Monday, May 11, 2009

Kindergarten Orientation was Exciting

I appreciated each and every comment on my post Kindergarten Bound with Allergies. I was surprised and thrilled to hear from so many people. I am afraid that my post made it seem like I have this transition all figured out. I don't. I am constantly learning. I will continue to share what I learn along the way and I welcome your input as I share. And, I will try to respond to you as I can.

On that last post, Stacey from McCrakens x 4 commented:
"Kindergarten is supposed to be fun and exciting, not scary."

That is exactly what Kindergarten Orientation was for my son-- exciting.

Here he is right as we were getting ready to leave the school.

He was just like every other kid at Orientation. He went on a tour of the school, sat in a school bus, and went to a kindergarten room for a story. It was a wonderful experience for him.

During the tour, the parents were in the cafeteria listening to various speakers talk about Kindergarten, the school, safety and transportation. The Orientation was informative and light.

The allergy information that I emailed was provided in the folder of information handed out to each parent. There was also a PAL brochure included. The school nurse talked about health assessments and touched on the fact that there would be an incoming student with a peanut allergy. (And as a nervous parent, I scanned the room for a visible reaction but there was none.)

It was left at that. At first, I was disappointed. (I want to protect my son so precautions can't happen fast enough!) But the more I thought about it, the better I felt. I think the school handled the allergy just right for orientation.

The parents there may or may not read the material. Even if they do read it, they won't know how will affect their student. If the school nurse had gone into more detail, much of what was said wouldn't be retained over the summer. At orientation, they took the first step by informing the parents that there will be a student with a serious food allergy and they provided the parents with basic information. More will be done when the time is right.
I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this so drop me a comment and let me know what you think.

Here's my son enjoying his Kindergarten kit.


RLR said...

So glad that Orientation was exciting for him! My guy can hardly wait for kindergarten to begin!
I think it's good that there wasn't a big issue made of the allergy info - though I certainly understand your concerns. I still don't have an appointment to discuss PA with our new school, but I'll be following up this week.
Just a couple of questions -
Will you be packing lunches every day? (I'm assuming that if he's the only PA kid there, he won't sit at the 'allergy table' during lunch. Some preschools here have a special table for allergy kids that stay for lunch bunch. Don't know how they handle it in public school, since this is our first experience with my son in K and my daughter in 3yo preschool).
Are you more concerned about his classmates (and their parents) having a more through understanding (as compared to everyone else at the orientation)?
I'm sure I'll think of more questions as we navigate the same issues here. Thanks for the post, and take care!

Nowheymama said...

It sounds as if everything went well!

everydayMOM said...

It's always interesting to me at the beginning of the school year when I meet with my son's new teacher and go over all of the allergy info with her... she is so nervous and feels like she might not be able to handle the situation. By the end of the year, she hasn't had one single peanut incident. And in fact, I've met with her far more often to talk about problems with spelling and grammar assignments. She realizes, as we parents do, that you have to be vigilant to take the steps necessary to keep a child with an allergy safe. But once you get into that habit, it becomes a way of life!

Trisha said...

So glad things went well... and he is excited about going! That is the best part! Yea!

Beth E. said...

Sounds like you're off to a good start. The main thing is to reinforce the peanut and/or tree nut allergy with your child's teacher. Make sure the information is shared with the parents. Then, each time there is a party, field trip, etc., the teacher needs to remind all of the parents in a written note about the food allergies. People forget. They don't mean to, but they do. So, it really has to be done every single time! The teacher can also talk to the kids about it. Sometimes, the kids remember better than their parents!

I'm so glad your son had such a fun day...that kindergarten kit looks great!

Carrie said...

that is great how excited he is! It already sounds like he will have NO trouble reminding his teacher and friends of his allergy :) And looks like they have implemented a good outline for informing the other parents...but hopefully they will take it to heart and be respectful about it. I'm sure once school begins in the fall, it will all be reinforced and reviewed! {He is such a doll, too! Love when they get excited about school!}

He And Me + 3 said...

That is awesome! I am so glad that he is excited about kindergarten. It should be is setting their tone and attitude about school. About the allergies, just stay on them and make sure they understand the importance of it...because if you do not have a child with a life threatening allegy, they just don't understand the seriousness of it. That has been my experience with it.

McCrakensx4 said...

I am so happy that orientation went well! He looks so excited and that is awesome! Thanks for the shout sweet and I was only stating the truth! Praying that all goes well! And what an awesome starter kit...we don't do that, but HOW COOL!

momstheword said...

I would hope that any parent would be careful and concerned about kids out there with allergies. You just don't know who can eat what.

I know I was always asking people if their kids had any allergies if we had a play day.

But that's probably because my nephew is allergic to peanuts and when I was little I gave him a peanut butter cookie (I didn't know, I was a young aunt). He's fine but I felt really bad.

Amy said...

We are almost through our kindergarten year. I have written about our experience on my blog, but in short I can say it was a positive experience. My only word of caution, though, is to not get complacent! Even though we were very lucky to get a teacher who truly cares (enough to even attend a local food allergy meeting with me!...) things have still happened that are worrisome. I will write in depth at the end of our school year (only a few weeks away!)


Nicole said...

It sounds like it was just the right amount of information for the time being. I'm so glad your son enjoyed orientation. I think the toughest thing for us this year with the allergy at school was that is just not at the forefront of people mind's. Food activities get planned and then it's up to us to sort of remind people about the allergy and get alternate things in place. Granted, though, my son's in 3rd grade so I'm not quite as nervous as I was when he was a kindy. I think it bothers the teachers more than it does my son when he has his safe snack instead of the ice cream and sprinkles.

Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane said...

I love how excited your son was...too cute!

And I think you are right this point (several months before school starts) the parents just need to know that a child with PA will be in the same grade as their child. Some might already understand that this will affect them (because they know of other PA kids) but for most it will be better to get more details and info as school gets closer.

One thing I'm not sure if I mentioned before...there is a child with PA at my sons' preschool. For lunch we have a peanut free table where he sits. Other kids are encouraged to sit there (so he is not alone) but their lunches are checked by a working parent to make sure they are peanut free.

We also stress to all the kids that the lunch table is the one place they are not allowed to share.

Additionally, all the parents were shown where the school's epi pen is kept and how to use it.

aerotatt said...

Heh, his excitement cracked me up. I thought he was going to explode. Have you found out whether you can choose the teacher or not? I know i mentioned with Landon's disabilities we were able to make sure he had Mrs. Hawes.

Sue said...

It sounds like they did a good job. I agree too much information would just be overwhelming and you don't know yet what class he will be in. But the fact that they gave everyone the information is great. Shows they are taking it seriously.