Letter to Parents for Pre-School Class

19 replies [Last post]
By hollya on Mon, 07-09-07, 17:30

My son is 21 months old and attends nursery school 4 days a week. He has recently moved up to a class in which they have room Mom's who bring snacks/food on holidays. Does anyone have an example or suggestions as to how I can write a letter about my son's peanut allergy.

Thanks in advice for your help!

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By chanda4 on Mon, 07-09-07, 17:55

you can probably find some examples if you search in the *schools* forum. But just to share, I tried doing this in Kidnergarten and I wasn't allowed to send any letters to parents....so before you spend time working on one, make sure the director is okay with you doing so. Good luck

ps one thing I would suggest, become a room mom yourself(or sign up to assist the room mom on all holidays). I did this so I was *apart* of the food planning and could make suggestions or tweak ideas face to face. HUGS

------------------
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 1/2(beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 1/2(peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-4 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig and EE)
Savannah-1 1/2 (milk and egg)

__________________

Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 1/2(beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig, hamster & asthma)
Jake-6 1/2(peanut, all tree nuts, all seeds(sesame, sunflower, poppy, pine nut) beef, chicken, eggs, coconut, green beans/all beans, trees, grasses,

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By smudgesgarden on Mon, 07-09-07, 18:37

i dont want to sound like to pessimestic, but last year when my son started pre school i wrote a letter to all the parents of his class explaning about his peanut allergy and how it is very important not to bring in any food that has peanuts in it and how i would appreacate not having food in the class that contained traces of peanuts.
the next week a parent brought in store baked cupcakes from wegmans , that are clearley marked may contain and at the bakery they have a decent size sign staitng this also.
i told the teacher he cant have this, she said i know and i confronted the parent in the parking lot saying very niceley that it is my son in the class that has the peanut allergy and that you must not have read my note and the note that the school sent home reguarding his allergy. and the **%#@#@%^%*@! dad said, yeah, his mother and i read the note and decided that its ok to bring in the cupcakes.

i only tell you this story, so you will be prepared for parents not to care that your child has a food allergy and to just bring in safe snacks for your child. it will save you a great hassel and heart ache. just remember to bring in save deserts too... so your child isnt left out like mine was.

erin

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By chanda4 on Mon, 07-09-07, 18:58

I agree with sg....you really can't control what others bring into class(unless you just have a WONDERUL preschool that will police it for you). Most likely snacks willbe brought in that are unsafe, this is where *only eat what mommy gives you* is important to start teaching your child. I had a stash of cupcakes that my son ate when treats were brought into class(other then the class parties, where I assisted in the food choices...and I still brought in his own food). Aksing parents to not send in peanuts is great, but not very effective(in some cases....like I said, it differes per school/community/etc...so I know that is not the case everywhere, but it is where I live north of Denver). Anyways, you'll never know if that choc chip cookie is safe or not(heck I just saw Pilsbury cookies, in the roll, containes peanut flour and macadamia nut flour...) if someone baked choc chip cookies, how would you know??? ALWAYS supply your child with their own food, food you checked and KNOW is safe. Just my opinion, take it for what it's worth, or don't take it at all [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Good luck though.

------------------
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 1/2(beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 1/2(peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-4 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig and EE)
Savannah-1 1/2 (milk and egg)

__________________

Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 1/2(beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig, hamster & asthma)
Jake-6 1/2(peanut, all tree nuts, all seeds(sesame, sunflower, poppy, pine nut) beef, chicken, eggs, coconut, green beans/all beans, trees, grasses,

Groups: None
By Corvallis Mom on Mon, 07-09-07, 20:25

Does your school have a newsletter or anything like that? That may be the best way to address it, if the school's staff and director are cooperative.

When my DD was in daycare settings, reminders would go out quarterly to 'remind' parents about not sending in nutty treats. I still provided all of my DD's food (OF COURSE!!!-- she was MFA including wheat and soy then) but it sure helped that parents didn't bring 'nutty bars' in for snacks.

I think a lot depends upon your expectations of what can really be expected of other parents-- can they refrain from sending in things which pose a serious hazard to your child via contamination of toys and every surface? Probably. With reminders.

Can they only send in things that your child can also enjoy with his/her peers? Probably not, and it is likely to foster resentment if you try to make it so.

Finally, after years of experience and observation of how this tends to go (with other parents here) I strongly encourage you to [b]refrain from placing YOURSELF as the school's 'food police' with other parents.[/b] Baaaaad juu-juu. Do NOT give out a letter with your names and phone numbers on it that asks other parents to comply with your wishes. Let the center/school be the one making those requests. Leave your child anonymous w/r to other families.

It can work out reasonably well in some cases, it is true-- but the odds are against it.

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By hollya on Mon, 07-09-07, 20:36

Thanks to all of you that have responded to my question, I REALLY appreciate it. I love this site, it makes me feel "formal" if you will.
I actually placed a call to the owner of my sons school after I posted my question on the site. She said they are a nut free center, which I knew they were. But that she would send out a reminder to all the room parents before the next party to make sure that no one brings anything they are not suppose to. She said she also keeps all the food in her office until party time, so she is able to remove things if she feels the need to. She said that they like to keep this things pretty simple..with snacks like goldfish, plain cup cakes, etc. Obviously I still worry a bit, but they have done great thus far.
Thanks again guys!

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By stitcher on Tue, 07-10-07, 00:37

Some folks don't understand just what "may contain" means to a PA person...or the issues of cross contamination or so much of what you folks discuss here.
I know I didn't before I started reading here.
I don't think they are trying to cause your son problems ( at least I hope not!) but I do think that the parents there need to be told exactly what is ok to be brought into school. Perhaps the School director could clarify for all of them, so that you don't run into this again?

I am sorry you're having to go through this.

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By Mookie86 on Tue, 07-10-07, 03:51

My preschool-age child has a PN/TN free class, including no "may contains" allowed. Last year's teacher was delighted that I wrote a note explaining how to read a label and offering suggestions for lunches and birthday treats (I explained to check labels every time, but I think it's good to have some recommended brands. That way, you have a starting point). I emailed her the note so she could modify it as she wanted. She decided to rewrite it slightly so it sounded like it was coming from her. I liked this because the teacher's "rules" carry more weight than what a parent says.

I've been lucky that I had parents in the class who were very understanding and concerned. People asked questions, sought me out to discuss snacks at birthday parties outside of school, etc.

The teacher asked me to speak to the parents in the class at Back To School Night. I think that also helped.

I recommend chatting with your child's teachers about how they handle lunch. At my child's school, you need to label the sandwich as soy nut butter or sunflower seed butter. Otherwise, it's too hard for them to tell if it's PB, and they won't allow the child to eat it (they find an alternative to give them. Nobody starves!). This past year, the teacher asked that no granola bars be sent b/c nearly all of them are may contains for PN and/or TN. DS had a fabulous teacher who unpacked all of the lunches and read every label of a packaged good. Homemade stuff was eyeballed for nuts.

It also helped that the school has a policy not allowing any homebaked goods to be shared with the class (this is mainly for kosher reasons, but obviously it benefits those with food allergies that everything shared with the class had to be store-bought and come in with a label).

I'm writing way too late, so I'm sorry I'm bouncing around a lot in this post. HTH!

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By runmom on Tue, 07-10-07, 11:51

Hi,
My suggestion is that you just plan on bringing a "safe" snack for your child on those days. Like the pp said most people do not read labels and do not realize that "may contains" or "processed on the same equipment as" are problems for pa/tna children.

I did that for my now 2.5 year old last school year and it seemed to work well.

Karen

__________________

Karen

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By dulcinea on Tue, 07-10-07, 15:56

To answer your question, below is a copy of the letter my son's teachers sent to parents before school started last year. As pp's wrote, it's good that the letter comes from the school - not from you -- and that your child is not mentioned by name.

Also, since my son is allergic to eggs as well, I kept a stash of safe snacks for him in the teacher's closet. I did not rely on the teachers to verify that snacks brought in for birthdays or parties were safe. They just knew to give my son his own snacks (Rice Krispie Treats).

------------------
Kim
DS - age 4 - allergic to peanuts and eggs
DS - age 2 - no known allergies

__________________

Kim
DS - age 8- allergic to peanuts, eggs, walnuts, sesame
DS - age 6 - allergic to eggs

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By dulcinea on Tue, 07-10-07, 15:58

Oops! Forgot to copy the letter:

Dear Parents:

Please be advised that there is a child in our class with a severe peanut allergy.

Since exposure to even a small amount of peanut or peanut products can cause a serious, life-threatening reaction to this child, we are requesting that you refrain from sending your child to school with any food that contains peanut or peanut butter.

We realize that this may cause some inconvenience, however, we must take the necessary precautions to prevent this child from being exposed.

We also request that if your child has eaten any peanut products in the morning before school, that his/her hands and mouth are cleaned thoroughly. We need to keep the toys and desks clean of peanut traces as this can also cause the child to be exposed.

Thank you for your consideration in this manner.

Sincerely,

Teachers Names

------------------
Kim
DS - age 4 - allergic to peanuts and eggs
DS - age 2 - no known allergies

__________________

Kim
DS - age 8- allergic to peanuts, eggs, walnuts, sesame
DS - age 6 - allergic to eggs

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By hollya on Tue, 07-10-07, 16:05

Kim,
Thanks so much! I was just going to try and contact you, because I did not see the letter.
Thanks again,
Holly

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By TwokidsNJ on Tue, 07-10-07, 16:59

Search these documents to find samples:

1)google: Massachusetts "managing life threatening food allergies in schools"

2) google: "managing life threatening food allergies in connecticut schools"

and search this forum for "ann arbor"

All 3 of these have sample letters. I like the short, to the point example above too.

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By pitterpat on Wed, 07-11-07, 00:31

Folks have offered good advice, but I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in, too.

DD4 had a FABULOUS teacher last year in PK. I wrote a letter (If I can find it, I'll attach it later) and the teacher reworked it to come from herself - way to go in my opinion. The teacher and I had quite a long meeting and she wanted to make sure dd was treated the same as others. We started the year with me checking the snacks in a very discreet manner so that the kids and parents didn't know I was doing it. It was quickly clear that 1) the teacher would always err on the side of caution and 2) the parents were pretty good label readers. There was a spare stash of super awesome treats for dd on days when someone brought a no-no snack.

Now, dd2's experience was completely different. Same exact letter with same exact suggested snack list. Director of the preschool sent it from herself and was really "on-board" with me. Teacher really didn't care, is my opinion. Parents didn't care or didn't understand. I quickly realized that the teacher was in over her head with a class of 10 2 year olds and an aide so I had dd have only snacks from me.

Both ways worked for the situation and the child involved....and most importantly, for me. It's ultimately our responsibility to keep our child safe and NOT lose our sanity in the process.

Good luck!
Patty

__________________

Patty
mom to
Sara (7/02) allergic to pn, grass, trees
Julia (9/04) asthma and allergic to tree nuts (no testing, just reactions) (tests + to eggs, no reaction)

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By pitterpat on Wed, 07-11-07, 00:37

Here's my letter. Now, this is just my letter, in my comfort zone, and worked for us. Everyone has their own opinions (and many will share freely!!!)

I did give my phone numbers and email, but my dd goes to a smallish private school that publishes a directory so they had my info anyway and we all know each other fairly well. So, it worked for me.

Dear Parents of Mrs. Taylor

__________________

Patty
mom to
Sara (7/02) allergic to pn, grass, trees
Julia (9/04) asthma and allergic to tree nuts (no testing, just reactions) (tests + to eggs, no reaction)

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By Mookie86 on Wed, 07-11-07, 01:15

The more letters you can read, the better to help pull together what fits you. So, here's mine from last year! It's written as if it comes from the teachers. I'm pasting the draft I wrote. The only thing the teacher modified was to take things a step further and ban all granola bars.

Hello, (name of class) parents! We are so excited about the upcoming school year. We look forward to getting to know your children and watching them grow over the next nine months.

Here is some information that you should know about our classroom. A new NAEYC requirement is that all children must clean their hands with soap and water or an antibacterial wipe before entering the classroom. This will help tremendously with reducing illness. It also will decrease spreading food residues, a serious issue for food-allergic children.

This room will be peanut-free and tree nut-free this year. There is a child in the class who has food allergies, and he is extremely sensitive to slight traces of his allergens. In the past, he has had reactions from merely touching traces that could not be seen. We are sure that you will join us in keeping this child safe.

It can be confusing what it means to be peanut-free and tree nut-free. This means that there are no peanuts or tree nuts in the ingredients, and that there are no warnings stating

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By Ree on Wed, 07-11-07, 02:37

Here's the letter I wrote:

Dear Parents:

Our son, XXX, is a new student in the 4 Year Old class who has severe food allergies (contact and ingestion) to peanuts and tree nuts (i.e. walnuts, almonds, etc.), and a moderate allergy to eggs. We were asked to put together a letter with safe snack ideas for the class to help keep XXX safe at preschool.

Because of the severity of his peanut and nut allergies, please do not bring any snacks with peanuts or nuts, or

__________________

Mom to
5 yr DS - PA & EA
3 yr DS - MA, EA & PA
1 yr DS - KNA

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By GinaC on Sun, 07-15-07, 00:31

I'd really like to support what Corvallis Mom said above. I agree with her post.

I dont think your child's medical condition is something that you need to feel obliged to share and I can tell you from very personal experience that (even though your heart is in the right place) it can backfire on you and your child.

I would approach the school about this and have them write the letter or lay down the do's and don'ts as far as food in the classroom is concerned without mentioning your child by name. Yes, some might know who it refers to but it will be the schools policy and not the whim of a parent.

As you move into grade school, some schools will allow you to continue these types of letters and some will not.

Ultimately, schools which receive public funds must accommodate your child whether the other parents understand or want to cooperate or not.

We are not talking about our preferences or whims, we are talking about taking precautions to protect the health of our children.

If there are hard feelings because of any restrictions on party food or snacks, I feel its better if those hard feelings are directed at the school's admin than at your child or your family.

Google "Allergy Nation" and read the article from Child Magazine or click on the link below.
[url="http://www.parents.com/parents/story.jsp?storyid=/templatedata/child/story/data/1173889980546.xml"]http://www.parents.com/parents/story.jsp?storyid=/templatedata/child/story/data/1173889980546.xml[/url]

As far as the safe snack list goes, I'm not a huge fan of these however I do think they can work in preschool when the parent is there to double check.

[url="http://www.foodallergy.org/school/avoid.html"]http://www.foodallergy.org/school/avoid.html[/url]
The above is a link school info from FAAN including info on "Letters Home"

"Some schools send letters home to the parents of classmates of food-allergic students requesting that they avoid sending in peanut- or nut-containing products. In an attempt to help parents, several schools provide lists of "safe" snacks.

This can be risky business. Ingredients can change without warning. If you don't update your list or if the parent doesn't replace the outdated list, the allergic student can be put at risk for an allergic reaction.

Additionally, some letters are very broad and ask parents to "please check all labels for hidden ingredients." This puts an added burden on other parents and sometimes causes resentment."

Good Luck to you,
Gina
[url="http://www.AllergyMoms.com"]www.AllergyMoms.com[/url]

__________________

Gina Clowes
AllergyMoms.com

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By NPenny on Sun, 07-15-07, 01:23

Here is a copy we have used for about 5 years with my son. Parents have always been very good about calling me about the snacks they are bringing in. Also, my son keeps a "snack box" at the school with safe snacks he can eat just in case there is any doubt about what is being sent in. Good Luck to you!

Dear Parents,

We would like to make you aware of a health issue that the children will be learning about this year. One of our classmates, *****, has a severe food allergy to peanuts, their products and oils. Strict avoidance is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction.

THIS ALLERGY IS LIFE THREATENING! For this reason, we have made our classroom peanut/nut free. This means that foods brought in for parties, and birthdays, etc should contain NO peanuts, peanut butter, other nuts or nut products.

Often times, products may not contain nuts, but may be processed in the same machines as nut products, for this reason many times, *** will eat his own

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By pitterpat on Sun, 07-15-07, 17:07

I wanted to add, to folks who say you shouldn't mention your child's name. I think it all depends on the school situation. My child goes to a small private school. Everyone knows her -- even kids 4-5 years older know who she is and watch out for her. They respect one another at this school and all these kids will be together forever, just about 40 in each grade. It doesn't concern me that everyone knows her, but I think it is a good point.

My child did have someone target her in PreK (who knew so early!!!) because of her pa and he was dealt with severely and immediately and didn't do it again.

GOod luck
Patty

__________________

Patty
mom to
Sara (7/02) allergic to pn, grass, trees
Julia (9/04) asthma and allergic to tree nuts (no testing, just reactions) (tests + to eggs, no reaction)

Groups: None

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