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Another Baking In School Question

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Hi Everyone,

I have just read the recent thread about baking in school. Great advice and bravo to the little lady that stood up for herself and the mom who backed her!

This is the first time I have had a potential problem with a teacher. So far we have had great luck and amazing teachers. My sons preschool teacher wants to bake gingerbread cookies with the kids on Tuesday after reading a book. She made three suggestions 1. Have my ds stay on the opposite side of the room while everyone else does the activity (yes she seriously said that) 2. Me pick him up early/just stay home 3. Me bring in gluten free baking things and flour to make the cookies

I opted for number 3 but I have found out that the recipe calls for 6, yes 6 cups of flour! Can you say ouch to the pocket book!? Anyway, I have no problem with that but there is an afternoon class that comes in and does the same activities where there is no gluten issue. So basically they will bake with regular wheat flour in the room, which is also the problem with him just staying home and them using regular flour.

My question is has anyone had this happen in preschool and if your child wasn't there did they get sick from particulate fall out that wasn't cleaned up properly? How did you handle it? Did you trust the teachers when they said they would clean the room or did you go in and help them clean? I have also been made to become aware that people in the school are not taking this seriously. Granted my daughter is diagnose celiac, ds however has a positive gene test and positive dietary response but since he was 2 when we tested we didn't get a positive on the biopsy so no dx by the doctor. She said, he obviously has a problem and there is no reason to keep him on gluten if taking him off solves the problem and we know he carries the gene.

Also there are soy, egg, tree nut, peanut, strawberry, dairy and diabetes in the classroom besides my sons gluten intolerance. I am not sure why she is taking on the responsibility and liability of baking with all of this in the class anyway. She has made efforts to find a dairy nut and egg free recipe. Why is she willing to bring flour in the room, it's not even like it is some crumbs that can be cleaned off the table from snack, it's going to be flying in the air! Boy I am so frustrated and worried that I can't form a coherent thought, sorry this is so jumbled. As you can tell I could use some guidance! Any advice is welcome and thank you in advance.

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I completely understand your frustration.

It is a possibility that this teacher really does not understand the part about how one microscopic gluten molecule can make a child sick. It is hard to get people to understand this when most doctors don't even acknowledge this or even know anything about celiac. I love my son's pediatrician but she is virtually clueless about gluten. She fully believes that the standard blood tests are 100% accurate and since he tested negative that he does not have celiac. She will not comment about Enterolab testing or anything alternative because she admits that she simply doesn't know anything about them or have the training. It can be really frustrating.

It is your job as parent to educate your child's preschool teacher. They are specializing in early childhood education and not in the health field and cannot be expected to know everything about gluten. If you have not already given the teacher some written information on Celiac and maybe had a sit-down about it, that might be a good idea.

Hopefully after some education and a lot of patience from you, this teacher will start to believe how harmful gluten can be. Gluten is a slow killer. People are naturally more likely to notice the immediate killers like peanut allergy and be focused on that. I think it takes some time and a lot of education to understand celiac--especially when its not your child. Even when it is your child it can be very confusing and seemingly unbelievable. I doubted that my child even had celiac after being gluten-free for 8 months and he still had chronic diarrhea. I started to question whether his Enterolab results were correct. If we as parents can get that confused about it, imagine what it is like for the teacher who's got 20 kids, all with different issues.

You are fighting an uphill battle. We all are. Just hang in there and try to be patient with the teacher while being firm about this. Provide handouts or books or whatever you need to get the information across. Your child's teacher is in the education field. She should be willing to be educated on this. Even if it is "just" preschool.

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She may want to really think this over more. All those food issues! Not to mention the finger-licking and nose picking during cold and flu season. Blech! Baking is best done at home where you can keep your cooties in your family. :P

A cute alternate gingerbread man craft is to cut the man from dark brown felt and allow the kids to decorate with bits and bobs. It's super cute, much safer, and they have something to take home.

Maybe you could talk with her again and mention these things and this possible alternative? If all else fails, would you be willing to lead the kids who can't participate in this alternate craft?

Good luck!

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I completely understand your frustration.

It is a possibility that this teacher really does not understand the part about how one microscopic gluten molecule can make a child sick. It is hard to get people to understand this when most doctors don't even acknowledge this or even know anything about celiac. I love my son's pediatrician but she is virtually clueless about gluten. She fully believes that the standard blood tests are 100% accurate and since he tested negative that he does not have celiac. She will not comment about Enterolab testing or anything alternative because she admits that she simply doesn't know anything about them or have the training. It can be really frustrating.

It is your job as parent to educate your child's preschool teacher. They are specializing in early childhood education and not in the health field and cannot be expected to know everything about gluten. If you have not already given the teacher some written information on Celiac and maybe had a sit-down about it, that might be a good idea.

Hopefully after some education and a lot of patience from you, this teacher will start to believe how harmful gluten can be. Gluten is a slow killer. People are naturally more likely to notice the immediate killers like peanut allergy and be focused on that. I think it takes some time and a lot of education to understand celiac--especially when its not your child. Even when it is your child it can be very confusing and seemingly unbelievable. I doubted that my child even had celiac after being gluten-free for 8 months and he still had chronic diarrhea. I started to question whether his Enterolab results were correct. If we as parents can get that confused about it, imagine what it is like for the teacher who's got 20 kids, all with different issues.

You are fighting an uphill battle. We all are. Just hang in there and try to be patient with the teacher while being firm about this. Provide handouts or books or whatever you need to get the information across. Your child's teacher is in the education field. She should be willing to be educated on this. Even if it is "just" preschool.

It just seems with so many kids with food issues in the class baking is just a poor choice of activity. There are hundreds of other activities that pre-schoolers could do as a class. They can make bubbles, collages, finger paint. Even with cooking they could make things like apple sauce or sorbet that don't need flour or egg substitutes. You still have to worry about whether the pans are clean enough though? Or 'bake' stuff not to be eaten (http://www.csaceliacs.org/CelKidsRecipes.php#Play) It sounds like there are a number of children in that class who need to be extremely careful about what they eat. It could be that whatever ingredients are in your gluten-free flour mix might set off some reaction in some other kid. Why risk making anyone sick especially a small child? It can't matter that much to a three or four year old? They have fun in all sorts of ways. They can be happy making mud pies too. Can you check what the school policy is on this and if it's a little pre-school maybe get together with the other parents who have kids that need to be really careful and write one?

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Hi Everyone,

I have just read the recent thread about baking in school. Great advice and bravo to the little lady that stood up for herself and the mom who backed her!

This is the first time I have had a potential problem with a teacher. So far we have had great luck and amazing teachers. My sons preschool teacher wants to bake gingerbread cookies with the kids on Tuesday after reading a book. She made three suggestions 1. Have my ds stay on the opposite side of the room while everyone else does the activity (yes she seriously said that) 2. Me pick him up early/just stay home 3. Me bring in gluten free baking things and flour to make the cookies

I opted for number 3 but I have found out that the recipe calls for 6, yes 6 cups of flour! Can you say ouch to the pocket book!? Anyway, I have no problem with that but there is an afternoon class that comes in and does the same activities where there is no gluten issue. So basically they will bake with regular wheat flour in the room, which is also the problem with him just staying home and them using regular flour.

My question is has anyone had this happen in preschool and if your child wasn't there did they get sick from particulate fall out that wasn't cleaned up properly? How did you handle it? Did you trust the teachers when they said they would clean the room or did you go in and help them clean? I have also been made to become aware that people in the school are not taking this seriously. Granted my daughter is diagnose celiac, ds however has a positive gene test and positive dietary response but since he was 2 when we tested we didn't get a positive on the biopsy so no dx by the doctor. She said, he obviously has a problem and there is no reason to keep him on gluten if taking him off solves the problem and we know he carries the gene.

Also there are soy, egg, tree nut, peanut, strawberry, dairy and diabetes in the classroom besides my sons gluten intolerance. I am not sure why she is taking on the responsibility and liability of baking with all of this in the class anyway. She has made efforts to find a dairy nut and egg free recipe. Why is she willing to bring flour in the room, it's not even like it is some crumbs that can be cleaned off the table from snack, it's going to be flying in the air! Boy I am so frustrated and worried that I can't form a coherent thought, sorry this is so jumbled. As you can tell I could use some guidance! Any advice is welcome and thank you in advance.

Maybe make felt gingerbread people and decorate them instead?

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You can add cinnamon(lots) to brown paint. My son made a cardboard gingerbread man this way in pre-school and we still hang it on the tree(he's 11 now). They decorated it with rick rack.

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Educating the teacher about food issues is an ongoing issue, and think how you would react if someone bombarded you with information on top of requesting alternate activity. Which is more important to you right now?

If it were me, I'd ask if your child could join the no-food-activity afternoon class for the day. If that's not okay, I would simply keep her home and make our own gingerbread(cut the recipe in half!), and bring it in the following day for show-and-tell. I don't see that as caving in -- imagine if all the food issue children bail on cooking. The teacher would quickly get the desired message of "cooking is not practical in this setting" and stop.

If cooking were a weekly thing, then opting out wouldn't work, but if it's truly a rare occasion, I would save my energy for a bigger battle. I have two celiacs and tried keeping wheat flour in the house --- always made someone sick, no matter how thoroughly I cleaned and/or covered things.

joanna

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I don't see that as caving in -- imagine if all the food issue children bail on cooking. The teacher would quickly get the desired message of "cooking is not practical in this setting" and stop.

Actually, I do think there is a lot of truth in this statement. If all the food allergic kids bailed on all of the food-based activities....things would definitely change.

Having been in your shoes through 2 years of pre-school, I would opt to bake at home with my child. We tried to do the gluten-free alternatives the first year and my daughter was the one who suffered most from it. We skipped all of those lovely activities the following year and we got through pretty well. Of course, the teacher tried to take credit for things going more "smoothly" (as far as reactions) the second year and I had to laugh. I ended up keeping my daughter home for at least 7 full classdays (she only went 3 days per week). We missed most of December and February in order to avoid the CC issues! Then again....it did go much more smoothly for us and we were able to enjoy the holiday breaks.....

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Hi Everyone!

Thanks to everyone for all of your replies. I ended up keeping Michael home on Thursday and we are going to bake gingerbread men together at home. He decided to do it when his sister and two friends are with us on Wednesday since he thought that would be more fun. He is such a thoughtful little boy even when he is being left out. When I told him what the class was doing (I didn't want him to find out from someone else) he started to cry, I told him we were going to do the same at home but in a way he wouldn't get sick. He immediately started smiling and yelling hooray! I took in an official letter from the doctor and gave one to the office for his file and a copy to his teacher. Amazingly enough, that night she called saying that they usually decorate cookies for the holiday party but she is going to change the activity since Michael and the other little girl can't do it. She asked me to sign up for the cookies to bake at home and bring in for the party. That's no problem! I am going to call the other little girls mom and find out what egg substitute she uses so the little girl isn't left out.

I made some of the suggestions about the craft instead of baking but it seemed like it went in one ear and out the other. I don't think she took me seriously, looks like the official letter from the dr changed her mind.

Anyway, thanks to all of you for your help and kinds words. Sorry my first post was a little frantic, I was quite upset. This forum is wonderful and so are the people on it! Thanks again all!

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