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greenbeanie

Safety At Preschool - Need Ideas

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My daughter will be returning to preschool in a few weeks, for the first time since her diagnosis. She's four, in a classroom with about 16 kids ages three to five. I'll bring her lunch and snacks from home. They already have a no-sharing policy and don't use food as rewards, so her own food isn't an issue, but most other kids will be eating gluten around her. They are very good about hand washing and about keeping food confined to the eating area of the classroom, which is wiped down and swept many times each day. I've gotten lots of good ideas by searching various threads, but I have a few remaining questions:

1) Can anyone recommend a good short pamphlet or article that I could give her teachers to read? I'm looking for something with a bit of basic celiac info that stresses the importance of avoiding cc and uses examples relevant to childcare settings. Her teachers are excellent and very supportive, but they don't know much about celiac.

2) Is it safe to let her use Play-doh if she washes well and scrubs her fingernails with a special brush after? Or is that still too risky? The daycare makes their own dough and has it out as an option every single day. I know there are gluten-free recipes, but it would be really expensive to make such large amounts of dough with gluten-free flour, and I can't realistically expect that. The Play-doh is always on a separate small table, though, so we could just make sure she never uses it. But I don't want her to feel left out if it's not really necessary for her to avoid it as long as she washes well. She's beyond the age where she'd put random toys or materials in her mouth, thank goodness.

3) Is licking stamps an issue, or not? I've read conflicting things about this. I'm not talking about postage stamps, but about kids' animal stamps and stickers, etc. They frequently do art projects with donated envelopes and stickers, so it would be impossible for me to check the sources. Again, I don't want to forbid her from doing a fun activity that may really be safe, but I also don't want to take needless risks.

I'm sure I'll have more questions, but these are the ones that come to mind as I'm trying to put together an info sheet for her teachers now...Any other preschool tips would be appreciated too!

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As for playdoh, I think it depends on your kid.  I play with the gluten-based playdoh at my daughter's preschool with her.  (I'm the gluten intolerant one, she is not.)  I wash my hands and am careful and am just fine.  My daughter is also a surprisingly clean playdoh player and if she washed her hands afterwards, I would be willing to try it with her.  But I know other kids whom I wouldn't.  So, I think a lot of it depends on your kid.  You may have to simply see.  (Can you stay and observe a few days, to get a better idea?)

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I would not let my Celiac kid pay with play-doh.  I have made it for the class. You can make your own rice flour with cheap rice and a good blender. There are also commercial products available. You can't just supply it for her either if she'll want to use the same "tools" they use cause it contaminates all the rest of hers.

In preschool and K  they nixed play-doh in my sons class except for the one time they were working with the preschool kids and I made it for the class.

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We have handled play-doh differently for different situations. For situations like you describe we insist on gluten free doughs to be used for the entire class. In the States we provided the dough and tools for the classrooms. In Australia they make gluten free dough with gluten free flours for our children's classrooms and out of school hours care facility. I provided the recipes I found here at celiac.com to the school and childcare facility.

You may want to consider keeping treats for her at school if there is a chance that other children will bring in snacks to share for birthdays.

Good luck! I stayed with my super silly daughter for quite a while due to the severity of her condition (and lack of training and knowledge by teachers). Easy to open containers were important for us, as having to rely on someone else's help can be risky. We have found that rigorous allergy training of staff makes a tremendous difference in the quality of care for our children. Understanding that now, I think I would have pushed harder for better training at our previous school.....not sure if they would have done it.

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Thanks for your suggestions, everyone. The cc risk of teachers opening her lunch containers never would have occurred to me - but of course that makes sense, as the teachers do go from child to child and open their containers without washing hands in between. I guess I'll be shopping for some easier-to-open containers that my daughter can do on her own!

 

I think I'll keep her strictly away from Play-doh for a while, at least until we know that everything else is going okay in the classroom. If she's really feeling left out, I may eventually try staying with her and observing as she plays with it and washes to see if she has any reaction.

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