Snack Guidelines for 4AM-2 & JK-2 & Parent Toddler I

Providing a nutritious break in the day

Each day, Assisting parents bring a nutritious snack for the class. Snack time is a lively yet relaxing time where students and teachers can sit together, and enjoy some nourishment and conversation. Because of potential food allergies, Illinois State licensing regulations, and our goal to keep snack time healthy and safe, we have a few guidelines that are important to keep in mind when planning your child's snack.

Our goal is to serve children nutritious foods. Snack at school is just that, a snack, not a meal. Snack can be a lively, but relaxed time for children to sit together with a teacher for some nourishment and conversation. We will not serve high-sugar, treat-like snacks, such as cookies, cakes, etc. We encourage parents to bring fresh fruit and veggies for snack. The exceptions are listed below. We find a few crackers, some fruit and water will suffice children for a snack. Filtered tap water is available at school and served with every snack. Food that needs to stay cool can be stored in the refrigerator in the 3rd floor conference room until snack time.

Park West, like other schools, has many children with allergies. Some of these allergies are life threatening. In order to do the utmost to protect all of the children in our care, meet Illinois State licensing regulations, and serve healthy, nutritious foods, Park West has thoughtfully developed the following snack guidelines:

  • At Park West we do not serve any snacks that contain nuts (peanuts, tree nuts), nut oils, or nut particles or have been made in a facility that may cause cross contamination. Hummus or products with sesame will not be served due to the possibility of cross reactivity in children with allergies.
  • Due to the inconsistency of accurate (and changing) information available on the ingredient labels of crackers, only very specific crackers will be allowed for snack. No substitutions will be allowed, even when ingredient labels read the same. The approved crackers are listed at the end of the snack guidelines.
  • All food must arrive at school in sealed packages with a legible ingredient label.
  • No dairy, cheese, yogurt, go-gurt, cream cheese or other smeary cheese will be served for snack.
  • Due to the possibility of choking, popcorn will not be served in any class.
  • FOR ALL CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF FOUR (applies to all classes except JK)
    • Do not bring grapes, raisins, HARD pretzels, raw peas, raw carrots, or dried fruit. These foods are considered a choking hazard.
    • Only crackers/pretzels from the approved guidelines will be served.

So what can parents bring for snack? Any combination of the following: fruits, vegetables (that are not on the choking hazard list above), and/or crackers from the following approved list. We understand this may feel too restrictive, and some of you may feel we are being overly cautious. Our goal is to keep every child at school as safe as we can. Park West has no nurse on staff. Allergy issues around food are complicated, serious, and an added duty and concern for parents and teachers. We have worked to create a snack policy that is clear, understandable and practical so that adherence is manageable by parents and teachers. Thank you for your cooperation and vigilance.




General Mills, Rice Chex, Corn Chex , Original Cheerios, Original KIx



Ritz - Original

Triscuit – Original

Westminster - Original Saltine Crackers and Oyster Crackers

Wheat Thins – Original



Nabisco Honey Maid – Honey



Rold Gold – Sticks, Tiny Twists



Simply 7: Quinoa Chips (Sea Salt)

Enjoy Life: Plentil Chips (Sea Salt)


FRUITS AND VEGETABLES – Fresh or packed in water. Not dried.



Bell Peppers (red,yellow,orange)













We cannot accept any foods from salad bars. All food preparation must take place at school. Fresh produce must be whole and uncut. Produce that is sliced and packaged at the store will not be served due to possible cross-contamination. Produce must be washed and cut at Park West.

*Please Note:

These options are very specific, and MUST be only as listed here. Various flavors of pretzels and crackers are not permitted, so please pay attention to the wording we have included (i.e. “original” or “classic style”).

**Also, please make a habit of checking the labels of even the listed items for allergy warnings, as information changes regularly.

Please note: The 3rd floor conference room/library is NOT an allergy free zone. This area may contain nut products, dairy, and wheat or other items to which children may be allergic.

Quotes from Our Park West Family

"They say 'we take children and their ideas seriously,' and they really do."

—Aileen S., former parent