Izzy finished preschool last spring. She’s our oldest child, so this past year has been our first experience of regularly working around food allergies in school and for school related events. As we approach the start of kindergarten in a couple short weeks (August 12th is the first day…ack!), we are finalizing all the doctor and safety forms the school needs for Izzy’s multiple food allergies.
The school’s food allergy form has a place for you to list each allergy, and then show a workable substitute. I so appreciate how the schools in our area are on track with food allergy safety, but I had to laugh at the form. Ummmm…Izzy has some challenging allergies, so listing possible substitutes is not a practical option. We’ll need to pack Izzy’s lunch, snacks, and special treats every. single. day. Woo-hoo! 🙂
All the preparation for public school got me thinking how blessed we were with the preschool that Izzy attended last year. Overall, the preschool worked hard with us to accommodate Izzy’s special diet. Obviously we always packed her lunch. However, her teacher aimed to let us know ahead of time when there was a birthday party or special occasion so we could have a similar or alternative treat prepared for Izzy. The teacher and one other classmate had some dietary restrictions as well, so the teacher even had boxed cookies on hand that Izzy could use in a pinch. Amazing!
What really impressed us was how the preschool accommodated Izzy’s needs for the daddy-daughter night. When we saw the menu of fried chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and ice cream, we cringed. At first glance, she could maybe eat the green beans (depending on how they were prepared). We figured out what to make ahead of time and assumed we would have to somehow reheat the food at the event. Not ideal. We also expected Izzy to be sensitive to the fact that she had to bring all of her food, unlike the other kids.
We weren’t expecting much, but we emailed the director of the event anyway. She replied to our email immediately, telling us that she was personally shopping for some alternative foods because another child had a couple allergies. She sent us a list of the items and brands she was planning on purchasing at the store even asked us for a list of favorite brands or ideas, right down to Izzy’s favorite flavor of coconut milk ice cream! We were blown away.
Izzy ended up having a wonderful night with her dad, and she got to eat a plate of food that was made right there. I’m sure this would sound absurd to parents who don’t have to deal with restricted diets, but this was a relief for her father and I (NO MAKING FOOD AHEAD OF TIME AND BRINGING IT!), and Izzy didn’t have to feel like the odd one out with a separate lunch box or reheated food.
Looking back now, I realize this was probably the one and only time this will ever happen at a school-type event. I don’t expect a larger public school to make such accommodations; it wouldn’t be reasonable or fair to them to do so. I’m sure we’ll be providing all the school-event food for our daughter for years to come. However, this preschool’s dedication to its students’ needs warmed our hearts, and it did make for a one-of-a-kind night for Izzy and her daddy.
Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by an accommodation for food allergies at a school or social event?