Thursday, June 10, 2010

Last Day of School

Today was Abigail's last day of 1st grade. It's hard to believe another school year has come and gone

I would deem it a very successful year.  Abigail grew tremendously academically, emotionally and socially.  Also, just importantly, if not more so, we made it through the year without a single allergy mishap!! Yeah!!  Thanks to her great teachers, vigilant school staff and some wonderful friends, Abigail had a safe school year.

Just last weekend I was talking to a mom of one of Abigail's classmates. She said that she hadn't purchased peanut butter or peanut butter snacks the entire year. She said her daughter was super protective of her friend, Abigail, and wasn't going to take a peanut butter snack to school.  That almost brought tears to my eyes. This is a family with 4 children, 2 of them school aged, and they haven't had peanut butter sandwiches or crackers the whole year. How incredible is that??

The kids in her class learned to read labels.  They understood that products manufactured in the same plant or using the same equipment were also not safe.  If they brought a snack that wasn't safe, they moved to a different table to eat it. Abigail's teacher had a great idea.  She took all of the extra cupcakes (from Freed's Bakery which is nut free) left from the holiday parties, put them in baggies and stored them in the freezer in the teacher's lounge. That way Abigail had safe treats throughout the year.

Just recently, I read about some moms doing a PAL (Protect A Life) Hero session at the start of the school year.  They went into the class, talked about their son or daughter's food allergy, reviewed the steps to being a PAL and then handed out special certificates. I loved this idea and will definitely approach Abigail's teacher next year about doing something similar.  Knowing how great Abigail's classmates have been this year, I wanted to make sure they were properly thanked and wanted Abigail to do that herself.

Using the PAL Hero certificates from the FAAN website, I printed one for each member of the class.  I thought it would be nice if Abigail got up in front of the class, explain what the certificates were, tell the class thank you and then hand them out.  She freaked out when I told her my idea.  While she doesn't make a huge fuss about having a food allergy, this was obviously a sensitive issue and getting up in front of the class to discuss it was beyond her comfort level.  Again, her teacher came to the rescue.  She allowed Abigail to call 2 classmates over at a time to tell them thank you and to give them their certificate.  I asked Abigail what she said to them.  She said she told them thank you, said it was nice when they moved to a different table if they had an unsafe snack and then asked them if they wanted to hear more (I thought that was pretty cute). I had given her a "Be A Pal" brochure, again from the FAAN website, and she shared the 5 steps to being a PAL.  I was so proud of her. What a big girl thing to do!

FYI, the 5 steps are:
1. Never take food allergies lightly.
2. Don't share your food with friends who have food allergies.
3. Wash hands after eating.
4. Ask what your friends are allergic to and help them avoid it.
5. If a friend who has food allergies becomes ill, get help immediately.

And, here's a big thank you from me to everyone that made Abigail's 1st grade year one to remember...for all the right reasons!

1 comment:

Jane Anne said...

Our last day was yesterday. I feel like doing some serious celebrating. My PA son finished Kindergarten. I love the idea of incorporating the PAL info with the class. I think I may do that when we talk to my son's 1st grade class. I met with his teacher this week. We plan on talking to the class during the 1st or 2nd day. Great idea to use the PAL info!