River Valley childcare centre denies child abuse allegations

River Valley childcare centre denies child abuse allegations
PHOTO: Singapore Tong

SINGAPORE - A childcare centre here has denied allegations that it had neglected children and fed them rotten fruit.

Photos of the centre were circulated on Chinese social media platform Wechat last Tuesday (Feb 14).

Read also: Viral online post alleges that toddler eats own faeces, children fed rotten fruits at childcare centre

In a statement to the media on Wednesday (Feb 22), Sam's Early Learning Centre in Jalan Mutiara, off River Valley Road, said it believes the photos were posted by an unhappy former employee who has since returned to China.

Mrs Samia El-Ibiary, the centre's director, said that the photos were taken last year and they "do not represent an accurate picture" of its operations.

One picture showed children lying on the floor without mattresses, to which the centre clarified that the students were doing "stretching and breathing exercises" after lunch.

Photo: Singapore Tong

A second photo claimed that rotten fruit was served to the children. But Mrs El-Ibiary said that rotten fruit are disposed of. She also added that the fruits are purchased twice a week.

Children at the centre were also allegedly fed rotten fruit. Photo: Singapore Tong

Another photo accused the centre of throwing away milk powder purchased by parents.

A photo shows formula milk powder being thrown away allegedly because teachers forgot to feed them to the kids. Photo: Singapore Tong

Mrs El-Ibiary clarified that the milk powder had spilt onto the kitchen counter and was being discarded for hygiene reasons.

The picture of a child smeared in faeces was accompanied by an allegation that the child had eaten his own excrement.

Photo: Singapore Tong

In response, the director explained that the toddler had a habit of pulling his diapers off while having bowel movement during his nap time.

"On this particular day that the photo was taken, the teacher had called upon the cleaner to assist in the cleaning up of the child. The cleaner was asked to help wash the toddler while the teacher held him and distracted him," she said.

A netizen's post alleging the instances of abuse. Photo: Singapore Tong

Some parents of the children who attend the centre have stepped forward to refute the allegations. 

They said in a statement to the media that the children have always been happy and healthy and there have never been any complaints of mistreatment. 

The parents have also found the centre's explanation behind the pictures satisfactory. 

They added: "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."

See the full statement here: 

CaptionPhoto: Credits

A spokesperson from the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said that the centre is currently being investigated.

Read also: Case of abuse at Teck Whye Lane childcare centre being investigated

It added that "under the Child Care Centres Act, all childcare centres are required to meet the stipulated regulatory requirements to protect the safety, wellbeing and welfare of children in centres".

debwong@sph.com.sg

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