Date
25 August 2019

Design for full participation from the outset

Understand the needs of your children, and plan safe experiences that minimise anxiety.

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Plan safe learning activities

Plan safe learning activities

Consider physical spaces, learning activities, materials, and outdoor activities.

Think about how you will plan safe experiences for:

  • use of outdoor environments – be aware of areas with a high pollen count, grasses, and trees
  • play and activities – consider regular cleaning routines for toys, dress-ups, carpets, and areas where dust might gather
  • using learning materials, such as playdough, bubbles, balloons, egg and milk cartons, yogurt pottles, and lids, that may contain allergens
  • the use of food in science, craft, and cooking classes – ensure learners wear gloves, use baking paper, and have systems for wiping surfaces and washing hands to eliminate cross-contamination
  • shared lunches or fundraising activities – use labels to identify food with gluten, nuts, and so on.

Ask learners

Ask learners

Seek and include student voice to reduce feelings of anxiety and minimise barriers to participation.

Talk with learners about:

  • their allergy action plans and ways to develop self-management strategies
  • how they would like to communicate their health needs
  • activities or learning situations that increase their levels of stress or uncertainty
  • ways to support their access to medication
  • the information they would like to share about their allergies and the best ways to share it
  • opportunities for private feedback, such as suggestion boxes, email, or teacher check-in conversations.

Review your activities

Review your activities

Observe where exclusion may occur.

Stokes Valley Playcentre reviewed baking activities and shared kai routines to ensure they were inclusive of whānau with allergies. Proactive actions developed included:

  • clear liaison with tamariki and whānau to ensure baking is allergy-free
  • an acceptable kai list, updated regularly when whānau enrolled or moved away
  • shared morning kai consisting of allergy-free foods
  • allergy-free baking is done before morning tea so that it can be shared
  • follow-up to ensure centre policy forms are completed for tamariki needing allergy medication during a session.

Source: Including children with allergies (opens in a new tab/window)

Absences

Absences

Many children lose a significant amount of time at school due to the chronic symptoms associated with their allergies.

Reduce anxiety

Reduce anxiety

Management of a potentially life-threatening allergy may cause anxiety.

Some children may experience social anxiety about being "different" from other children.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

Bullying prevention

Publisher: Food Allergy Research & Education

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Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Create an inclusive learning environment”:

Return to the guide “Allergies and learning”

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