tumblr site counter
childcare centres

Embarking on Pre-school

Allergy New Zealand

Information for parents/caregivers of children with severe allergies

Sending your child off to pre-school is both an exciting and stressful time for any parent. When that child has allergies the anxiety may far outweigh the excitement. With careful planning and clear, positive communication between yourself and the pre-school, you can however aim to ensure an environment which is as safe as possible for your child. You can also help make the teachers and other staff feel safe and confident in being able to recognise and deal with allergic reactions in their centres.

Where to Start?

As with all parents you will be interested in questions about adult/child ratios, curriculum, cost, philosophy etc. However the food policy and health and safety practices of each pre-school will obviously be of special interest to you. Some information may be found by talking to other parents, especially those of children with allergies, or by contacting the following government agencies:

  • Education Review Office (ERO) - for hard copies of reports call your local ERO office (see Government Phone Listings in the front of the phone book) or visit www.ero.govt.nz
  • Early Childhood Development - call your local office (see Government Phone Listings) or visit www.ecd.govt.nz

Whether you have the choice of several or only one pre-school or if your child is already attending a pre-school when their allergies are first diagnosed, you will no doubt have many questions you need answered in order to identify any potential dangers for your child in the pre-school environment. They may include some of the questions listed in Allergy New Zealand’s preschool education kit.

Contact the pre-school/s and make a time to run through your questions either in person or by telephone. You should then arrange to visit, ideally during a mealtime, to see things for yourself and get a feel for the environment.

Under current human rights legislation, parents of children with allergies should reasonably expect admittance to daycare and pre-school and that reasonable care be taken to ensure the child’s health and safety. If you feel your child is being denied entry purely on the basis of their allergies you may wish to contact the Human Rights Commission on 0800 497 877 or visit www.hrc.co.nz

Allergy New Zealand has an excellent PreSchool Education Kit of resource materials, including information sheets, advice for parents and teachers/caregivers, videos and reference materials. Contact Allergy New Zealand for a resource order form: info@allergy.org.nz