Singapore

35 parents sign letter of support for childcare centre

ECDA says no signs of abuse at childcare centre, photos used out of context

Parents of children at Sam's Early Learning Centre, which had been accused of abuse and neglect, have signed a letter of support for the centre.

This comes after the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), which regulates kindergartens and childcare centres, said on Wednesday that it had not uncovered anything adverse at the childcare centre in Jalan Mutiara off River Valley Road.

The letter, signed by 35 parents, said: "From the beginning, we did not believe these allegations were true as our children have always been happy and healthy, and there have never been any complaints from our children about abuse or mistreatment in the many years our children have been attending Sam's."

Last Tuesday, photos on social media app WeChat showed pupils from the centre lying on the floor without mattresses.

There were also photos of fruits in the kitchen area, with captions accusing the centre of feeding rotten fruit to the children.

Another photo showed a child lying in a cot with faeces on his bare bottom, a used diaper next to him.

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

As for the photograph of the toddler in the cot, the centre said 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 letter also said the centre had been very forthcoming, adding that the parents were satisfied with the explanations the centre had offered.

It said: "We are glad that the ECDA report has cleared the name of the school and that our trust in the school and its teachers has not been misplaced.

"We believe that the pictures were deliberately and maliciously taken out of context and captioned with defamatory statements by someone intending to harm Sam's reputation."

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

The centre said it believes the photos were taken last year and posted by an unhappy former employee, who has since returned to China.

Sam's has held 24-month licence tenures, the maximum permitted, since 2001.

The ECDA says 24-month licences are issued to childcare centres that exceed its licensing requirements, and such licences are indicative of high quality centres.

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