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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Ok, I knew it was coming, deep breaths, I know you all have gone through this, more deep breaths - but 2011 brings the dreaded word -school! I got the notice today that Junior Kindergarten registration will be after Christmas for the 2011 school year. :oops:
I have read the info. on the A.L. home page on school but other than that I actually have tried to ignore the issue as it was like borrowing trouble looking to school issues when he was still just an infant/toddler.
So, here's my question, What kind of questions did you all ask when you went to the school. It is already a peanut/nut free school, no treats for birthdays etc. but there are still the odd treats given out.
Did you all go meet with the K teacher at the time of registration or wait until the end of the school year? What other issues have any of you had that have come up?

...did any of you choose not to do preschool or Jr. K? DS really has very little understanding of his allergies, we talk about them all the times but with him only speaking/hearing since he was 2 1/2 he really is playing catch up.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


Last edited by BC2007 on Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 923
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Hi BC2007,

I orginally began writing this in response to your questions, and I almost didn't submit it because I didn't want you to feel this is your only option... this is what seemed the right choice for our family, and in our school district. Every school district is different, and what they have to offer can be quite different. I think it's important to meet with the school in advance. You want to know what the school already has in place so that you have a starting point. You also want to make sure it is the right choice for your family. I prepared a short paragraph of our son, plus his photo, so they could begin his file. I didn't feel I wanted to wait all summer and worry about the upcoming school year, so meeting in advance was helpful to our family, as well as the school. I also wanted to mention to you that we never asked for foods to not be present in the class, other than no peanuts/tree nuts (this policy was already in place) and no sesame seeds. We had concern with a bunch of little seeds around the classroom, so we explained our concern, and they understood. So, we asked that no foods with visible sesame seeds be present, and they honoured this request (until our son went to a new school in grade 2).

Here's my original post:

I remember feeling exactly as you do. It seems like only yesterday that our son was preparing to enter school (he's now 8, in grade 3). The year that our son was ready to enter school, we did quite a bit of investigation to determine the school we felt could manage our son's food allergies (and other health issues). As much as we liked our local public school where our daughter was attending, we did not feel our son was ready for the school. After much investigation and soul-searching at the time, we decided to send our son to a small Montessori school near our house. He only went for the mornings for JK; therefore, there was only a small snack eaten at school that we provided. We had meetings with the staff at the school when we were investigating our choice, and we felt they had the knowledge and understanding to manage our son's needs. When our son began school, he was already accustomed to wearing his Epipen. The teachers were always with him during snack time, made sure his hands were washed well, and he ate his snack on a placemat that I provided (a piece of wax paper also works well). We also sent him with "Wet Ones" wipes to wipe his hands and the table where he was eating. He never had a single mishap. In SK, our son attended 3 mornings per week plus 2 full days. The teacher was still in the room, but no longer sat with our son. She would help him prepare to eat in the earlier part of the school year, but he gradually took over doing this all on his own. This particular school goes up to grade 3, and we had been so happy with the school and the care and teaching they provided, so we decided to keep our son there as he entered grade 1. He attended the Montessori school until the middle of grade 2, at which time we moved him to the local public school (he was really ready for the bigger school at that time). Finding a school to manage those younger years is so important. Now that our son is 8, we feel he is managing his food allergies very well on his own. He knows exactly how to take care of himself as we drill it into him daily :wink: Best of luck with your decision and meetings with the school. We have had very good response with the school as we have taken the approach to educate, not go in "demanding".

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, green peas, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Julie I am so glad you posted your comments. Insight and experiences from other parents is what will help us make our decision. :huggy
DS is also a fall baby, our DD was a spring baby so those extra 7 months make a big difference.
I am looking at all options as well as how to handle things if he does go to our DD's currents school. What I found out yesterday that the principal and secretary are leaving after this year. So although other staff would be the same I'd really need to have meetings now and then again in September to make sure the new principal is on board and runs the school the same way regarding allergies.

I like the idea of a smaller school where teachers can really keep an eye on him and help him learn how to eat snacks on his own etc.. I have heard wonderful things about Montessori schools, I will look into that option also so I have, well, options. I'll check out the M school closest to us.

As far as the allergens,
Peanut/tree nut: being a peanut/tree nut free school that takes care of those two

Sesame No loose sesame seeds on buns etc. What about sesame snacks and hummus (tahini)? Hummus, I know it is really popular for kids now and sesame snacks are sticky and leave lots of crumbs, the hummus leaves a sticky mess.

peas/lentils ; I have no problem with anyone eating peas in soup etc. (our school encourages thermoses/literless lunches so kids do bring a lot of soups etc.) but again, hummus would worry me. The consistancy of the chick peas would leave trace on everything especially as it is a snack eaten with fingers. He did have a reaction to trace from hummus as a baby. He also had an anaphylactic reaction as a baby from having 2 green peas in his mouth, not even chewing them but spit them out.
But aside from soup or hummus I don't think there would be any kids eating other pea foods at school.

gelatin Marshmallows at least don't leave trace, I'd be ok with kids having marshmallow snacks (wagon wheels etc.) but Jello would freak me out. Again it is the consistancy. Am I allowed to ask for no jello, how do I know what to ask not to be allowed and what to allow.

I want to have a level headed approach, I want to allow as many foods into the classroom as I feel possible to avoid too much focus being made about Nolan and his allergies. However I also need to be sure especially for Jr. K and K that he is safe until he understands more how to cope on his own. :?

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 923
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Hi again BC2007,

You have such a level-head, I'm sure your meetings will go well with the school :huggy .

You're right about hummus. The school also did not allow hummus or sesame snaps either. The parents were very accomodating as we only had to ask for one additional elimination.

Our main focus was for our son to learn how to eat safely at school. The summer before he was entering school, we would have "practice snack" at home. Our son would open up his own new lunch bag and prepare to eat at the kitchen table. He would put out his placemat (you could use either a plastic/washable placemat (I bought these at the dollar store and cut them in half to fit his lunch bag), or you can use a washable cloth napkin, or you can use wax paper). We had several trial runs at home so he had some idea as to how to manage this. The teacher would keep his Wet Ones at school and he would use them. I now keep the wipes in our son's lunch bag so he can manage this on his own. I recently found a travel pack size at Walmart that is unscented All Purpose wipes (I've only found these at Walmart, and they come in a package of 50). I prefer these because they are unscented and I only buy the unscented Wet Ones, but they don't come in travel pack sizes suitable for a lunch bag. Anyway, I digress...

In the early days, if you feel your son is not quite ready to manage on his own, you could be present at the school to help him learn how to manage his snack/lunch time at school. I find with the JK/K age group, the teachers are very good at keeping the children seated when eating. This is really important for children eating with food allergies. My daughter helps with lunch monitoring kindergarden age children at her school, and there is always an adult in the room at this age (at least at their school).

As the time draws closer, I'm sure you will be asking more questions, but I found it was best to prepare - especially for children with multiple food allergies where their allergen(s) will be present in the classroom. Best of luck with your preparation! I'm sure your son is still way too young to start his preparation, but mom will be getting ready :)

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, green peas, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:41 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
I sent a point form letter to the school with some of my concerns/questions regarding Jr. K. I asked for a meeting with the teacher in the next few months to talk face to face. I'm so impressed, the school just phoned (Jr. K teacher herself ) and she let me know she was given and read my letter.
She said to register next week as per usual and that the school would like to have a meeting in March with myself, my husband, the two K teachers, the principal, the teacher in charge of anaphylactic students as well as the custodian. The custodian is anaphylactic trained already but they would like her there so she is aware what extra cleaning might need to be done daily in DS's classroom.
436 students and of them 21 were anaphylactic last year. I know the school takes it seriouslly, it is just different when it is my kid. If his allergies were just peanut or tree nut (not to knock those allergic to pn and tn) it would be much easier as the school is peanut/tree nut/scent free (including may contains for nuts/peanuts), it is the fact that almost everything else being eaten will be unsafe for him due to his other allergies that freaks me out.
Huge breaths!!!

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:09 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
I think you're off to a great start! :huggy

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Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Just registered DS. I am really impressed with the school. The K teacher I talked to on the phone was there and talked to me assuring me we would have a meeting in the spring. She also assured me many times of the school staff and her understanding of anaphylaxis.
In her current Jr. K classroom the wall (up high) has 6 zip lock bags with kids posters above and aerochambers/ventolin in them. These children also all have anaphylactic allergies!!! I told her that I am not happy so many kids have allergies but it makes me feel much more assured as it isn't just something they train for and never deal with, they do in fact deal with allergie/asthma on a daily basis. She said she administers asthma meds (aerochamber) every day to several students.
They also have (if I was to use the school bus which for DS I declined) have a very detailed form for rransportation. Every bus driver for this school board is anaphylaxis trained and meets the ana. students and goes over health issues for that student -also seat them in their view on the bus etc.. When DS is older I might give it a try but one step for this mama bear right now.

So at least registration is done. Another boy with PN/TN allergy was registering also for Jr. K.. Sad how many kids have allergies but it also is good as an allergic child doesn't appear any longer to be isolated regarding their health issues.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
I'm so glad everything is going well. :huggy What a see-saw of emotions though. It's hard to explain how seeing more kids with allergies makes me feel good.....it does mean more people know more, but I wish it would all just go away...don't you just want to imagine sometimes?
:thumbsup With you in his corner, it'll be great!
Michele

_________________
Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


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