniforms. Uniforms increase a sense of belonging to a community and school pride.

Perhaps the most overarching reason for choosing a uniform for Avenues is the simplicity of choice: making time for focus on what really matters—going to school and learning. Children feel a seriousness of purpose when they wear a uniform to school. In the deepest sense, school is their work (in Ned Hallowell’s sense)—fun, exciting and stimulating. The uniform is a symbol of their commitment to that work.

An Avenues team of educators, including younger members of the admissions team, met with our creative designers for several months this year to design the Avenues uniform. Comfort, appropriateness for age, cost, simplicity, availability and the role of personal choice were all considered. The team chose a uniform that would enable students, especially older ones, to blend in as they travelled the city.

While the Avenues style guide gives more detail, the basics are:

  • White long- or short-sleeve loose-fitting polo shirt, blouse or turtleneck; no logo other than an Avenues logo
  • White shirt or blouse with collar or button-down shirt for grade five and above; no logo
  • White or black long- or short-sleeve loose-fitting t-shirt, only with Avenues logo
  • Gray or black pants, skirts, jumpers, shorts; shorts must be mid-thigh length or longer. Athletic shorts are only allowed for physical education classes, and sweatpants and athletic pants are not allowed. Elastic-waist pants are permitted for children in the Early Learning Center.
  • White, gray or black sweaters, vests, blazers; no logo other than an Avenues logo on vest
  • Any color accessories, including socks, tights, belts, ties, hairbands, etc.

Uniforms for physical education (PE) and items with logos must be purchased from Lands’ End, but other items may be purchased either from French Toast or from any other place a parent chooses to shop.

In addition to photographs, the style guide includes links to the school’s uniform website on Lands’ End, as well as a link to our other uniform provider, French Toast. It was important to us to design a uniform where most items were easily available for purchase.

Older students coming to Avenues from schools without uniforms may be concerned about “having to wear” a uniform. They should not be, however; when they arrive at Avenues, they won’t be the only ones wearing a uniform: EVERYONE will be doing so. They will fit right in.


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