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Yong Li Xuan
The Straits Times
Aug 30, 2023
The centre leader and operator of a branch of Kinderland Preschool are being investigated over their roles in a case involving the alleged abuse of children, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said on Wednesday.
It added that it “may take further actions if they are deemed not to have fulfilled their duty of care to the children”.
“ECDA is closely monitoring this pre-school to ensure the safety and well-being of all enrolled children,” it said, adding that the operator was instructed to provide guidance and supervision to its educators on classroom management.
This comes after videos of a teacher allegedly ill-treating children at the branch were circulated online widely on Monday. A 33-year-old former pre-school teacher, Lin Min, was charged on Wednesday with ill-treating a child.
ECDA said it was alerted to the incidents at the pre-school by a former employee and commenced investigations on Aug 10.
It added: “We have since determined that the educator involved in the incidents had used highly inappropriate methods to manage the children in her care.”
ECDA issued a warning and barred her from working in the pre-school sector.
It said individuals who are found to have committed “serious acts of child mismanagement” will be barred from employment in the sector.
“For serious cases where there appears to be clear intent to harm the child, the case will be referred to the police for criminal investigation,” it added.
Separately, ECDA said it was also alerted on Tuesday to another incident of “child mismanagement” at EQ-Learners Educare in Choa Chu Kang, a pre-school under the same operator. Investigations are underway.
A video of a teacher hitting a pre-schooler on the head at Kinderland’s Sunshine Place branch in Choa Chu Kang surfaced online on Tuesday.
Police said on Tuesday that a 48-year-old pre-school teacher in Choa Chu Kang was arrested that day after a report was made about the video. She is being investigated for voluntarily causing hurt against someone who is under 14.
ECDA said: “We acknowledge that such incidents have caused grave concern among parents on the safety and well-being of children in our pre-schools.”
It added that it will work with operators and training providers to ensure centre leaders and educators “understand their duty of care to the children and do their utmost to prevent child mismanagement from happening”.
The agency said the use of corporal punishment or any other inappropriate child management practices in pre-schools is prohibited.
“ECDA can take action against educators or pre-school operators when they are found guilty of not fulfilling their duty of care to the children under their charge,” it added.
ECDA said it will take action against operators if they have not taken “adequate measures to ensure that their educators use positive and developmentally appropriate methods to manage children’s behaviour”.
It added: “ECDA may impose financial penalties, shorten the pre-school’s licence tenure or, in the worst case, revoke its licence.”