Preschool??

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Do you guys send your PA kids to preschool or blow it off for safety reasons? I just got a call from a preschool that we were on the waiting list for (there is now an opening) and I don't know what to do. The preschool is not "nut free", but they said thay could make her classroom nut free (parents take turns bringing in snacks, so they could send a note home, etc. about what not to bring). But then I got thinking: What about the kids who eat PB before they come? What about the morning class (the opening that came up is for the afternoon class)? Am I going to have to ask that the AM class be nut free, too? Where does it end and is it even worth it?? (By the way, she is only three so theoretically I could send her next year and she would still have a year of preschool before starting kindergarten). Thanks for any advice/thoughts!

------------------ Sara

On Mar 15, 2006

My PA daughter is 3 and she goes to preschool. They are a "nut free" school though. Although that only means they read the labels on what they serve. They also do not allow parent to bring food in anymore, but of course, it doesnt stop the kids from eating it at home before school....I dont feel you can ever stop that and I just do my best to educate the staff. They are all very aware of her allergy, and they all keep an eye on her. They also have 2 epi pens there just in case, and a note from the ped with instructions (give epi, call 911, and then call parents).

I feel its a trust issue, and I trust the school she is at. Plus my daughter LOVES it there. She gets bummed on the weekends when there is no school...haha...it kind of makes me feel bad. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

I would say you just have to talk to them and bring up those questions. Then see how comfortable you feel with their answers. Thats just my opinion though....

Tim

On Mar 15, 2006

We never could find a preschool setting (or K either, for that matter) that we felt [i]could[/i] adequately address DD's needs, so we skipped it. Much to the scorn and derision of my MIL. But anyway.

Our decision was complicated by other things, though. DD is freaky sensitive to PN, just as allergic to egg, and has a history of lightning-fast anaphylaxis with cardiac involvement. This is not a kid who could afford a "we'll figure it out as we go" approach. Without the reaction history we might have tried the local Montessori school, but DD needed differentiated instruction for other reasons too. So the only preschools we found that were safe enough weren't going to work for other reasons.

We opted to go for lots of local classes in the arts and sports and do the rest on our own. This worked for us.

How many kids of our own generation even [i]went[/i] to preschool, anyway?? Not many where I lived.

On Mar 15, 2006

I think you'll get lots of varying answers. Some people go to preschool, some don't.

I'll link a few threads that might be helpful in making your decision [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Meg

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/005298.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/005298.html[/url]

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001844.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001844.html[/url]

[This message has been edited by mommyofmatt (edited March 15, 2006).]

[This message has been edited by mommyofmatt (edited March 15, 2006).]

On Mar 15, 2006

Quote:

Originally posted by Corvallis Mom: [b] How many kids of our own generation even [i]went[/i] to preschool, anyway?? Not many where I lived.[/b]

Thats true, I didnt go to preschool.....

I guess I was getting daycare and preschool confused. My daughter does go to preschool and it is "nut free" but she doesnt go because of preschool. She goes because I need daycare, and it is a daycare / preschool center.

On Mar 15, 2006

Thanks for the responses, everyone! It seems like everyone around me (with kids my dd's age) have been horrified that I have even been CONSIDERING not sending her--like she's gonna end up some kind of social/academic failure (which I KNOW isn't true, but it sorta gets to you after awhile and you start to question yourself). Heck, I didn't go to preschool either! Thanks for reminding me I have options!!

------------------ Sara

On Mar 15, 2006

I just went through this tough decision and ended up deciding to keep her home for another year. My daughter does also have an egg allergy which is more worrisome in regard to preschool.

Others, including grandparents and other parents, have made comments such as "you can't hold her back because of allergies" and "lots of kids go to school with allergies" but you know what? She is only 3 years old and many kids do not go to school at age 3...it's almost a privilege to go at that age. In one year, she will have better self control and be able to communicate better which will ultimately improve her chances of preventing an accidental exposure. Right now, would she pick up a hidden M&M or piece of candy off the floor that fell under a bookshelf? Probably, they do look like Skittles and Kissables. Next year, she will hopefully be more mature and aware of her allergies.

I plan to take her to an educational play and music school where they teach ABC's writing and sound recognition...and I can stay and be an "assistant." It's not preschool, but it is the next best thing. And I plan to add another class to help her learn to interact with other kids and socialize.

I think at age three, you can do basic teaching at home, and as long as you socialize the kids, they will be well adjusted for the next year.

Make your decision based on your own feelings, not others. They don't have to live in your shoes and most don't understand how truly serious it is. Many kids DO go to preschool safely but there is a risk you have to be willing to take.

On Mar 15, 2006

Exactly... I mean, I don't think MIT, Stanford, Smith or even Vassar is really gonna care. KWIM? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

(But I hear ya. My MIL did the same number on us.)

On Mar 15, 2006

I sent my PA son at 2 1/2. I checked out the school before hand and was very impressed with the way they handles his allergies. Every teacher in the school was taught how to use the EPI pen before he attended. His first teacher(camp) even had one herself. He had a reaction last week and they dealt with it calmly and correctly. You just have to make sure the school understands the severity of our kids problems.

On Mar 15, 2006

My DA & PA son attends preschool. This is his 2nd year with no problems. The school went nut-free a few months after we started there. We supply all of his snacks.

Our preschool has a policy of all the kids washing thier hands as soon as they get to school. You might want to ask if your school insists on that also.

I see no problem in keeping your little one home if the thought just freaks you out. I'm a little freaked about kindergarten next year, but there is NO WAY I'm homeschooling! LOL

------------------ [i][b]Allergy Eliminator [/b][/i]

On Mar 15, 2006

I think that saying we didn't go to preschool so our kids don't need to isn't a good reason. Times have changed. We used to be able to keeps doors unlocked and let kids play out in the back yard with no worries of someone stealing them.

I think that if my dd who is 3 and in preschool was pa I might have thought differently but since it's my second child with pa I think I could not let him miss out on the wonderful experience dd is having at preschool. She love it and is so sad this week because it's spring break here. My dd's preschool is "nut free" and that is where ds will go so that does help with the decision. But just to let you know preschool now adays is a big part of socialization and if you can find a school that your comfortable with it would be good for your dd.

On Mar 15, 2006

I do agree that socialization is important and if I don't send her to preschool next year, we will continue with all the social activities we already participate in. I think it also depends on the kid--my dd is really extroverted and pretty easily interacts with other kids (which kind of amazes me, because I was really shy when I was little). But, bottom line, I do know what you are saying--I just don't think she necessarily needs formal preschool as long as she gets a lot of socialization from other avenues. (Also, we are already doing a homeschool preschool curriculum, so she's getting the academic end, too). I'm just so torn, though--it would be a lot easier to send her to preschool and let her get some of the social/academic there (would take some pressure off of me to organize everything and can't say I would mind the break! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]).

------------------ Sara

On Mar 17, 2006

we sent our pa boy to preschool the week he turned 3. in preparation we had intensely interviewed the principals, office staff, cafeteria staff, and teachers involved, at 3 different pre-schools. they were all over the board on safety. we were fortunate enough to find one we were comfortable with. If you haven't reached a comfort level ask more questions, some schools just plain scared us, there was no fixing those.

On Mar 18, 2006

I have one son in preschool (4) and one not (3). It just so happens my older is not allergic and my younger is. I am not sending either next year for several reasons. One of the reasons is I am not comfortable with the peanut allergy thing but it isnt the only reason. I dont have alot of choices about preschools in this town and havnt been terribly impressed for the money. I havnt felt my son has gained much from preschool although he does enjoy playing with the kids. I feel I can provide him with oppurtunities to play with kids myself. As far as academics I really dont see the need.. they are learning all the basics at home without much effort and the worksheets that the preschool provides seem kind of rediculous to me. If there was some great preschool around I might reconsider but for the quality I am keeping mine home. I origionally sent my son to preschool to meet new friends and maybe do some art activities that he enjoys so much. There is VERY little art and the teachers do all the cutting and glueing in his class and altough he plays with the kids he has made few friends because most of the kids in his class are his brothers age. He missed the cutoff for the next class up by a week but they kept letting newly turned 3 year olds in so he is older than 1/2 the class by 1 1/2 years.. kind of difficult to make real friends with kids that just are not socially ready. I am planning on doing some cooperative preschool things with some other mothers.

------------------ Lalow James 4 yrs, NKA Ben 3 yrs, PA and MA and SA

[This message has been edited by lalow (edited March 18, 2006).]

On Mar 20, 2006

I think it is a personal decision and those of us with allergic children have to make the decision with more weight than others.

I don't think preschool is "necessary" -- and I do live in an area (NYC burbs) where most everyone does send their children to preschool. But -- you know what -- a few people we know do not, and their kids are JUST AS WELL OFF as those who did go. There are lots of other oppy's for socialization. They kept them home to minimize the bad influences of peers that also can happen at this age (and believe me it does, my DS' young 5 class this year is horrible this way, but I digress...) And, another option is doing ONE year of preschool instead of multiple years -- a good option as I see you're considering. I know many people that have done this with success.

We have had the luck to be at "nut-free" schools, but even then, there are lots of situations where I have been somewhat-to-very uncomfortable. One of my boys is at a school where I have to "sign off" on the snack brought by other parents every day. Well, it's not a perfect system. Reading labels is a challenge for me, but very challenging for people not faced with allergies. And some just don't really care. They send in cupcakes from the bakery, a cake for the teacher's bday, put holiday treats in DS bag that aren't safe for him etc. So I do have to be very vigilant....and often be walking on eggshells with the teachers, director, and other moms.

Overall I have enjoyed having my kids in preschool but given all this, it is a big decision and I see *nothing* wrong with waiting an extra year and sending the child to a 4yo program next year. Take the time to find the safest school and one that will work with you.

On Mar 20, 2006

I totally agree with TwoKidsNJ. If you don't find a preschool you're happy with when your dd is 3, you can definitely skip it.

We really lucked out with our preschool, I know we're very fortunate, and the kids love going. But I honestly would have kept ds home this year if I didn't find the right situation. And I didn't make my final decision until the week before school.

If you're planning on sending your dd to Kindergarten, that's where I think you need 1 year of preschool to help her adjust to the school environment somewhat.

Good luck, you'll come to the right decision! Meg

On Mar 22, 2006

I am wrestling with the pre-school issue. My son just turned 3. The two best schools around - Waldorf & Montessorri have large classes. Mixed age groups enable them to have even larger groups. I am very uncomfortable with this.

I do know that in september my son needs to go. It is not just for him. It is for me too. I cannot watch him all day. I am burning out. This is very guilt-provoking for a mom of a PA kid. I think, though, if I get some of the space I need I will be a better mom and that includes a mom who is better able to manage his health needs. I took him out this year because my first experience with the world and PA was too painful for me. I could not stand to see him isolated with his own snack, etc. I've learned more and I think I am ready now to go to bat again.

I hope it is not a mistake, but I don't think it is wrong to factor some of your needs into this decision too. Some of my other plans to help him are to enroll him in things that are not food-centered like karate and gym classes. He does not need pre-school to socialize -- but I am the one who needs a break from constant kid companionship.

On Mar 23, 2006

I SO know what you mean about feeling the burn out. Not only is dd very PA she is also very "spirited" (as we like to say [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]) and I feel like if I don't get a break soon, I'm going to lose it! (We also live in the Chi-town area and my husband's commute is HUGE, so we are alone a lot!). You guys have all given such great advice-I really appreciate it! At this point, I'm thinking maybe the non-food related activities are the way to go for next year (even if I'm just in the hall reading a book while she's in ballet or something, that would be HEAVEN!). We shall see...

------------------ Sara

On Mar 23, 2006

There was no way we would have felt comfortable sending PA DD to preschool. Our older kids had attended a great preschool, and the director's husband had a life-threatening allergy to walnuts, so it seemed like an okay situation. But we just couldn't do it. We were glad we had made the decision a few weeks later when another PA child at the preschool had an anaphylactic reaction after handling birdseed during a project.

DD did swim and dance classes instead. Four years later she is still swimming and dancing! If she had gone to preschool, we never would have tried the dance classes, which she loves.

On Mar 24, 2006

My daughter did not go to preschool although we did a lot of stuff at home. (I used to teach Pre-K so it made it easier for me since I had lesson plans etc.) We also joined a MOMS club to do playgroups, field trips etc. with other kids. Also look into a pre-school co-op in your area. They are great! We currently homeschool (she is now in Kindergarten) and we attend a homeschooling co-op once a week. It is a great alternative to traditional preschool. If you really want to put her in the school, I am sure if you make an issue about her PA they will take necessary measures to endure her safety. If not you can always pull her out. Preschool is more for fun and social activities anyway and you can get these elsewhere too!

best wishes! shelley

On Mar 24, 2006

We are joining a large homeschooling co-op this fall which includes a preschool room. The two moms who founded the co-op have PA kids and purchase all snacks (peanut and tree nut free of course) for the co-op; every family pays a snack fee. Officially, no one is allowed to bring in snacks; but I will probably have to send DD her own snack because of her other allergies but haven't discussed it with the moms in charge yet.

She will be starting ballet also this summer after she turns 3.

I couldn't send her to a regular preschool at 3. She has too many allergies and asthma.

Anne

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