starting Kinder this fall

Posted on: Wed, 05/06/2009 - 5:12am
PAmonkey's picture
Joined: 04/16/2009 - 09:29

I was wondering if anybody out there had a PA child make it safely through the elementary school years without a reaction. I am losing sleep, because I envision sending my daughter off into a PB&J infested school! Our school distric is not peanut free. They are offering "peanut free" tables in the cafeteria. That's great, but what about the PB these little people will be smearing all over the school?!

Posted on: Sat, 05/16/2009 - 12:47am
mom2twingirls's picture
Joined: 05/13/2009 - 14:28

I am in the same boat as you. I have twin daughters; one is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts and the other is not allergic. Both are off to full-day kindergarten this coming school year.
I am very nervous about school. I work in an high school in a different district than my home district and I see that my colleagues aren't really as aware of food allergies as I am (obviously because I live it every day with my daughter). But to me they represent the typical school.
I am trying to prepare by reading as much as I can, arming my daughter with as much age-appropriate knowledge as I can, and meeting with people in the school. I met with the school nurse in February and she showed me her office and where her stock epi-pens are so no time is wasted with looking for the child's prescribed pen. She says she knows who is the junior and the regular sized pens. She has a bag that she showed me that she takes to every emergency with epi-pens in it. She did question whether my daughter needed the epi-pen with me with all times asking how severe the allergy was. I explained that isn't any peanut/nut allergy life threatening and severe? This bothered me a little. So she just asked that I get the doctor to write a note saying that it should be with her at all times. Easy.
I also met with the district's cafeteria manager and the individual manager for the cafeteria my daughter will be eating in. They have the peanut free table set up, and told me that she would not be eating alone. My concern at this age is that my daughter will take a bite of someone's food. I tell her not to, and that's what the center she has been going to says as well, but she's five and impulsive at times. The cafeteria manager told me I could check labels anytime. She said they could fax them to me or I could come in to school to check them. I plan on having my daughter bring her lunch, but I would like for her to be able to buy lunch like pasta or other things she might like that would be "safe" for her.
The doctor wrote on her allergy plan that she should carry the epi at all times. The nurse has explained to me that she will probably be on a 504 plan, and she assured me that she will train the K teacher, the aide, specialists, and the recess monitors to use the epi pen.
I'm still nervous about the school bus ride and the kids who might get on with the peanut butter toast, but I haven't checked in to the policy on food on the bus yet. I just can't face that yet, and am trying to find a way to drive her myself.
I know your fears. My husband thinks I'm crazy with this, but I keep explanining I'm preparing and it would be worse if we didn't do all we could to make her as safe as we can. The other thing I did was buy her a girly medic alert bracelet. I bought it from petite baubles on line. They are adorable and have interchangable bands. I had to buy a non-medic alert one for my other daughter because she felt left out.
Be active, informed, and make sure they know your name and your child's. If they know you are or will be in their face, it will be hard for them to "forget" or be careless with her care. Teachers (like me) are only human, and that extra connection and personal connection will help them keep her safe.

Posted on: Sun, 05/24/2009 - 12:42am
BeyondAPeanut's picture
Joined: 05/23/2009 - 13:28

Mom2twingirls Congratulations on all your hard work. It does take a lot of preplannning!!! My son just finished his Kindergarten year and my daughter second grade. All of the upfront planning meetings, letters paid off. Everyone knew who he was, and that I wanted medication near him at all times. Our school does have a peanut free cafateria service which helps. That way anyone having a hot lunch is safe to sit at the peanut free table.
My one learning. I thought I had everything planned, parties, snacks, lunch and medications. What I didn't plan for was how much they did use food/snacks in Kindergarten. They use M n M's for patterning in math, PB for smelling in science, and every week there was a "Super Star" who brought in a snack for the class on Friday's. So all I am saying is keep doing what you are doing and stay on top of it.
I would recommend speaking to the class parents or sending a letter to inform them of your child's allergy, educate them on the danger, enlist their help and express your gratitude. Most of them will be very willing to help when they understand the danger.
I use our flashcards "beyond A Peanut - Food Allergy Awareness Cards" They work great for staff, faculty and the classroom. You can't expect them to read what we would, however they can capture a great deal of safety information from the cards. They also work great in the classroom. It is amazing what kids can absorb, and how they want to help their friends stay safe. You can learn more about them and other teaching aids at
Good Luck it will be a great year!

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