Published on 30 August 2023
1. The safety and well-being of children in our preschools is of utmost importance. The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) takes a serious view towards any case of child mismanagement. ECDA follows up on every alleged child mismanagement incident, such as through unannounced visits to preschools, interviews and verification of records.
Levers under the Early Childhood Development Centres Act and Regulations
2. There are explicit provisions in the Early Childhood Development Centres Act and Regulations, which prohibit the use of corporal punishment or any other inappropriate child management practices in our preschools. ECDA can take action against educators or preschool operators when they are found guilty of not fulfilling their duty of care to the children under their charge.
3. For educators, ECDA will issue warning letters to those who use inappropriate child management practices. For serious cases where there appears to be clear intent to harm the child, the case will be referred to the Police for criminal investigation. Individuals who are found to have committed serious acts of child mismanagement will be barred from working in the preschool sector.
4. For preschool operators, ECDA will take regulatory action if they have not taken adequate measures to ensure that their educators use positive and developmentally appropriate methods to manage children’s behaviour. ECDA may impose financial penalties, shorten the preschool’s licence tenure or in the worst case, revoke its licence. ECDA can also issue directions to the preschool to put in place measures to improve their child management practices and ensure such incidents do not recur.
Incidents of Inappropriate Child Management at K-Joy Educare Pte Ltd
5. In the case of K-Joy Educare Pte Ltd at Woodlands Mart, after being alerted to the incidents by a former employee, ECDA commenced our investigation on 10 August 2023. We have since determined that the educator involved in the incidents had used highly inappropriate methods to manage the children in her care. She has been issued a warning and barred from working in the preschool sector. The Police has also arrested her for the offence of ill-treatment of child under the Children and Young Persons Act. ECDA is still investigating the roles of the centre leader and preschool operator in these incidents and may take further actions if they are deemed not to have fulfilled their duty of care to the children.
6. ECDA is closely monitoring this preschool to ensure the safety and well-being of all enrolled children. The preschool operator has also been instructed to provide close guidance and supervision to their educators on classroom management in this preschool.
7. Separately, ECDA was alerted on 29 August 2023 to another incident of child mismanagement at EQ-Learners Educare Pte Ltd at Choa Chu Kang, a preschool under the same operator. Both ECDA and the Police are investigating the case and we note that the Police have arrested the educator involved in the incident.
8. We acknowledge that such incidents have caused grave concern among parents on the safety and well-being of children in our preschools. ECDA will continue to work closely with preschool operators and training providers to ensure our centre leaders and educators understand their duty of care to the children and do their utmost to prevent child mismanagement from happening. Most of our educators join the sector with a passion to nurture our young children and make a positive impact in their lives. We urge parents to continue supporting them as they work tirelessly in caring and educating our children.
Early Childhood Development Agency