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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 650
Location: AB, Canada
Since DS started kindergarten this year, I have been shocked at how much food is a part of the classroom. They have food tastings once a month now, and special treats on field trip days. Fortunately, as a sahm I have some flexibilty to attend, esp. if it falls on a preschool day for my little ones.

We just had the Valentines party, and some of you remember that I am the class party coordinator, so that I can keep track of what's coming in, and I attend everything. I went through DSs treat bag, and had 'subsitutes' ready for the unlabelled lollipops and chocolate hearts. Much to my surprise, there were Reeses peanut butter hearts in there!!!!

The class is suppose to be peanut/tree nut 'free', I mentioned it to the teacher, who always puts reminders in the newsletters, and she didn't seem that concerned, just 'oh, I guess D's mom didn't read the notice' (an aside, the child has severe problems (autism?) with a full time aide, the mother is young and without trying to be rude, has questionable literacy/low education & income).

I'm not really looking for advice, I know I ALWAYS have to be diligent about everything, and DH or I HAVE to be present whenever something out of the ordinary. It's just exhausting and makes me want to ---------> :banghead

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:35 pm 
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Location: Toronto
You poor thing. I agree, the Allergy Mom's work just never seems done.

In better news, there are sometimes surprisingly thoughtful parents. :huggy

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 803
Location: Vancouver, BC
That's really disheartening and worrisome. A more appropriate response from the teacher should have been 'Oh my gosh, I didn't notice the Reeses Pieces. I will definitely talk to XX's mother the next time I see her so she understands the policy.' I'm not entirely following, but when you mention the offending mother's demographics, do you mean she isn't able to understand the written notices? Would a quick face to face from the teacher work better?

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DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6490
Location: Ottawa
Sorry that you're going through this. Have you spoken to the school about an individual anaphylaxis plan? It should cover how to avoid the allergens.

Food tastings are NOT OK! This is not part of the curriculum and places your child at risk.

I would look at the school website and see what the mission statement says. What is happening in your childs class is setting her apart, creating an unsafe environment where she will be anxious and distrustful. This does not prepare her for a positive academic experience.

There are lots of ways to celebrate without stuffing our faces!

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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: Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:39 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
I'm a support worker in a school, and so I would think that asking if the full-time support worker for the child with autism could also function as an extra set of eyes, or more, in ensuring your child's safety.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Pamela-Becky's post did say that the child with severe problems (autism?) has a full time aide.

I cringe at the thought of all that food in the classroom. This is JK or SK, right? At this age, children are still mainly playing with toys, craft supplies, musical instruments etc. Unless those children are taken to the washroom and supervised while washing their hands, the entire classroom would be contaminated.

If the school chooses to introduce the allergens, how do they propose to limit exposure?

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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: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 650
Location: AB, Canada
Thanks for the replies everyone. The class actually has a teacher, full time assistant and 2 aides assigned to children. The school has a full ana policy/procedure, binders, updated sheets, poster with ana kids pics etc etc..but it's impossible to police what every child brings into the class. I have met with the principle &teacher on numerous occasions, with mostly satisfactory results. It's just hard.

As for the food tasting, it's with a nutritionist who 'gets it' and I will be present for EVERY tasting, and bring the food from home (last week was brown rice & steamed brocolli & carrots).

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:24 pm
Posts: 190
Location: B.C.
The suggestion of placing your allergic child in a classroom with the extra observation, feedback and support of teacher's aides or CEA's who "get it" is a good one. When my daughter was in the primary grades I always requested that she be placed in a class with a teacher open to working with a child with anaphylaxis, with a supportive allergy buddy and with a classmate who had cerebral palsy because his CEA was very watchful and supportive.

You are wise to be present for these tastings. What is the educational goal they are meant to achieve? (I am a teacher as well as a parent of an allergic student).


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:33 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:22 pm
Posts: 173
I am still amazed by how much food related stuff is done at school and it drives me crazy! My son's teacher is usually pretty good at talking with me days in advance, but there is sometimes when I have gotten a call the night before and I scramble to come up with an alternative for my son. When they made bread at school (containing eggs which my son is severely allergic to), they did this activity in a different classroom and my son was sent to another class for that time. I had been asked if my son could just knead the bread (um, would you let your child play with rat poison?????) and obviously said NO!

I am also amazed at the parents reactions. My daughter is not allergic to anything, but her best friend is. He is anaphylactic to peanuts & tree nuts and he starts to have a reaction if he even smells it. There is a girl in the class who's parents still insist on sending nut in her lunch. Seriously, how ignorant is this??? Thankfully, my daughter is always very aware and warns her best friend if she sees someone with peanuts & nuts. But this poor child is terrified when he knows someone has peanuts or tree nuts. It breaks my heart. :(

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Married mom of 4 living children and a baby girl in Heaven.
Between myself, my husband, and our children we have way too many allergies to list.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:30 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 6:50 pm
Posts: 205
Location: Ontario, Canada
On special occasions in my daughter's class, each child is asked to bring in their own special snack for themselves. There is no sharing of food. I thought that this was a great solution for all families.

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daughter: 6 years tree nuts, peanuts


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:24 pm
Posts: 190
Location: B.C.
It is usually the junk food that is the problem at celebrations. A few ways of creating a more supportive and inclusive environment (no child should have to leave the room) are the following:

-only healthy foods for celebrations (geared around whatever allergies are present in that room) eg grapes, apple slices, strawberries and yogurt dip (washed and set out by the allergic student's parent. I did this many times)

-activities rather than food as the focus of the celebration ( I used to hide notes that lead to notes so that each student participated and the final note lead to a special surprise at Easter)

-provide your own snacks but these foods (whatever should not be there due to allergies) should not come in.

-when a child shows up with an inappropriate snack they are asked to save it for home OR a questionable cookie or cupcake might be given as the children leave the classroom for home

Most situations are adaptable. In my experience vigilance was necessay. Students who bring unsafe items should be asked to save them for home. Most students understand and are somewhat embarrassed to find those items when they open their lunches. It is usually the parent who packed it that believes they should be able to send whatever or forgets.

-How did peanut butter cups get distributed without being noticed by the teacher?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6490
Location: Ottawa
You know, Cathie's got a point. If the classroom is supposed to be peanut free, who is responsible for ensuring this? The more the teacher allows food to come into the classroom, the greater the likelyhood of something like this hapening.

If it hasn't yet resolved. you may want to schedule a meeting with the principal and the teacher to come up with a plan to reasonably protect your child.

Don't forget that Easter is coming! :frightened

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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: Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 650
Location: AB, Canada
I think the purpose of the tastings is to introduce new healthy foods to kids (the last one was brown rice, and steamed carrots & broccoli). Fortunately the teacher who does the nutrition/tasting part is VERY allergy aware, and as long as I can have a heads up about what to bring (last time I only got a few hours), and be present, I don't mind. As for the peanut butter cups, each child had a big paper bag they had decorated, and kids brough baggies or treats/cards/erasers etc for everyone and were asked to put them in the bags, they didn't go through the teachers at all.

They are having chocolate sales at the school at the moment, and I noticed boxes of chocolate covered almonds & cashews in the class. Makes the 'nut free' sign on the door somewhat laughable.

I just wish there wasn't SO MUCH food in the classroom, and that kids brought their own snack from home rather than sharing. I have heard it gets easier after Kindergarten, I *really* hope so.

Aside from school sanctioned food activities etc, parents distribute food too, often bday invitations will have a lollipop taped to them, and lately, kids have been handing out baggies with chocolate eggs etc..DS is very good about asking me if it's safe for him, and I always have to tell him no and he gives it to his babysitter :(. He doesn't seem to mind but I feel bad for him. I always have something special to 'trade', but still.

Cathie, you mention 'unsafe' foods being left out of the class. It's pretty easy to define with foods that actually contain nuts, but what about vanilla cupcakes from the bakery? I would never allow my son to eat one, but I don't expect them to be banned from the class.

This is why I'm the party snack coordinator, go on all field trips & am present for all food tastings. I think having the teacher and 3 assistants is good in some ways, but I also feel that there is more room for error, each one thinking the other has checked or what have you, and no one really prepared to take full responsability.

I have met with teachers and the principal on numerous occasions, and everything *sounds* ok, but as a parent of an allergic child, the fact is that others just don't completely GET IT.

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:55 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:24 pm
Posts: 190
Location: B.C.
I have been through the chocolate sales. i requested the nut products not come into my daughter's classroom. Her school had students collect their orders from another location in the school. This could be the staffroom, a hallway, multipurpose room. Better yet would be to sell the nut-free chocolate. It never made sense to me that they would run a campaign that required the bringing nuts into a school that had allergy aware nut-free signs at every entrance.

Cupcakes do not count as healthy snacks. These can be given out on the way out the door for hometime. I always kept safe cupcakes in the freezer and sent one in my daughter's lunch when there was a birthday.

I taught my own classes for years and even now as a teacher on call, I would never just let kids hand out food items to everyone in the class without showing me first what they were distributing. Those Reeses items should not have made it out of the bag.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 650
Location: AB, Canada
I know what you mean about the nuts, this company says it's peanut free, but I still don't think it should be in the classroom.

I have a stash of homemade cupcakes (various colours & icings), pizza and other ready to go party food. I just wish it wasn't a part of the curriculum.

I totally agree about the reeses items, and once found, they should have been taken out of all the bags, and a letter sent home.

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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