Health and Nutrition

PAL is a Peanut Free Center

Please do not send any meals or snacks containing peanuts

Candy and soda are not permitted at PAL

All of the children’s food will be provided by the parents.

Your child’s lunchbox should be packed with a morning snack, a lunch and an afternoon snack as well as drinks for lunch and both snacks. We encourage only milk and/or water for drinks during the school day. Sugary drinks inhibit children from being able to focus and learn at their best. Your child’s lunchbox should include a morning snack which should be a healthy, nutritious breakfast style snack. A healthy lunch; this may be cold or a “heat-up”, and 2-3 healthy snacks (fruit, veggies, yogurt, etc.). Please refrain from sending your child in with sugary snacks such as; fruit snacks, cookies, cakes/cupcakes, donuts/munchkins, etc. Please be aware that the following foods pose a choking hazard to children younger than four years old and will not be allowed at PAL: hot dogs (whole or sliced in rounds, please cut in quarters if you would like to send them in), whole grapes, nuts, popcorn, large, hard pretzels, raw peas or chunks of raw carrots. Also meat must be cut no bigger than bite sized pieces. Although we do understand that your child may eat these items at home, we need to avoid these choking hazards at the center.

Please include an ice pack in your child’s insulated lunch box; this will keep your child’s food at the correct temperature. If you forget an ice pack please let someone know and we can put the lunchbox in our refrigerator. Please be sure that your child’s lunch box and any items that do not fit inside the lunch box are labeled with his/her first and last name. If you forget your child’s lunch box or do not pack enough food for the day, we will call you to have you bring food to the center. We do keep very limited amounts of “emergency” snacks on hand, but these may not be relied on as part of your child’s daily food. We have included a child’s nutrition guide to help you with ideas for healthy lunchbox foods.

Please speak with the director if your child has any special feeding needs due to disabilities or any food allergies. If your child has any specific allergies or special nutritional needs we will require a written care plan from the child’s pediatrician. We will also ask for your consent to post this information to serve as a visual reminder to all those who interact with the child during the program day. You may decline this at any time even if you have previously given consent.

Any food brought into the center to be shared with the class must be either whole fruit or pre-packaged store bought items.

Meals and snacks are served family style and in a social setting. Teachers sit with the children and engage them in conversation while they are eating. This instills good social eating habits and enforces manners around meal times.

Please visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/preschoolers.html for more information on nutrition in young children.

Infant Specific Nutrition: We ask that you provide our teachers with enough fresh, pre-made bottles of formula or breast milk to last your child for the day. We will not serve whole cow’s milk to children under 12 months old. Each bottle must be labeled with your child’s first and last name as well as with the date. All unused portions of formula or breast milk will be discarded one hour after feeding. All unused bottles of formula or breast milk must be brought home daily. Unless we have specific doctor’s orders, we will not serve bottles of formula or breast milk containing solid foods. No bottles of formula or breast milk or infant food will be warmed in microwave ovens, we will use a crock pot with warm water or bottle warmer to heat any bottles or food that need heating. Our teachers will rinse out bottles as needed, but it will be the parent’s responsibility to clean and sanitize bottles daily. When your child has progressed to eating jar food and/or infant cereal we ask that you provide us with each meal daily. Each jar of food and/or bowl of cereal must be labeled with your child’s first and last name as well as what the jar is to be used for (ex. breakfast, lunch, snack) and the amount to be given (ex. whole jar, ½ jar, etc.) If the whole jar is to be eaten we will feed your child from the jar. However, if only a portion of the jar is to be used, you will need to provide us with a bowl to put the portion in for the feeding. We cannot feed a portion of food from a jar and save the rest for later if the child has eaten from the jar already. Each child will be held by one of our teachers for each bottle feeding. No child will be placed in a crib with a bottle. When your child is eating solid foods they will be placed in a high chair for each feeding.

Everyone gets sick sometimes! Here is our guide of what to do when it happens to your child!

Please do not send your child to school if you feel that your child is too sick to go outside to play, or join in on normal activities. This is best for your child, and helps to prevent the spread of illness.

Play and Learn CDC follows the recommendations of the State of CT Department of Public Health regarding illness. Below are some illnesses that affect children and may require exclusion.

Fever: When accompanied by behavior changes, stiff neck, difficulty breathing, rash, sore throat, and/or other signs or symptoms of illness; or the child is unable to participate in normal activities. Use temperature measurement before fever reducing medications are given. Auxiliary (armpit) temperature: 100 F or higher. Oral temperature: 101 F or higher. Child may return after being 24 hours fever free without fever reducing medication.

Diarrhea: 24 hours after diarrhea stops or until medical exam indicates that it is not due to communicable disease (diarrhea is defined as an increased number of stools compared with a person's normal pattern, along with decreased stool form and/or watery, bloody, or mucus containing stools. Parents will be called to come and get their child after three diarrhea episodes.

Continual Coughing/Nasal Discharge: If coughing and/or nasal discharge is consistent enough to interfere with the child’s day or to put the other children at risk, a parent will be called to pick the child up.

Blood in Stool: If blood is found in a child’s stool parents will be notified. Each case will be handled on an individual basis.

Vomiting: 24 hours after last vomiting episode.

Eye Drainage (Pink Eye): 24 hours after treatment has started when thick mucus or pus drainage is present.

Chicken Pox: Child may return if all sores are dry or scabbed or 6 days after rash began.

Fifth Disease:If other rash-causing illnesses are ruled out, there is no need to exclude. Pregnant women who are exposed need to consult their doctor.

Head Lice:PAL maintains a “no nit” policy, children will not be allowed back to PAL until all nits are gone. Staff will check the child’s head before the adult will be allowed to leave the child in our care.

Impetigo:Until child has been treated with antibiotics for 24 hours.

Coxsackie Virus: Child may return when fever is gone and child is well enough to participate in normal activities (lesions or rash may still be present).

Whooping Cough: Child may return 5 days after appropriate antibiotic treatment begins. This must be reported to the local and State health departments.

Pin Worms: Child may return after 24 hours of treatment.

RSV: Child may return when child is without fever for 24 hours and is able to participate in normal activities.

Ringworm: Child may return after 24 hours treatment has begun.

Scabies: Child may return 24 hours after treatment begins.

Strep Throat: May return 24 hours after antibiotic treatment begins and until the child is without fever for 24 hours.

If any of these symptoms occur during the school day, parents will be called to pick up. A parent or responsible party must be here to pick up the child within 30 minutes. While your child is waiting for you to come, we will keep him/her comfortable and separate from the group in the nurse’s office. Staff will provide the child with something to do while he/she waits. A child who leaves the center with a question of a communicable/infectious disease must have a note from their doctor or be symptom free without medication for 24 hours before they can return.

If you child becomes ill at home with one of the above communicable diseases please let the center know within 24 hours and PAL we will notify families by posting a flyer describing the illness and its symptoms.

Your child must meet the above criteria to return to the Center and be able to play outside with the other children. We reserve the right to determine when a child, who has been sick, may return to the center.