It seems that as soon as we become parents, the world becomes a bit (okay, a lot) more precarious. Have monkey bars always been that high? Has that creek always flowed that fast? That hill behind our house suddenly became a lot steeper once our children learned to race their bikes down it.
As their guides, it is our job to teach them how to live in a world that isn’t nearly as bubble wrapped as we might prefer. In myriad ways we help our children learn to navigate risk and cope with the dangerous elements we can’t avoid.
As the parent of a severely food allergic child, there are dangers in our reality that don’t exist for everyone. A toddler with a muffin on a playground could turn into an ambulance ride for us. A spilled bag of trail-mix on top of a mountain can really alter a hiking experience for our family. Holiday parties are absolutely nerve wracking!
If I had a magic wand, I would make her allergens disappear entirely, never to be seen again! However, this is not possible in the real world and it doesn’t always work in fantasy either. In the story of Sleeping Beauty, the fated princess’s parents try to manage the risk that their daughter’s curse poses by completely banning spindles. When their daughter first sees a spindle, she doesn’t know it’s dangerous and then touches it. We have to teach our daughter how to live in a world with her allergens because sheltering her or trying to create an “allergen free world” won’t keep her safe.
We have found Boulder Country Day to be an excellent partner in this important endeavor.
When managing for food allergy safety there is prevention and response. Prevention is always a challenge. At BCD, my daughter’s classmates are on her team and they work hard to keep her safe. They wash their hands after they eat, they pay attention to what they are eating and what it may contain. They never share food. They know that she feels afraid so they are also gentle with their words. They know that a part of respecting yourself and others means respecting the boundaries that food allergies create.
Many projects at school include food products or their packaging. All of the teachers at BCD are aware of what poses a risk to their students and adapt accordingly. Communication is key and I regularly get emails going over the materials for a project. The music department knows not to let kids directly share wind instruments because allergens could be present. These details exemplify that level of thought and care that BCD teachers put into everything, including safety.
The teachers watch for any problems like hawks. The entire faculty at BCD knows which children have serious medical conditions – including food allergies – and if there is a any type of incident, every teacher is prepared to respond. They are well trained in treating emergencies and recognizing them. I believe that the teachers at BCD are amongst the finest around and that they do not hesitate to provide this extra level care for food allergic children.
As we’ve grown from the preschool to the elementary school, I have repeatedly found the BCD administration to be open to my thoughts about food allergy safety and they are proactive in filling any safety gaps that appear. This open-mindedness exists in every aspect of the school’s culture and the conversations are always constructive and progressive. We needed a real partner in helping our daughter learn how to live in a world that is more dangerous for her than others and are grateful that we found that at BCD.
At BCD my child is able to be more than her food allergies. She is able to thrive as a learner because she is safe. I am able to turn her over to her education every morning because I know she is safe and that feeling of trust is priceless.
- BCD Parent, Diedre Pai