Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens, Santa Barbara Street entrance, Santa Barbara, CA

Received Friday, October 13, 2006
Oberved Tuesday October 10, 2006 at 3:07pm.
Upon entering Alice Keck Park, I saw a group of children (approximate ages 4-5 years old, maybe 10-12 children in all??) gathered around two or three adult caregivers, perhaps a nearby daycare outing, or a nearby preschool? The children were clustered around the caregivers, just outside the Santa Barbara Street entrance to the park, and then they made their way into the park and onto the lawn just inside the entrance of the park. Within 2 or 3 minutes, however, I saw 2 children, a boy and a girl, separate from the group and make their way down a path toward the turtle pond at the center of the park. They entered the shady area, where they were no longer able to be seen by the adult caregivers (I assume) because of the trees--this happened to be where I was at the time--when one of the children fell down and began crying loudly. No one came to see if he was injured. Just as I was making my way over to check on him (as he had been crying for some time, and no one had come yet), he got up and ran off with his little-girl friend, and disappeared around another corner, apparently ok. When I happened to come out of the path near the turtle pond, I noticed with shock that one of the children (the girl) had climbed over the chicken-wire fence INTO the turtle pond, and was helping her little friend to climb over it too! The fence was leaning dangerously, and there were large rocks around, and plenty of algae that they could slip on, not to mention the water that they might fall into. Granted, it wasn't very deep, but they were young children, and completely unsupervised. Heck, even the *koi* in that pond are big enough to swallow those kids whole. I was really very concerned for these children, and it did not seem to me that the adults in charge of these children had even noticed that they were missing yet.

I do not know what the adult caregivers looked like. The children were both approximately 4 years old, at my best guess. As I mentioned before, one was a boy, olive complection, with straight dark hair wearing shorts and a t-shirt or maybe a little polo-type shirt. His outfit may have been mostly blue and red, but I'm not 100% sure about that. The second kid was a little girl (light complection, possibly blonde hair) was wearing a bicycle helmet and either a little halter top or a bathing suit, and lycra shorts. Her outfit may have been predominantly pink. I'm sorry I don't have exact details about the children or the caregivers. I was a caregiver myself that day, and my attention was occupied by my charge. But, if you are a parent with a child who has a daycare that takes an outing on Tuesdays at 3 at Alice Keck Park (I see a similar group on Thursdays at 3 in the same location), you may want to ask some questions about staff supervision on those outings. And if you have a child who came home that day either wet, or with scrapes or scratches that were not explained well, then I'd DEFINITELY be asking some questions.


Anonymous said...

Rather than be a tattlesnatch, why would you not just go and speak with, or find the caregivers?

A bit much drama don't you think for such an easily resolved problem?


Anonymous said...

where's the drama hon? the truth is I have seen things from a distance but while I am at the park I am ON the slide with my child. You're an idiot to think the normal think is to charge up to an accost someone in charge of children. Really. You are an idiot.PS Resolve this.

Anonymous said...

Are you people serious? 4-year-olds unaccompanied anywhere, much less near water, and you're accusing this person of "tattling"?

-Not a parent or nanny, but not an idiot, either

Jennifer said...

Jane Doe,
I think you have someone flaming on your blog. I've noticed that there is a writer who tends to respond in a very hostile way to most of the posts. I think your blog can be very useful, but the hostile atmosphere created by some of your respondents is problematic. Is it possible to disable the anonymous option for people leaving comments. The anonymity might be encouraging this kind of behavior.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer..anonymity is the God given right of every American citizen. get over just hate not being able to control it!

Anonymous said...

wow.. i am the director of a local preschool and we have taken several outings to alice keck park gardens. the fact that these children had enough time to be hidden from view, much less hurt themselves and recover alone, would be grounds for firing on the spot.

yes, this person could have spoken to the caregivers. however, that really doesn't address the problem, which centers less on this one incident and more on the skill level this type of thing indicates.