ECDA: viral photos of River Valley preschool taken out of context

 

 

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), which regulates kindergartens and childcare centres, yesterday said it has not uncovered anything adverse at a preschool centre which has been at the receiving end of an online allegation of abuse and neglect.

On Feb 14 a series of photos shared on social media application WeChat showed pupils from Sam’s Early Learning Centre lying on the floor without mattresses.

There were also photos of fruits in the kitchen area, with captions accusing the centre, located in Jalan Mutiara near River Valley Road, of feeding rotten fruits to the children.

The charges under its care are mostly infants to six-year-olds.

Another photo showed a child lying in a cot with a used diaper next to him, and with faeces on his bare bottom. The netizen wrote that the child had “dug” out the faeces from his bottom and eaten them.

An ECDA spokesman said its investigation showed the photos “appear to have been taken out of context”.

Related: Parent alleges abuse at Teck Whye childcare centre 

Meanwhile, the centre, in a statement, yesterday said it believes the photos were posted by an unhappy former employee, who has since returned to China.

Many of the charges at the centre, which first opened in 1989, are the children of expatriates.

The centre yesterday said no rotten fruit was ever served to the children. And they were lying on the floor during stretching and breathing exercises.

As for the photograph of the toddler in the cot, the centre said that he had the habit of pulling his diapers off while having a bowel movement during nap time. On the day the photo was taken, the teacher was holding the toddler and distracting him while calling a cleaner to assist in cleaning the child.

The toddler and his family have since returned to their home country.

The centre’s director Samia El- Ibiary said the photos were taken last year.

The ECDA said its investigations included “conducting unannounced visits to the premises, verification of documents, as well as interviewing children, parents and staff at the centre”.

Sam’s Early Learning Centre has held 24-month-long licence tenures, the maximum permitted, since 2001.

The ECDA said 24-month licences are issued to childcare centres that…

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