Experts to review how teachers manage classes at My First Skool in Toa Payoh

The teacher, 51, is seen in security camera footage holding the boy by his arm, then forcing him to sit, allegedly fracturing his shin.
The teacher, 51, is seen in security camera footage holding the boy by his arm, then forcing him to sit, allegedly fracturing his shin.PHOTO: NTUC FIRST CAMPUS CO-OPERATIVE

NTUC First Campus has engaged counsellors to provide emotional support to staff at its My First Skool centre in Toa Payoh, where a teacher allegedly abused a three-year-old boy last week.

This is among a raft of steps the pre-school operator - one of the largest in Singapore - has taken in the wake of the alleged abuse.

Three senior early-childhood specialists from NTUC First Campus have also been deployed to the centre since Monday, when the 51-year-old part-time teacher at the centre of the allegations was sacked.

At least one specialist will go down each day, until "the situation stabilises", a spokesman said yesterday.

Their job will be to review how teachers at the Toa Payoh branch manage their classes and also see how the centre can be made more conducive for children.

Meanwhile, teachers affected by the incident can talk to the external professional counsellors whom NTUC First Campus has hired.

It has also sent two more staff to replace the teacher who was fired, and "support the teaching and education of the children", said a spokesman.

The case caused an uproar when a video of the teacher allegedly dragging and pushing the boy last Friday was circulated online.

On Sunday, she was arrested following a complaint from the boy's parents. Since then, at least two more police reports have been made about alleged abuse of other children at the centre.

The centre, which held a briefing for parents on Monday, is planning to hold two more this week.

Its playgroup class, which has 45 children aged 30 months to three years under the charge of five teachers, was better attended yesterday with eight absentees, instead of 14 the day before.

This one-to-nine staff-to-child ratio in the class is lower than the ratio of one to 12 required under the Child Care Centres Regulations.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Ang Hin Kee, who is executive secretary of the Education Services Union, which represents pre-school teachers, said many teachers had received "encouraging feedback from parents and the public" over the past few days.

"Even as (the pre-school teachers) press on with their dedication to nurture their young charges, these words of affirmation have helped to strengthen the close bond they have with the parents and children," said Mr Ang.

goyshiyi@sph.com.sg