ECDA investigating pre-school teacher for pushing one-year-old boy away from window, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

ECDA investigating pre-school teacher for pushing one-year-old boy away from window

A pre-school teacher is being investigated by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) for pushing a one-year-old boy away from a low window grille, after he repeatedly tried to climb onto it.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, a spokeswoman for the agency said on Jan 16 that the educator had used an “inappropriate method” in preventing the child from climbing, and the incident was caught on closed-circuit television (CCTV).

ECDA said: “On Jan 3, 2024, the child was repeatedly attempting to climb onto a low window grille and the educator pushed him away from the window.

“The child fell on his bottom on the play mat and rolled over sideways onto his back.”

The incident was uncovered when the agency was reviewing CCTV footage from the child’s pre-school in Yishun, after the child’s parents had reported to the pre-school that he was injured.

This was just the fourth day of pre-school for the 22-month-old, who is an only child.

The father added: “My wife and I assumed that the injury could only come from school, as he did not suffer any knocks or falls at home.”

Worried, the father lodged a police report and took the child to see a doctor, who said there was no internal bleeding.

When pre-school operations resumed on Jan 8, the parents flagged the incident to the school. Responding to queries, the pre-school said on Jan 10 that CCTV footage was shown to the parents on Jan 9 and no cause for the bruise was seen.

ECDA said the pre-school reported the incident to the agency on Jan 8, leading to investigations that included unannounced visits to the pre-school, reviewing CCTV footage when the child was present in the school, as well as interviews.

Based on the agency’s preliminary findings, the bruise on the boy’s right ear could have occurred on Jan 4 when the child was seated on a low chair, lost his balance and fell backwards onto the floor, ECDA said. This was caught on CCTV.

While the boy’s injuries have faded, he has stopped attending school since Jan 8 as he was “badly traumatised”, his father told ST on Jan 16. The boy’s parents have yet to decide on withdrawing their son from the pre-school.

Even now, the child’s father remains doubtful that the bruise on the boy’s ear had been caused by the child falling on his own.

He questioned why the pre-school had not flagged the incident involving a teacher, adding that he had learnt about that incident only on Jan 15 when ECDA informed him.

The agency said: “While incidents involving children may sometimes occur despite the pre-school’s best efforts, ECDA takes a serious view towards all cases of child mismanagement.

“Actions will be taken against the pre-school operator and staff if our findings support the allegation.”