The preschool at River Valley denied online allegations that it had neglected children under its care and feeding them rotten fruits.
Sam’s Early Learning Centre in Jalan Mutiara, off River Valley Road, sent a statement to the media on Wednesday (22 Feb), saying it believes the photos were posted by a disgruntled ex-employee who has returned to China.
The center has been allegedly reported by the online parent forum for neglecting the children under their care. A forum user in Kiasu Parents had warned parents against a childcare center located at River Valley, pointing to a Wechat broadcast exposing that the kids in the preschool were not well cared for.
Several photos showing children sleeping on the floor without beds, eating rotten fruit and food and being left alone without supervision were posted. In one photo, a bare bottomed child who had defecated was shown reclining in a cot uncleaned.
Mrs Samia El-Ibiary, the centre’s director, said the photos were taken last year and that they ‘do not represent an accurate picture’ of the childcare’s operations.
Of the photo of the rotten fruit, she said. “The centre purchases fruit twice a week and certainly if any part does go bad overnight, (it) is cut out and thrown away. Certainly, if the whole fruit is bad, for sure it is disposed of.”
On another photo of discarded milk powder, she said powder that spills onto the counter was swept up and thrown away for hygienic purposes.
Concerning the photos of students sitting on the floor, she said they had been assigned work to do as they finished their lunch.
Of the child lying in a cot with a used diaper next to him and faeces smeared on his bare bottom, she explained, “The toddler in the cot was in our care in 2016 and had the habit of pulling his diapers off while having a bowel movement during his nap time.”
“On the day that the photo was taken, the teacher had called a cleaner to assist in washing the child, while the teacher held him and distracted him,” Mrs El-Ibiary said. This young toddler and family have since moved back to their home country, she added.
The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) had said, “Under the Child Care Centres Act, all childcare centres are required to meet the stipulated regulatory requirements to protect the safety, well being and welfare of children in centres.”
Since 2001, the school has held 24-month-long licence tenures, the maximum permitted. According to ECDA, a 24-month licence is issued to a childcare centre that has exceed ECDA’s licensing requirements and it indicates a high quality centre.
Users in Kiasu Parents forums also reacted on the incident. One of them with a nick name ‘mortonas’ wrote, “My kid is in some of these photos and has given me an explanation: They are sitting on the floor writing on chairs because their teacher had to nip out and so brought them to another classroom where they could be supervised.”
Further she said that the children are lying on the hard floor pretending to sleep because they are playing ‘Simon Says’.
More opinions and comments on the forum could be read on the Kiasu Forum website.