Received Tuesday May 4, 2010
Location: Blantyre Park playground, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Date and time of incident: Tues May 4, 10:15-11:00 a.m. (this was going on when we arrived and still when we left)
Physical description of caregiver: There were two women of Afro-Caribbean background, not sure which one was the nanny. Younger woman was prob in her 20's, had long cornrow hairstyle; blue jeans and pastel (green?) top, newish black and white running shoes. Older woman was perhaps 50; blue flowery scarf covered her hair; long blue skirt, green (?) top and grey-ish blue cardigan.
Physical description of involved child: Blond girl with longish hair; about 4; wearing a pink sun-hat with strap under chin; pink raincoat; black leggings with a purple top or dress over.
Detailed description of what you witnessed: My daughter and I were in the park for 45 mins and the entire time the two women sat on a picnic table talking while the little girl stood looking miserable by them, not straying by more than a foot from them. She just watched the few other children playing and she looked so sad. The two women hardly paid any attention to her. At one point, the younger woman offered her a snack and the girl didn't want it, so the woman ate it herself (potato chips?) and then started putting on her make-up. The little girl did have a bottle of water, and twice just before we left the older woman did lean over and touch the girl's head or face a bit affectionately - but I think they could tell I was staring at them so it may have been because of that. When we walked by I caught the little girl's eye and smiled at her but she did not smile back. It did occur to me that the child could have some kind of developmental delay or mental condition that made her uninterested in play and fearful of leaving her caregiver. If that is the case, I still find it inappropriate to just take her to the playground and let her stand around while the caregiver and her friend chat for such a long time - they should be doing some kind of activity that is suitable for her! If there is nothing 'wrong' with her medically, then this is a horrible situation - how can you take a child to a park and not engage them in play, push them on the swing etc. It was all very weird. I was reluctant to say anything as I had my 2.5 year old daughter with me and I did not want to enter into a disagreement with these women or criticise them if this is what the family tells them to do with the child. If I ever see this little girl with her parents I hope I will have the guts to say that I saw her in the park with her caregivers and see how they react.
I am usually at work during the day but I am taking some days off to spend with my daughter and I was so disappointed to see this and other behaviour from caregivers at the Peanut Club at Fallingbrook and Kingston Rd, including spending entire time chatting with Peanut club staff, not properly comforting a crying child, texting constantly. It is really a shame!