Kids With Food Allergies
 home   
what's new recipes resources allergy alerts find friends
donate shop KFA allergy buyer's guide support forums
  membership   site map     contact us   about   

Food Allergy Resources

Preparing Food-allergic Children for School: a Teacher's Perspective

May 2013



Educator creates safe environment for food allergic children

By Deborah Simons



Food allergic studentGoing back to school is both stressful and exciting for all those getting ready for the first day of class.

No matter how prepared I try to be, the mad dash to begin the year inevitably leaves me feeling a bit overwhelmed, as there are many unknowns.

In August, as I picked up my first-grade class list, I noticed something different. There was a note on the bottom to see my principal and school nurse. The two informed me that I had a couple of children needing medical support and another two with food allergies. I knew immediately that there would need to be a few changes in how I planned the school year.

I am sure that there are horror stories about hard-nosed, rigid teachers, just as there are about critical, demanding parents. I knew that I would never make everyone happy with my decisions in the classroom, but I really wanted to start out on the right foot with parents. We had to work together ó otherwise the students would suffer.

Food allergic studentThe most important piece was open communication. Prior to the start of the school year, I met individually with the parents of each allergy/medical student to discuss acceptable foods, what to do if a reaction occurred, and how the classroom would be cleaned if off-limit foods were brought in. During the school year we e-mailed, and, since they regularly volunteered in the classroom, we were able to touch base in person as well.


Communication with the other parents was also essential. I encouraged non-food items for birthday treats and specified in many notes that no peanut foods were to be brought in for our short snack time in the morning, for class parties, or on special days when we ate lunch outside together.

Each child with an allergy had a "snack tub" that their parents kept stocked so the children could go get a safe snack in questionable moments.

I spent a considerable amount of time developing a classroom environment that respected each studentís differences. Allergies naturally fit into class discussions. One parent of a child with allergies sent in a book and short video about allergies that I shared with the class. Halfway through the year, many of my students were checking the ingredients in their snacks to make sure they were safe and healthy for everyone.


My students and parents worked together to make sure we had a safe and welcoming learning environment


Unfortunately, there were a few times when I did find unsafe foods in my classroom. Despite those moments, my students and parents worked together to make sure we had a safe and welcoming learning environment.

This was the closest group of students I have ever had. I could see each day that they truly cared for each other. This year, I am hoping to have the same open communication with parents to lay the groundwork for another successful year.


Deborah Simons is an educator in the Springboro Community City School District in Ohio.


Updated August 2008 and May 2013. This article first appeared in the Fall 2006 edition of Support Net™ and is available to download (requires Adobe Reader Adobe Reader.)




Kids With Food Allergies is a nonprofit charity. More than 80% of KFA's financial support comes from donors like you. If KFA has helped you in some way, please make a donation to support our work.

Page last updated 7/29/2012

We improve the day-to-day lives of families raising children with food allergies
and empower them to create a safe and healthy future for their children.

Memberships Support Forums Allergy-Free Recipes Allergy Education Resources Friends Connection
Food Allergy Alerts Donate Shop KFA Allergy Buyer's Guide Contact Us Press | Media

Privacy Policy and Terms of Service
Copyright (c) 2005-2011, Kids With Food Allergies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Kids With Food Allergies is a tax exempt charity.