I am writing to communicate Gan Elohim Preschool’s current policy for managing food allergies. There are several children in the Preschool who have severe allergies to certain foods. As you know, food allergies can cause a serious, life-threatening reaction. As a staff, we are trained in dealing with food allergies and the use of Epi-Pens. In order to provide a safe environment for our students, we have developed a Policy on Life-Threatening Food Allergies, as shown here. The effectiveness of the policy depends upon the preschool staff and parents working together cooperatively. This letter is written to all parents to foster a better understanding of how the Preschool staff will deal with food allergies.
Snacks and Cooking
During the course of the day, the Preschool provides and serves a snack to the children in their classrooms. The staff works with the parents of children who have food allergies to ensure that the snack in their child’s classroom is safe for their child. Parents of allergic children are required to read all ingredients of foods that are served for snack and used in cooking or crafts. Parents of allergic children must sign food containers with their approval, regarding snacks and ingredients used in cooking. Only these signed foods are consumed and/or used in the classroom. Although these safety precautions are followed to the best of our ability, it is important to realize that the Preschool and its staff cannot guarantee the absence of allergens in the classrooms.
Peanut and Nut Products
Families are provided with a list of restricted foods, and teachers monitor lunches to enforce the policy. Increased health risks from certain foods was the motivation for making the entire school space peanut and nut-free and asking parents to refrain from sending peanut and nut products in their children’s lunches. However, it is always possible that a product containing peanuts/nuts could end up in the classroom. Please note that no other allergens will be banned from lunches.
Since you have chosen to send your child to a program with the option to stay for lunch, it must be with the knowledge and understanding that the Preschool cannot guarantee that the lunch area will be 100% peanut/nut free. Allergic children can eat at a separate table away from any potentially harmful foods with other children whose lunches don’t contain any risky allergens if the parent requests. Lunch staff will closely monitor the eating process of the children as well as the clean up and hand washing of all participants in the program to maintain as clean and risk-free an environment as possible. Parents of allergic children will be asked to sign with approval of the lunch practices before enrolling their child up for any of our Preschool programs that include lunchtime.
Use of Preschool Spaces by Non-Preschool Groups
The Preschool classrooms, as well as the other areas of the Temple, are used by many different groups. The Preschool alerts the religious school and other groups that utilize our space of the presence of food allergic children in the Preschool, and we are also vigilant about washing tables in the classrooms. However, it is important to realize that despite careful monitoring and the best efforts on the part of the Preschool staff, foods containing allergic items may end up in the classrooms.
I appreciate your careful attention to this letter. I am always available to discuss with you any concerns that you might have surrounding these issues. Please complete the form below to acknowledge your receipt and review of the Gan Elohim Policy on Life-Threatening Food Allergies. Thank you.
Director of Early Childhood