Holiday Classroom Activities That Involve Food Crafts

This week my daughter's "K" class is having a holiday party. They are choosing to do crafts with food such as decorating sugar cookies with M&M's, sprinkles, and icing - all items that would cause my daughter to go into anaphalaxis. I have a 504 plan in place and all food items are supposed to go through me before they are brought into the classroom but this time there was not any regard to my daughter's severe PN and TN allergy. Every other time I have provided all of the food and this time other parents are bringing items in without involving us in the discussion. I want to keep the peace and learn from this but I am scared to death to let her attend school that day and then the next day I want to go to the class myself and wipe/wash everything down myself. How are other parents handling these kind of parties? Thanks in advance for any advice.

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By Mrsdocrse on Mon, 12-23-13, 03:13

I am so sorry that you are stressed about this. I have a son who has allergies to peanuts and shellfish. I also work in a kindergarten class. We did these activities this week as well.

My suggestion is to contact the teacher first. Although other people purchased the products, they may very well be safe. (If the teacher has experience she may have already discussed specific things to buy or consulted the school nurse.) We use skittles to decorate the cookies and icing that is safe. The kids think they are m&m's.

If you have a 504 that states that you will purchase all the food or that you will be consulted than they have violated that 504, this is true. However I can say from experience ( my son is 13 now) that it is all in the way you approach people about it. I find people are much more willing to do what I need to have done when I am nice about it and offer options for alternatives in the same conversation rather than pointing out immediately that they have violated the 504 etc..

I would call the teacher and tell her that you are concerned that you were not contacted about the project. I would tell him/her that you are not trying to be difficult but just want to make sure that your child is safe. Ask her if she has someone else purchase the food, if they are going really use m &m. Tell her that you would rather use skittles just to be safe because m& m "may contain" ….. Then offer to purchase everything and volunteer for the next project. If the teacher then ignores you then go to the principal. As far cleaning everything, I don't think that is necessary. Most teachers clean and wipe down everything every day anyway and the custodians typically come in and do the floors. (just because kindergartener's are little germ mongers anyway )

If you are really that uncomfortable, I would keep your child at home that day.

I know that it is scary…. I would also check with your Dr about touching "may contains" kind of items. I would never let my son eat a "may contains" but once he had a project with food that was a "may contains" and he wore gloves." good luck

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By PeanutAllergy.com on Fri, 12-20-13, 01:32

Question of the Week: Answered!

Every week, PeanutAllergy.com is answering one of the questions posted in our community.

Our Answer:

When we think of holiday celebrations, we think of food. This fact also applies to teachers; they may plan seasonal lessons and activities around food. While it may be too late to take any action for this celebration, we do have a few suggestions for the next one.

Per the agreement that you have with the school, the teacher should tell you about planned classroom activities and check everything with you beforehand. Remind the teacher as well as the school’s principal that they are violating the 504 plan by not doing that.

Meet with the parents who are organizing the party and ask them to change a few of the crafts. Perhaps once they understand the potential danger of the party they will make adjustments to the party.

Talk to your daughter’s teacher about the lesson plans for that day and make suggestions for non-food activities.

If you find that the school is not making proper accommodations for you daughter, speak with the 504 coordinator.

We also recommend that you help her teacher plan a future lesson around food allergies. Once students understand what your daughter is going through they will likely be okay with (and maybe even suggest) nut-free activities. Check out ways that teachers can teach kindergartners about the dangers of food allergies.

We asked our Facebook fans for their help, and you can read their suggestions here.

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