Debating about sending mfa ds to preschool

Posted on: Thu, 08/26/2004 - 4:59am
mommyofmatt's picture
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Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

Hi all,

My son will be 3 1/2 next fall and he's highly allergic to milk and peanuts and less so to egg. I'm thinking it's safer for him to wait another year before sending him to preschool.

My husband isn't disagreeing, but wants to check out schools on the chance he outgrows the milk or we find a school we're comfortable with. Preschools in my area are peanut free, so the milk is actually a greater concern to me right now (I think!?) for him in a school environment.

What has been your preschool experience? How able was your child to contribute to their safety (i.e. not drink out of anyone else's cup, only eat food from home etc.)

I have to put him on a list this fall, even though he would start next fall because all the schools in my area get booked a year in advance. So, that's why I'm asking now.

I've heard of a preschool in my area that is willing to ban milk, egg, and peanuts from class. But I'm wondering how successful the school is in keeping these products out and how much friction it will cause.

My son's only reactions have been grabbing other children's sippy cups, and taking a small sip before I snatched it away...

I know in my heart that if he were left to finish that cup of milk, he would be VERY ill and would most likely need the epipen.

I would appreciate hearing your experiences at preschool.
1) How were snacks handled?
2) Did your child have reactions?
3) How much was your child able to contribute to their safety?

And anything else you can think of...Good questions to ask in my evaluations? Suggestions on managing snacks? Thanks for reading, I know this is long.

------------------
Meg, mom to:
Matt 2 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 2 yrs. NKA

Posted on: Thu, 08/26/2004 - 5:43am
hapi2bgf's picture
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Joined: 04/22/2004 - 09:00

My child is in daycare right now and it is a new school for us. The settling pains are hard.
She has a anaphylatic peanut/treenut allergy. Our new teachers is having a hard time understanding the concept of what has to be done.
In the past, I bring PA safe foods for the whole class to share for parties. I bring PA safe candies for my child for Halloween and Easter. They go trick or treating and then the teacher just swaps out whatever candy she collected with the candy I supplied.
I guess my only recommendation would be to ask questions to assertain their knowledge about food labels and how to read them, and then try to see how willing they are to learn or take advice from you.
My daugther is also 3 1/2 and has adjusted to the fact that she cannot eat certain things because they give her "boo-boos". We keep a stocked pantry of her safe foods and leave a "emergency" snack bag at school in case foods come in that she could not eat (like M&Ms). So far this has worked for us.
Also, put you name on several school lists in case you find a problem once you get accepted a year from now [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Good luck

Posted on: Thu, 08/26/2004 - 6:47am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

mommyofmatt - hi. My DS goes to a non peanut-free preschool two days a week and has since he was one year old. This will be his last year before kindergarten. So far, so good. He hasn't had any reactions.
In regards to snacks .. A letter is sent home informing of his allergy and parents alternate bringing snacks in. I have talked thoroughly with his teachers every year and teach them how to read a label and of course all the other important stuff about epipens, hand washing, etc.
I have informed them that if there is not a label to read that he is absolutely NOT allowed to eat it and he is to have the alternative snack that I provide. I will keep individual bags of goldfish or something there for him throughout the year.
I do let him eat the snacks brought in by other parents provided there is a label. This is my comfort zone. A lot of times I'm the last one there or I'll stick around until the snack has arrived and I'll either give the OK or not for him to have it. No one has ever brought in a peanut product for snack but there have been "may contains" that he's not allowed to eat so he eats his special snack.
He sits at the end of the table when everyone eats lunch next to someone that doesn't eat PB. The eating surfaces are cleaned with bleach and water.
How my child contributes to his own safety ... My DS is very picky and will refuse any foods that he has not eaten before. It used to bug me that he was picky but now I feel that God blessed me with this picky eater so that he could protect himself. He doesn't eat any chocolate, cookies, cake or anything. Now that he's close to 5 years old he has started asking me if I read the label. I keep reminding him that I read the label at the grocery store so I don't have to read it every single time he wants a handful of goldfish. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] So I'm encouraging him to keep that up once his preschool starts in a few weeks.
The one other thing that I do is put a sticker on him. He thinks nothing of it. I have them custom made to say his name, that he has a life threatening allergy to peanuts and it also has my cell phone number on it so there's no looking thru files to try to get a hold of me if there's a question or an emergency. I see this as a visual reminder to his teachers and anyone else who may walk in his room. I think it also helps the parents to remember when they see him.
I hope this helps. Good luck with choosing a school. My DS LOVES going and can't wait for it to start again.
------------------
Lynee', mom to:
Cade - PA, egg whites, seasonal
Carson - NKFA, seasonal

Posted on: Thu, 08/26/2004 - 7:13am
becca's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

My dd was in a class with a Peanut and milk allergic boy, and she is PN, TN, egg allergic. The school was only nut and PN free. But a heightened awareness due to that fact. Still, way to much food stuff and too much milk around for me, if it were my son. I worried for him and will share with you my concerns and questions you might have based on my observations. He had full blown hives when his sister spilled milk on him accidentally at home, no ingestion.
The school still served a choice of milk, juice or water for snack. I do think it gets hard to start knocking off each allergen if there are multiple ones in a class, but great if a school will do it for you. I believe they should have had a milk free table at very least, since many kids never choose it anyway, and they filled 3 small tables(4 at each) each day at snack. It would not have been a socially stigmatizing thing for him, IMO.
Ask about field trips, craft and baking projects, and if milk is used in any of these things(or whipped cream, or cream cheese, or ice cream field trips, etc...) There was alot of that stuff at our school. I never knew kids could do so much with food in preschool. I was completely caught off guard with it, but we have worked it out to a place okay for me.
Also, milk really spreads fast if spilled and droplets can spray and fly everyhwere. I really question the serving of milk around a highly sensetive child. It is as bad or worse than PB, as far as I am concerned.
All that said, I cannot believe the difference in the neatness, orderliness and control factor of the kids as they turned 4 last school year, versus when they were all in the 3yo(and turning 3 and 4) yo class. The 4 yo group(wondering if most would be around four when your sone goes?) were much less likely to take another's food or share. The scholl can also put alot more energy into teaching something about not taking or sharing food because of cleanliness, allergies and health reasons(diabetic for example).
I am just sharing my thoughts with hindsight being 20/20 on things I might have explored further. I really love our school on so many levels, but the food issue is stressful, though managed.
I would choose the most cooperative place all around, rather than just search for bans. I just found that there was alot more to it that banning peanuts at our school. With the egg allergy, thet other projects, snakcs and trips were an issue. Good luck whateve you decide.
Oh, and despite the presence of milk every day, this boy was fine and there was never a mishap. becca

Posted on: Thu, 08/26/2004 - 11:25pm
mommyofmatt's picture
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Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

Thanks for the responses guys!
Hapi2bgf: I saw your post too, wish I could offer some help. Good luck with the daycare!
Cade's mom: I love the sticker idea, thanks, I'll definitely keep that in mind.
Becca: I really appreciate you giving that little boy's experience. One thing I hadn't thought of which you said: that they're neater eaters when they're 4. That one right there might tip the scales to keep him home another year. Thank you sooo much for your insight.
Once again I am reminded why I love this site [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] Thanks again!!
------------------
Meg, mom to:
Matt 2 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 2 yrs. NKA

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 4:16am
lalow's picture
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Joined: 03/24/2004 - 09:00

I have two years before I have to worry about the question of preschool (for my youngest) and hopefully wont have to worry about the milk and soy because like you I am hoping he will outgrow at least those. At this point I am leaning toward waiting till both my kids are a year away from kindergarten before sending them. I want to give him somemore time to learn about not eating other peoples food, only eating what I send and asking questions.

Posted on: Wed, 05/04/2005 - 10:48am
mommyofmatt's picture
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Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

Re-raising.

Posted on: Wed, 05/04/2005 - 11:17am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Dd started preschool full time at 3 years 4 months. She was allergic to milk and egg when she started, although avoiding peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish. She became pa a few months before graduating. At 3 years 4 months, the teacher and I agreed to put her in the group with the 4 year olds. It worked fine. They understood not to food share, and dd understood. They did cook once a week, and for cooking they moved dd into a group that was closer to her age (only for the short time they were cooking). Then they moved her back to the four year old group. When the 4s got older moved to the 4 1/2 group, dd stayed with the 4s. Evenutally she was with kids her own age. She had no reactions at preschool, and I agree with the person above---it is so much more fun for them than "being stuck home with you' (dd`s own words at age 3), that she was willing to be very careful to eat only her own food. And the 4s were great at not food sharing, in fact they were very protective of her. Remember the picture in the lunch box (if you don`t see your picture, you can`t eat it), and I think your ds will be fine. Maybe you could practice with him some scenarios. There were a few potential slip ups where dd had to turn down food. This was usually a birthday where a parent brought in a cupcake and gave one to each child. Dd was really shy would simply push the plate away, but at least she knew not to eat it. I am referring to that split second where the teacher`s back is turned and a parent forgets and gives her a cupcake. I asked for a list of the birthdays in advance and packed dd a cupcake in her lunch on birthday-days. I never allowed her to have the school`s food EVER. This eliminated any confusion for her, and any potential mistakes. (different story now at age 10 obviously!). In preschool she was not even allowed to have a juice box someone else brought---again to avoid any confusion. I think at that age the rules have to be really simple, and even at three I felt she was less likely to make a mistake than the teacher. I did not keep a stash of snacks at her school, as I could not take the chance a teacher would get confused. If it did not come out of her lunchbox, she could not have it. There were new teachers coming and going all the time (partly due to the director being hard to get along with). They did have Easter egg coloring, normally with real eggs, but they changed that when dd came.
She was also in a 2 hour a day program 4 days a week starting at age 2 years 11 months until preschool at 3 years 4 months. The 2 hour a day program included lunch and I did it to get her ready for all day preschool. It was expensive with excellent staff ratios, and a staff member always sat right behind her to make sure she did not take anyone`s food. She never tried to, but at 2 years 11 months, you just don`t know. By 3 years 4 months, she was very ready for preschool.

Posted on: Wed, 05/04/2005 - 12:13pm
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Joined: 02/10/2005 - 09:00

My pa son is in the first grade now. I found that the pre school experience was a good testing ground to prepare both the parents and the child for big school. You do not have as many choices or as much ability to monitor the everyday when they go off to school. See it as a learning experience and good pratice for the challenges ahead.

Posted on: Wed, 05/04/2005 - 8:01pm
mommyofmatt's picture
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Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

Hey Carefulmom (waving hi) I hope all is well with you [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
I guess I should have been more specific in my re-raise [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img], I found it for Ree. We are sending our ds to preschool (gulp). I'm about as happy with the school we chose as I can be.
One thing I found out recently though didn't thrill me...(there's always got to be something right?!) The hospital closest to the school has a reputation for being clueless on how to treat allergies (which I find kind of shocking!). The better hospital is a good 20 minutes away. I'd prefer he'd go there if he had a reaction. If I request that, what are the chances the ambulance will take him to my preferred hospital?
Your post was very reassuring though, thanks. My ds will be 3 yrs. 4 mos. when he starts, and we're making alot of progress with teaching him what he needs to know. And, yes, the picture in the lunchbox is such a perfect idea.
I'm glad preschool worked well for you Qdebbie1. That reassurance is very helpful as we start this whole school eperience.
Meg
[This message has been edited by mommyofmatt (edited May 05, 2005).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/04/2005 - 10:12pm
notnutty's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2004 - 09:00

We were going to put my DS (Peanut and Soy Allergic) in preschool when he was 3 1/2. Decided to wait another year because he was just not aware enough of his own allergy for my comfort level. He is getting ready to start in the fall and will be 4 1/2. He is much better about asking questions before he eats anything. There are no peanut free preschools in our area, so that was also a deciding factor.
Make sure you request the epi to be in the classroom and the teachers all know how and when to use it. The school had my son's future teachers watch a training video on allergies and how to prevent reactions. The school has also decided to provide the snacks for all the students instead of parents sending them.
Good Luck with your decision!
Donna

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