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Food experiences and allergies in a large center

  • 1.  Food experiences and allergies in a large center

    Posted 08-27-2019 02:43 PM
    I work as a Curriculum Coordinator and Coach in a large EC center of 30 classrooms.  We teach through units of study but our ultimate goal is to follow the project approach.  We just received an email from our school nurse stating:

    • Avoid the use of food in the curriculum. Skin contact or ingestion of food allergens used in classroom projects are a frequent cause of allergic reactions. Avoid the use of foods in art, crafts, science and other classroom projects. Even used food containers (such as egg cartons) may pose a risk that is easily avoided.
    • Foods provided for class-wide consumption must be selected with extreme care. Teachers should be aware of their student's food allergies and special dietary needs. With parental permission, they can use this information to meticulously plan for a few "safe" foods that can be served during classroom celebrations. Extra care must be taken so that foods are approved and double-checked and that children eating in the classroom are monitored at all times. 

    Does anyone have experience with these strict rules/guidelines in their school/center and how Project Approach or Units of Study can still be successful?

    Laura Israelson
    Romeoville IL

  • 2.  RE: Food experiences and allergies in a large center

    Posted 08-28-2019 02:45 PM
    Hello Laura,

    I am curious to know if you serve any meals and snacks to the children. If so, would using the same or similar food be acceptable as a part of your curriculum? I also wonder if you followed the School Lunch and Child and Adult Food Program requirements for allowable foods to serve the children would be acceptable. Finally, perhaps families could bring in the food you want the children to have as a part of your curriculum, when needed.

    Interesting challenge. I am looking forward to reading messages from other people.

    Robert Gundling, Ed.D.
    Better Futures LLC
    Senior Consultant
    Washington, DC