Since my last post was kind of a rant, I felt like I should update this blog to reflect that I think we've got everything worked out with Georgia's preschool now. I had a phone conversation with the teacher in which she probably concluded that I'm a little paranoid (her quote: "Um, we ate tomatoes?"), but also managed to convince me that she "gets" it as far as the need to check all foods, the concern for cross contamination, and so on and so forth. We left it that Georgia will continue to bring her own lunch, but will be allowed to eat some of the school's food so long as on any given day the teachers tell her it's safe.
1) I'm surprised that this is where we've ended up, that is, that I even feel comfortable letting Georgia eat ANY of the school's food, given that my generally held belief is that the risk isn't worth the reward, and that classrooms should be a food-free safe haven.
2) I'm surprised that the school/teachers even want the onus to be on them as far as telling Georgia "yes, you can eat it" or "no, you can't." It seems most schools are so afraid of potential liability that they wouldn't touch this issue with a ten foot pole and would prefer to have the parent make the call in every case.
What's playing into this:
1) It's a Montessori preschool, so the serving of food is not just about nourishment, but also about having the children work on a practical skill and share a communal experience. (Or something like that.)
2) I'd be more willing to say "screw the skill/communal experience" except for the fact that Georgia's been so hesitant to get involved in ANY group activities with other children, but her teacher reports that Georgia really likes the meal-prep part of the day, so I am loathe to take that little shred of participation away from her. For the sake of her social development, as parents we're kind of trying to latch on to something she likes and go with it here.
3) The foods in question are very basic, like last week they peeled oranges or bananas, and the week before that I think they made a salad of lettuce and tomatoes. I'd feel more comfortable if someone could give me an actual menu ahead of time, but I guess the teacher has persuaded me to relax and trust her that the foods she's talking about incorporating aren't going to be a problem. The fact that so far they have not been processed foods makes it less worrisome to me from an allergy perspective; I hope it stays that way.