This year, my daughter started her second year in preschool.
Last August 2018, she started at the local Primrose School. My friends in Florida praised the Primrose School franchises there and the excellent curriculum they provide. I was excited when my daughter got off the waitlist so she can also start preschool at Primrose. But within two months of attending there, we realized that our local Primrose School did not take her food allergies seriously, despite providing the school with her allergist’s signed food allergy action plan and having many discussions with the teachers and administration about her severe food allergies.
As mentioned in the previous “Food Allergy” category post, my daughter has went to the children’s emergency department for a total of 3 times as of date due to a food allergy reaction. During this particular incident, the teacher accidentally gave my daughter a “vegetarian lasagna” which had dairy in it (cheese and possibly eggs). I was livid and scared to say the least when this incident happened! My daughter could have died…that’s how serious food allergies are! We decided to pull her out of that school. The Primrose School franchise was reported to the state, was investigated, and paid a fine for the negligence.
Also on my daughter’s last day at Primrose, apparently a staff member who had the key to the cabinet that stored the medications was out of the office that day. This upset me because how about if another allergic reaction incident occurred again to my daughter or another child needing emergent medication from that locked cabinet? The staff finally located the key and we took my daughter’s Auvi-Q injectors home with us. In the end, I was relieved that my daughter was no longer at that school.
Thankfully, my daughter got off the waitlist for a non-franchised preschool located literally down the road from our house. And we found this school to be more compassionate and caring towards our daughter. She really loves attending school there and has learned so much in little time! And we have not had experienced any problems, especially with the management of her food allergies. She is on the dairy-free menu for the daily meals and snacks. And we provide weekly her non-dairy milk to go with her breakfast and lunch, in which we switch between oat and rice milks. The preschool really understands how to manage my daughter’s food allergies and they make sure to moisturize her skin as necessary. And we are very thankful for them!
In mid-March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we decided for our daughter to stay home with us for her safety because no one knew about the infectious novel COVID-19 virus. My daughter stayed home with my husband and I as we worked from home even before the pandemic.
Of course it was a difficult decision to send her back to preschool during the pandemic and with her ongoing food allergies. However, during the past months we have noticed that our Baby Girl was growing bored at home. And I could tell that she really missed being around people her age!
I work in public health, so I did my own research and heavily debated if we should send our daughter back to school. Before her re-enrollment to the same preschool, we made sure that the school adhered to the CDC guidelines, like lots of hand washing, installation of a new air filtering system, and all school staff are required to wear masks. Also, since she was attending the preschool since late November 2018, her new toddler classroom teachers were aware of her severe food allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts, and seafood. The school really informs all staff of any students with food allergies- another reason why we love this school! And my daughter’s two Auvi-Q injectors , benadryl, and an allergist signed food allergy action plan are kept in a safe, accessible location at the school. I even met with her teachers last week to ensure that they know how to use the Auvi-Q injector.
At morning drop-off today, my husband observed that the school had a great process of taking the kids’ and staff’s temperatures before going into the building and the masked staff walk the children to their assigned classrooms. No parents are allowed in the building. And throughout the day we receive updates and pictures about her day on the school’s app.
When I picked up Baby Girl in the afternoon, she seemed happy and it was reassuring that one of her teachers said she had a great first day of school!
Once at home, we gave her a bath right away as an extra precaution (we used to wait until after dinner because that can get messy!). I can tell Baby Girl had a busy day so I am predicting that she will be going to bed early tonight!
My daughter will have weekly music, PE, and Spanish lessons (in place of sign language that she was learning last year). We are very excited for her school year. We are hoping she will have more happy days at preschool this year!
I also hear people debating if they should send their children to daycare and/or preschool. If you are able to, I will definitely do it! Especially if both parents are working or you just need childcare while you are working. And please make sure to do thorough research on the childcare facility, especially if your child has food allergies.