Yesterday, I drove to Time 2 Play, the gals could not have been more excited. A friend’s children were joining us and it was after a sumptuous sunday lunch. I was on when I arrived to check on the gals a second time just before 5pm.
I walked through the gate, unchecked. Completely. The guard who manned the entrance was deep in conversation on the phone when I strolled past him. There was no metal check not body frisking.
On a Sunday evening, Time 2 Play is teaming with typically 2 or 3 birthday parties. During the school holidays, it has a residential camp. During the school term, the facility runs a nursery school. There is a junior swimming pool and an adult pool. There are swings and sand pits.
I witnessed a young man run into another with a bicycle. The “riding track” is also the defacto separation between the sandpits and swings and the upper area where parties are held; along with the occasional costumed entertainers.
I was able to walk to the main building, unrestricted, observing one attendant between the main pool and the children’s pool which was visibly swamped. There is a Kitchen that was serving up french fries on the ground floor, there is no way that children could possibly be in class with the smell of a live kitchen right beneath.
I did not observe any CCTV between the rooms and the corridors, nor around the perimeter of the play spaces that have been created for the children. I find that the only way to identify a child is the arm band that is stuck to the arm of a subscribed child, 8000/- UGX per head.
I was able to walk right up to the second floor of the main building with no one having approached me to ask if I was looking for something in particular or if i was lost. This is when I started thinking…
- How may child minders should play spaces have? What is the ideal and practical ratio?
- What kind of child minder training and guidelines should be in the places where we expect to leave our children for a few hours?
- Can children of the different body mass and height access the same play spaces comfortably?
- Should it be mandatory that play spaces have video surveillance?
- What should the guidelines be for adults accessing child play spaces?
- Would Time 2 Play and other children play spaces do background checks on the child minders and care givers?
- In this terror filled era, how do we make sure that adults like me do not walk in and present a potential harm to the children?
As a parent, I know that when I take my children to play, it is time to play, but when the environments of the spaces we have created for our children to play are so visibly unsafe, I keep wondering, when it comes to their safety and future, is it time to play?