Today we went to kindergarten orientation and one of the things we learned is that it is up to the individual teacher to decide whether each student brings his own snack or each student is assigned specific days to bring in snack for the entire class. Two of the teachers assign days while the other teacher has each student bring their own snack. Eventhough all the kindergarten rooms will be peanut/nut free, which situation do you think would be better? Do you think having every student bring his own snack allows the possibility of more nut products being brought into the classroom?
The preschool my son is in now has the parents sign up to bring snack for the entire class. I always take a snack for ds, but lately he has asked that I check the label of the snack that was brought in so that he can have what everyone else is having (he wants to be like everyone else)! I can do this with preschool, but I won't be able to next year unless the teacher called me every day which I don't think is very practical.
Please offer your opinions! We want him to feel as comfortable as possible while still keeping him safe. I should also mention that he is also allergic to legumes, soy, and sesame, but the peanut/tree nut is severe.
Thanks in advance. We are new to this and really appreciate this site!
[This message has been edited by AnnieM (edited March 04, 2005).]
On Mar 3, 2005
Hi Annie. My twins are in kindergarten this year, one of whom is PA. I would find it alot easier and less stressful if each child would bring in their own snack. Even when letters go out to parents about nut-free snacks and suggestions, mistakes do happen. This way you know that what your child is eating is safe. If everyone brings in their own snack then your son does not have to feel ostracized and is like everyone else. I would still keep the room pn free with a letter home to parents with reminders.
What I also did for parties and birthday suggestions is provide a list of food that I deemed okay for him to have. The parents are requested to bring in one of those specific items. I usually volunteer for those parties and even with the notices some unsafe food does turn up. When I can't volunteer my son has a safe snack box in the class with "extra special" treats he substitutes. He's whined a couple of times but I just reassure him how proud I am that he is a big boy for being responsible about his allergy and sometimes life isn't going to be fair.
Whatever you decide based on your comfort zone have a meeting with this teacher and discuss your expectations and concerns. Good luck!
On Mar 4, 2005
Our preschool was nut free (and vigilant), so when my daughter went to kindergarten, it was the first time we were dealing with the possiblity of nuts coming into the classroom. Here's what we came up with: her kindergarten teacher collected snack money from all of the parents at the start of the year -- I think is was $40 per student. I was responsible for purchasing all of the snacks for the class for the year. I submitted receipts to he school and was reimbursed. It was a bit of a pain and a lot of lugging, but worth it. My daughter was able to have the same snack as everyone else, and I was sure they were safe. Also took the burden off the teacher of having to check everything. Our kindergarten is half day, so they don't have lunch at school. I bought the snacks for the morning and afternoon classes in that classroom so I was sure there were no snacks that contained nuts in the classroom. She's in second grade now. They don't have a snack in the classroom. I'm still amazed at how many food related activities there are though. Arg.
[This message has been edited by starrsdc (edited March 04, 2005).]
On Mar 4, 2005
I would prefer individual snacks per child. My son's class is nut and dairy free with only 7 children, and there are still people who send in peanut butter crackers and squeeze yogurt. The teacher is really great about enforcing the rules. She gives the child something else to eat and reminds the parents. I hope next year will go as smoothly, since we will have a new teacher.
On Mar 4, 2005
Thanks for the input! I like the idea of everyone bringing their own snack, but dh is worried that this leaves more room for nut products to be in the room. I will be contacting the principal to find out who checks the snacks and how it is handled so that we can make a better decision before requesting which class he be placed in.
On Mar 4, 2005
Our school's Kindergarten program has always been for the parents to send in a snack once/month for the entire class (picked from a list provided by the teacher). We scrutinized this list when Ryan entered Kindergarten with some minor changes. Letters were continually sent home throughout the year about snacks being peanut free. How did we enforce it? I came in once/month to check every single box, bag, or package that came in. I marked it with a C for checked/approved or an X for peanut/nut warnings. The X's were either sent home or traded with another class for a peanut-free snack. I did not care if the snacks were generic--just could not have peanut/nut warnings.
Even so, Ryan always brought his own snack from home. I am very picky about which companies and brands we use. (I only packed snacks that were on the list as well.)
We did the same thing in first grade, and second grade is slightly modified. The teacher narrowed the snack list down to 5 things (pretzels, Nilla Wafers, plain Goldfish, chocolate oreos with white filling only, graham crackers). This was a list the class voted on. Ryan packs the same 5 things every day in his bookbag (like I said, I'm brand "picky") and he picks the same thing the class is having. However, the students are allowed to bring a fresh fruit (apple, peach, plum, pear, orange, etc.) that has been washed at home if they don't want the usual classroom snack. No fruit containers or cans are allowed--must be "fresh" fruit.
You would be amazed at what some kids consider to be a snack. Many kids frequently bring in sandwiches! And that includes PB&J. Seems like no one has ever heard of portion control either.
On Mar 4, 2005
We do a combo of this in my son's preschool class. Each parent/child is assigned a snack day, and are allowed to bring in treats for their birthdays. The teacher tells each parent each month that the treats are not to contain nuts/peanuts.
However, since many parents don't get it, here is what we do. My son is one of 3 kids in his class that has an nut allergy. I brought in a large gallon zip lock bag with his name on it, filled with safe items and a variety of. (Pudding cups, jellos, goldfish, grahm crackers, mini oreos etc). When the snack comes around, the teacher tries to match Aidan's snack with what the other kids are eating for the most part.
Aidan is also assigned a snack day, where of course would be nut/peanut free.
Also, our school makes it very clear that they are not peanut safe rather peanut aware. They will not serve snacks that have peanuts in the ingrediant label (peanut butter cookies, peanut butter logs), but have served snacks that say was manufactured in a plant etc....
Oh, and the kids wash their hands before and after snack time, and the tables are wiped down before and after as well.