According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), food allergies affect approximately 15 million Americans. In the US, this means that 1 out of 13 children have food allergies. It stands to reason that in a classroom of 30 children at least two will have food allergies! While nearly every food is capable of causing an allergic reaction, eight main culprits account for 90% of all food allergies:
Recognizing and Preparing for Food Allergies in Your Montessori Environment
- Tree nuts
Recognizing Allergic Reactions in Children
Young children may have difficulty expressing how they are feeling during a reaction. Their voices may change or they may begin to slur their words. They may also describe the reaction in one of the following ways:
- "This food is too spicy."
- "My tongue is hot [or burning]."
- "It feels like something’s poking my tongue."
- "My tongue [or mouth] is tingling [or burning]."
- "My tongue [or mouth] itches."
- "It [my tongue] feels like there is hair on it."
- "My mouth feels funny."
- "There's a frog in my throat."
- "There’s something stuck in my throat."
- "My tongue feels full [or heavy]."
- "My lips feel tight."
- "It feels like there are bugs in there." (to describe itchy ears)
- "It [my throat] feels thick."
- "It feels like a bump is on the back of my tongue [throat]."
List courtesy of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), 2013
With the risk of fatal reactions, children with food allergies are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act under section 504. It is important for all Montessori teachers in public schools, private schools, and child care centers to make accommodations to keep children with food allergies safe.
- School Guidelines for Managing Students with Food Allergies
- Teacher’s Checklist for Managing Food Allergies
- Food Allergy Awareness Poster
- Binky Goes Nuts (DVD)
- How to C.A.R.E.™ for Students with Food Allergies: What Educators Should Know (Free online interactive course for school personnel)
- Cleaning Methods
- Safe Food Field Trip Tips
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, August 30, 2013.