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Help A Gluten Free Preschool Teacher

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Hello,

What I am looking for are ideas for my classroom. I am a preschool teacher working with ages 3 to 5. I am trying to keep the gluten in my classroom from getting to me. Everywhere you look in my classroom you will find gluten, things like playdough, pancake making day, oatmeal sensory table, Snack time and even our paint has gluten in it. Any ideas or suggestions on how to keep from CC the children's things with mine? I do have gloves I can wear. I have someone else in the school make my playdough for the children. One day I had set down my morning snack and realized the dust from the oatmeal table had gotten all over my food and had to through it away. Are there any moms out there that have a few tricks you use to keep your children safe that would work in my classroom........thank you for your time

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I taught preschool ages ago. We used rice in the sensory table. Could you replace the oatmeal with rice? It worked beautifully plus it can be colored with food coloring. We made multicolored rice, and the children would learn their colors from that too.

You could also use dried lentils or beans in the sensory table. Texture and pouring are what it is all about. Basically anything seed like will do. Long as it isn't oatmeal!

If you are making your playdough anyway, why not make it with gluten free flour? Or google for a recipe for playdough that doesn't take flour. Must be cornstarch recipe out there somewhere!

I would google each thing I needed. Surely there are gluten free paints? This might not be possible, but I think there are several other ways to gluten-light your classroom.

Use gluten free pancake flour on pancake making day. No one has to know.

For snack time just serve fresh fruit or fresh vegetables. Not cookies and crackers. Healthier anyway. You might be able to get parents to like that one.

Nothing wrong with protecting yourself in your environment and these changes don't detract from the children's learning experiences either.

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I agree with the other poster - turn your class as gluten free as you can. As long as you wash your hands after using and before touching food, the playdough and paint and such shouldn't be an issue, but the sensory table could definitely be changed.

Hello,

What I am looking for are ideas for my classroom. I am a preschool teacher working with ages 3 to 5. I am trying to keep the gluten in my classroom from getting to me. Everywhere you look in my classroom you will find gluten, things like playdough, pancake making day, oatmeal sensory table, Snack time and even our paint has gluten in it. Any ideas or suggestions on how to keep from CC the children's things with mine? I do have gloves I can wear. I have someone else in the school make my playdough for the children. One day I had set down my morning snack and realized the dust from the oatmeal table had gotten all over my food and had to through it away. Are there any moms out there that have a few tricks you use to keep your children safe that would work in my classroom........thank you for your time

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You can certainly gluten lighten your classroom. We have made the gluten-free playdoh that requires cooking and it has lasted a really long time so I can say it works. I agree with most of the other posts but warn you about trying to convert your snacktime to gluten-free. Be prepared to fight that one . I agree it's healthier but may not necessarily be well recieved. Just look at those selfish parents boycotting the school over the peanut allergy restrictions.

Another idea which you may or may not like is wearing a mask at times when things are in the air. It would be a good lesson for the kids to see about the affects on people with Celiacs. At least your 20 or so kids would grow up with an understanding. Maybe each could decorate a mask for themselves for fun.

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I suggest you use the shaving cream on the desks for a good clean scrubbing! (Let them make tier alphabet letters) My daughter is 8 and she still thinks it was the most fun of pre-school.

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It seems reasonable to limit/prohibit anything airborne like wheat flour or oatmeal because that stays in the air for a long time and can make you sick since it settles on your food and on surfaces. Maybe you can explain it's kind of like second hand smoke to you?

If you want to stay with baking with gluten, you can also ask parents to mix up the pancake batter at home and bring it in ready made.

For snacks you can ask someone to wipe the tables carefully with soap and a towel. You can pass around a spray bottle of something non-toxic and they kids can do that before and after they eat. It's a good habit any way. My daughter's school used to do that.

Pamela's gluten-free pancake mix is delicious -- although it contains almond meal if your class is nut free may be a problem.

Most if not all children's art supply companies list the allergens in their products. This is the one for crayola:

http://www.crayola.com/safety/guidelines.cfm

There are definitely gluten-free versions of every art supply. Discount school supplies web site lets you sort by this.

http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?category=0&keyword=gluten%20free&scategoryid=0

The other thing you might want to look at for ideas are some of the sample 504 plans people have posted. Just do a search on celiac and 504. It might give you some ideas of accommodations people ask for in classrooms and things you might not have thought of.

I think the most important thing to the kids is that you are there everyday and feeling good. So, keep that in mind as you make changes. It'll benefit everybody.

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I taught preschool ages ago. We used rice in the sensory table. Could you replace the oatmeal with rice? It worked beautifully plus it can be colored with food coloring. We made multicolored rice, and the children would learn their colors from that too.

You could also use dried lentils or beans in the sensory table. Texture and pouring are what it is all about. Basically anything seed like will do. Long as it isn't oatmeal!

If you are making your playdough anyway, why not make it with gluten free flour? Or google for a recipe for playdough that doesn't take flour. Must be cornstarch recipe out there somewhere!

I would google each thing I needed. Surely there are gluten free paints? This might not be possible, but I think there are several other ways to gluten-light your classroom.

Use gluten free pancake flour on pancake making day. No one has to know.

For snack time just serve fresh fruit or fresh vegetables. Not cookies and crackers. Healthier anyway. You might be able to get parents to like that one.

Nothing wrong with protecting yourself in your environment and these changes don't detract from the children's learning experiences either.

Thank you so much for the suggestions. You have some great ideas!

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You can certainly gluten lighten your classroom. We have made the gluten-free playdoh that requires cooking and it has lasted a really long time so I can say it works. I agree with most of the other posts but warn you about trying to convert your snacktime to gluten-free. Be prepared to fight that one . I agree it's healthier but may not necessarily be well recieved. Just look at those selfish parents boycotting the school over the peanut allergy restrictions.

Another idea which you may or may not like is wearing a mask at times when things are in the air. It would be a good lesson for the kids to see about the affects on people with Celiacs. At least your 20 or so kids would grow up with an understanding. Maybe each could decorate a mask for themselves for fun.

Thank you for your ideas, I agree about the peanut allergy.

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It seems reasonable to limit/prohibit anything airborne like wheat flour or oatmeal because that stays in the air for a long time and can make you sick since it settles on your food and on surfaces. Maybe you can explain it's kind of like second hand smoke to you?

If you want to stay with baking with gluten, you can also ask parents to mix up the pancake batter at home and bring it in ready made.

For snacks you can ask someone to wipe the tables carefully with soap and a towel. You can pass around a spray bottle of something non-toxic and they kids can do that before and after they eat. It's a good habit any way. My daughter's school used to do that.

Pamela's gluten-free pancake mix is delicious -- although it contains almond meal if your class is nut free may be a problem.

Most if not all children's art supply companies list the allergens in their products. This is the one for crayola:

http://www.crayola.com/safety/guidelines.cfm

There are definitely gluten-free versions of every art supply. Discount school supplies web site lets you sort by this.

http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?category=0&keyword=gluten%20free&scategoryid=0

The other thing you might want to look at for ideas are some of the sample 504 plans people have posted. Just do a search on celiac and 504. It might give you some ideas of accommodations people ask for in classrooms and things you might not have thought of.

I think the most important thing to the kids is that you are there everyday and feeling good. So, keep that in mind as you make changes. It'll benefit everybody.

I really like all your ideas, Thank you so much!

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Thank you for all the Ideas. I know I have done everything I can for children with allergies, We are a peanut butter free zone :) I need to look at all these ideas and now make my classroom safe for me as I would any child in my care.

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Thank you for all the Ideas. I know I have done everything I can for children with allergies, We are a peanut butter free zone :) I need to look at all these ideas and now make my classroom safe for me as I would any child in my care.

Here's a recipe for gluten-free play-doh. http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/04/crockpot-play-dough-recipe.html Depending on how many helpers you have, you could even make this as a project.

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Moon Dough is gluten free. I'm not sure how it compares to Play Dough but it may be cheaper to buy Moon Dough in bulk than to make playdough from gluten-free flours.

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Also for snacks the Cinnimon Chex and the Chocolate Chex would make good gluten-free snacks. I like to eat them without milk. Just verify they are nut free of course.

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