\"The other kids can just avoid bringing PB when DS visits our school\" WWYD????

Posted on: Sat, 04/08/2006 - 1:14pm
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Long post, but if you read this, you'll find a little version of heaven I think:

I know this must sound absolutely crazy, my question. I heard this from the director of a private school today--a school we're considering for next year (but if DS loved it, he could actually finish the year there this year).

I must tell you that I love these people already and have since I spoke with the director on the phone a few months ago. We are looking at alternatives for DS. One is a private school for gifted kids (school B), and other (school A) is a school with very specialized tradition. A teacher (not the director) at the gifted school (School B) completely balked over the phone at the idea of making a classroom peanut free, because it wouldn't be fair to the other kids. They eat in their classroom, BTW. I, of course, brought up the idea of life and death and the fairness of that. But I was too distraught to press further, and when the director called me a week or so later and left voice mail, I didn't respond.

Contrast that with the director of School A who said upon learning of DS's PA (over the phone): "It's easy to honor the needs of children." She made it clear that it was something they could handle. I cried right then and there.

So we visited today, and I loved the people. I hadn't spoken with the director since, but when she met me she remembered me by DS' PA and said she'd been doing research on peanut allergy. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I've got to tell you, both she and the person who would be DS' teacher are really concerned about keeping him safe.

DS would need to visit for 3 days to see if he likes it and is a fit for this. The teacher would want DH or me there to take notes throughout Day 1 about how DS could come into unsafe situations because she said there must be all kinds of things she won't anticipate simply because she doesn't live with this. Wow.

And they both offered to have the parents pack peanut free things for the three days DS would be visiting. This was their idea. I said that I didn't know if it would be a good one since it would set up a false environment for him. Also I don't want to set him up up as different and set him up to get ribbed (although I get the sense they'd guard against that pretty well).

They look at the severity of his peanut allergy as an opportunity for the students to learn about caring and sharing.

I mean--it was like I walked into heaven or something. This place is so nurturing.

And about half of the kids are vegetarian, either by choice or religion, which another bonus for DS (he has been vegetarian by choice since November).

So--if given the opportunity to make an entire school peanut free-ish for 3 days, would you? DS liked the idea, but we haven't delved too much into it. I'm honestly leaning against it. I'd rather (while DH is there especially) figure out how to keep him safe while other kids are bringing PB. They eat outside on wooden tables. We'd need to figure that one out. I don't want him to be singled out any more than he would be, as he would need to be isolated and sit away from anyone eating PB.

These folks are so incredibly concerned and nurturing, I could probably offer the school one of those giant jars of Sunbutter and the kids could make their own sandwiches for at least one day. That wouldn't be straying from the kinds of things I think they do anyway, curriculum-wise (and they also do other cool things like climb trees and play in a nearby creek and they even play in the rain--which it does here a lot--they're outside in the fresh air a lot).

But I look forward to your feedback wise friends.

Posted on: Sun, 04/09/2006 - 4:21am
Rae's picture
Rae
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Joined: 03/28/2000 - 09:00

That sounds like a great experience for you! I always remind myself, when making decisions like these, to go with my instinct.
On the school choice issue: I am a firm believer in going with what is better socially. Children will excel academically with or without the advanced, "gifted", classes. I see it all the time. However, children struggle with not being accepted socially - by other children, or by adults (teachers, directors, etc.) -for years.
On the issue of no Peanut Products for 3 days: I'm not sure on this one. I don't require no peanut products in my dds' settings, although many of their teachers do/have because they are scared that they may react. That is their comfort zone. Anyway, in our small community most parents don't send the peanut candies. Their classmates usually request that of the parents. ****BUT, if you think you want to request a peanut free classroom, etc. if your son decides to attend the school, then I think it would be mixed messages to allow them to bring peanut products while he visits.
I hope the choice is a easy one!
Rachel

Posted on: Sun, 04/09/2006 - 5:39am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Thanks. This would be for lunches. I would definitely want to keep peanut products out of the classroom--especially since there are no assigned desks. And the teacher suggested that she would end the practice of letting kids sometimes get a head start on their lunches in the classroom if they finished some work early.
No--this would just be keeping kids from bringing PB for lunch for those three days. And I don't think I would request that for everyone all the time after DS went there. But they have these wooden picnic tables they eat at, and they'll never be sanitized, so we have to figure that out. The teacher suggested having one designated p-free so that from this point forward it doesn't have peanut products on it.
I hope that clarifies things.
This school was such a breath of fresh air. I can't even describe it. I'm secretly hoping DS feels like it's a fit for him. There are no tests and no homework. They're working on multiplicatin and division in 2nd grade (something we have do ont he side for DS--he's been doing multiplication since Kindergarten). His friend who goes there--her mother says since she started in January, she reads so much more at home now and does math on her own. She's a more motivated self-learner. And she has time to play.
On Friday after DS' musical at school Thursday night 7:00-8:00(and we had a display in his classroom after the musical and book fair, too), he had THREE TESTS. Three tests. And they already do so much to get ready for the TAKS test (required 3rd grade tests in Texas). They're such a big deal. If I felt his gifted needs were met in public, it might be different, but they're not.
Anyway, this other school is a slice of heaven. And not very expensive, to boot. Wow.

Posted on: Mon, 04/10/2006 - 9:15am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Wow! How fabulous for your family!
I am laughing though because when I read the title of your thread I really thought it was a rant about a field trip of some kind! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
(I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for all of you that this works out as well as it seems. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] )
I think I would probably offer a Sunbutter alternative for the "visiting days." That or other fun or do-it-yourself lunch options. That seems very much in the spirit of ------- education, and if you provide it, I don't see how anyone could complain. Maybe better yet if you make it an OPTIONAL thing. (Peer pressure should do the rest.) The teachers will probably like it because it is a "life skills" exploring kind of thing, KWIM?
I know it is a lot of extra work for you, but would it be possible to set up a "wrap" station with vegan/vegetarian friendly spreads and fillings for one of the days, as well?
I'm just thinking that this strategy ought to make the kids THRILLED if your child decided to join them there, rather than apprehensive about his PA situation.
I think that it really sounds like the school as a whole would be a [i]wonderful[/i] place for your family. (Brings tears to my eyes-- really!)
WoooHoooooo! (I'm also glad that you didn't let the stories about this type of educational model scare you off since it seems so clear this is a great academic/social fit for your child.)
And [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] to the other place. Who needs 'em?? I think you were right not to even answer the voice mail.

Posted on: Sun, 04/09/2006 - 4:21am
Rae's picture
Rae
Offline
Joined: 03/28/2000 - 09:00

That sounds like a great experience for you! I always remind myself, when making decisions like these, to go with my instinct.
On the school choice issue: I am a firm believer in going with what is better socially. Children will excel academically with or without the advanced, "gifted", classes. I see it all the time. However, children struggle with not being accepted socially - by other children, or by adults (teachers, directors, etc.) -for years.
On the issue of no Peanut Products for 3 days: I'm not sure on this one. I don't require no peanut products in my dds' settings, although many of their teachers do/have because they are scared that they may react. That is their comfort zone. Anyway, in our small community most parents don't send the peanut candies. Their classmates usually request that of the parents. ****BUT, if you think you want to request a peanut free classroom, etc. if your son decides to attend the school, then I think it would be mixed messages to allow them to bring peanut products while he visits.
I hope the choice is a easy one!
Rachel

Posted on: Sun, 04/09/2006 - 5:39am
McCobbre's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Thanks. This would be for lunches. I would definitely want to keep peanut products out of the classroom--especially since there are no assigned desks. And the teacher suggested that she would end the practice of letting kids sometimes get a head start on their lunches in the classroom if they finished some work early.
No--this would just be keeping kids from bringing PB for lunch for those three days. And I don't think I would request that for everyone all the time after DS went there. But they have these wooden picnic tables they eat at, and they'll never be sanitized, so we have to figure that out. The teacher suggested having one designated p-free so that from this point forward it doesn't have peanut products on it.
I hope that clarifies things.
This school was such a breath of fresh air. I can't even describe it. I'm secretly hoping DS feels like it's a fit for him. There are no tests and no homework. They're working on multiplicatin and division in 2nd grade (something we have do ont he side for DS--he's been doing multiplication since Kindergarten). His friend who goes there--her mother says since she started in January, she reads so much more at home now and does math on her own. She's a more motivated self-learner. And she has time to play.
On Friday after DS' musical at school Thursday night 7:00-8:00(and we had a display in his classroom after the musical and book fair, too), he had THREE TESTS. Three tests. And they already do so much to get ready for the TAKS test (required 3rd grade tests in Texas). They're such a big deal. If I felt his gifted needs were met in public, it might be different, but they're not.
Anyway, this other school is a slice of heaven. And not very expensive, to boot. Wow.

Posted on: Mon, 04/10/2006 - 9:15am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Wow! How fabulous for your family!
I am laughing though because when I read the title of your thread I really thought it was a rant about a field trip of some kind! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
(I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for all of you that this works out as well as it seems. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] )
I think I would probably offer a Sunbutter alternative for the "visiting days." That or other fun or do-it-yourself lunch options. That seems very much in the spirit of ------- education, and if you provide it, I don't see how anyone could complain. Maybe better yet if you make it an OPTIONAL thing. (Peer pressure should do the rest.) The teachers will probably like it because it is a "life skills" exploring kind of thing, KWIM?
I know it is a lot of extra work for you, but would it be possible to set up a "wrap" station with vegan/vegetarian friendly spreads and fillings for one of the days, as well?
I'm just thinking that this strategy ought to make the kids THRILLED if your child decided to join them there, rather than apprehensive about his PA situation.
I think that it really sounds like the school as a whole would be a [i]wonderful[/i] place for your family. (Brings tears to my eyes-- really!)
WoooHoooooo! (I'm also glad that you didn't let the stories about this type of educational model scare you off since it seems so clear this is a great academic/social fit for your child.)
And [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] to the other place. Who needs 'em?? I think you were right not to even answer the voice mail.

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