Parents of children at Sam's Early Learning Centre sign letter in show of support

The Early Childhood Development Agency said it has not uncovered anything adverse at Sam's Early Learning Centre. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - Parents of children at a River Valley childcare centre at the receiving end of an online allegation of abuse and neglect have signed a letter in a show of support for the centre.

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

The letter, signed by 35 parents, stated: "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, a series of photos shared on social media application WeChat showed pupils from Sam's Early Learning 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 a used diaper next to him, and with faeces on his bare bottom.

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

As for the photograph of the toddler in the cot, the centre said that 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 signed by parents also said the centre had been "very forthcoming", adding that it was satisfied with the explanations the centre had offered.

"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 (Feb 22) said its investigation showed the photos "appear to have been taken out of context".

Sam's Early Learning Centre yesterday said it believes the photos were taken in 2016 and posted by an unhappy former employee, who has since returned to China.

The centre went on to explain, in detail, the context behind each of the photos.

Sam's Early Learning Centre has held 24-month-long 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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