ECDA acknowledges lapse in Kinderland Woodlands Mart case, is reviewing its procedures, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

ECDA acknowledges lapse in Kinderland Woodlands Mart case, is reviewing its procedures

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) has acknowledged that there was a lapse in its handling of the Woodlands Mart child mismanagement case, and said it is reviewing its systems and processes.

In a statement issued on Monday, ECDA said it began investigations into the case on Aug 11, a day after a whistleblower provided the agency with video evidence.

The case in question came to public attention after videos of a teacher at Kinderland’s Woodlands Mart pre-school forcing children to drink water and hitting a child on the buttocks with a book were circulated on social media and messaging platforms on Aug 28.

ECDA said its officer had assessed that sufficient supervisory measures were put in place by the pre-school to mitigate the risk to the safety of the children while investigations were ongoing.

However, the officer failed to immediately remove the teacher from classroom duties, which is the established protocol for cases with clear evidence that a child’s safety is endangered.

ECDA CEO Tan Chee Wee said: “ECDA should have done better. We apologise for not getting Kinderland to immediately remove the educator from her classroom role while investigations are ongoing.”

The agency is reviewing its systems and procedures to strengthen them and ensure better oversight of cases under investigation, he added.

On Monday, ECDA said it has instructed Kinderland headquarters to conduct an independent review of the child management practices in all its pre-schools, and to report to ECDA on its findings and recommendations within three months.

“During this period, ECDA will also place all preschools under Kinderland on close monitoring and conduct more frequent unannounced checks on their classroom management practices,” it said.

ECDA also provided an update on recent incidents at two Kinderland centres: the one at Woodlands Mart, and another centre in Choa Chu Kang.