My son is enrolled in nursery school for September. Next week they have an open house at which I will be talking briefly about Ben and his allergies. The school will be peanut/nut free. Parents will provide snacks with the only stipulation that it be free of those nasty things. I have provided a list of safe and unsafe foods as suggestions, but of course I can not make them buy those specifics. I will be also checking over such things in the school as the pretend grocery center, dramatic play area and sensorimotor area(play with such things as rice, playdoh, etc..). do you all have any suggestions on how I should approach this with the parents? I heard there all great, but I am scared that I will come on too strong and make a lot of enemies. I would appreciate any help. (P.S. I could also use some encouragement and uplifting thoughts--my nerves are getting the best of me!) Also, do you think you would be comfortable with such a setting?
[This message has been edited by carrie (edited August 06, 1999).]
On Aug 6, 1999
First of all, if the school is willing to stand up for the safety of a child, usually the parents will understand.
We asked via letter to all parents that no snacks containing obvious peanut and nut items (peanut butter cookies, candies, crackers, trail mixes, etc.) be sent to school. The school provided a suggested snack list which did not include any peanut items. We provided a safe snack for our son each day - We felt that providing a snack for him was for his safety and would leave less room for error. In addition, we provided a supply of safe snacks to replace class snacks if a peanut item arrived as the class snack for the day (On occasion, a parent forgot and sent in a peanut item.) The supply of safe snacks worked out very well and eliminated the chance of a reaction from residue or smelling.
The Director was a true blessing for us, she told the teachers that if any of the parents complained to direct them to her. This helped reduce the teachers anxiety of replacing snacks. We were very thankful to have had a kind and compassionate director - because of her we had a safe school year for our child.
Any articles that you can bring in from the medical professional journals would be helpful. If your allergist is a patient advocate, he or she could write a letter to the school as well.
[This message has been edited by Mary (edited August 06, 1999).]
On Aug 7, 1999
Thanks, Mary It's nice to hear of a similar situation and to see how well it worked out! Carrie
On Aug 8, 1999
I did a brief presentation in May for the parents of my daughter's future kindergarden class (she starts in September). After speaking I had available copies of a list of safe snacks where I also mentioned some unsafe ones that they might not have expected (like Old Dutch chips here, which are made with peanut oil). I also gave out a copy of the article "Peanut Allergy - What you need to know" from the Calgary Allergy Network site - it is only two printed pages but gives people a good summary. Here is the link: [url="http://www.cadvision.com/allergy/oma_peanuts.htm"]www.cadvision.com/allergy/oma_peanuts.htm[/url] After my presentation, two other parents mentioned allergies that heir children had - one to cashews and one to bee stings - which started a good discussion of the problems of avoiding allergens. The parents have been very supportive so far - we'll see how it goes when school starts! good luck
On Aug 8, 1999
Thanks Debo- I had copied off the article on cross contamination for the parents from the Calgary site and will use the one you mentioned to help me with my brief presentation. Is your daughter's class going to be peanut free-or is the whole school? Have they had any experience with the allergy before? Just curious--Keep me posted on how it all goes and thanks for the reply.
On Aug 10, 1999
Well, I made the presentation to both the 3s and 4s parents last night and I feel good about it. There were no apparent problems as of last night. I even had one mom tell me her daughter reacted to four p.b. Captain Crunch cereals and is to be tested tomorrow at an allergists. I hope she has better results than all of us have had! I did get a little emotional the first meeting-I was surprised that I even got a little teary. I did feel that I received a lot of support, though. I thought I was very calm, but nerves got the best of me. I did feel I educated at least 50 parents and they seemed surprised at how severe the P.A. can be. I made some very important steps and I feel a bit stronger now. Thanks for your help!
On Aug 10, 1999
Carrie, Congrats on a good meeting, I hope the school year goes well! Would you mind listing the safe/unsafe snack list you provided for parents? I will be doing the very same thing next year for my son's preschool. Thanks!
On Aug 11, 1999
CathyT- Yes I will post this when I have a longer period of time and kids aren't running at my feet. Hopefully later today. Stay Safe Carrie