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Teacher who allegedly abused children at Woodlands preschool fired

Videos show the teacher handling the children roughly, forcing them to drink water and hitting one with a book.

Teacher who allegedly abused children at Woodlands preschool fired

Incidents of alleged abuse involving a Kinderland Preschool @ Woodlands Mart teacher are seen in these images from videos widely circulated on social media on Aug 28, 2023.

SINGAPORE: A teacher has been fired after she allegedly abused several children at a preschool in Woodlands.

The police said on Tuesday (Aug 29) that a 33-year-old woman was arrested for her suspected involvement in the ill-treatment of a child. She will be charged on Wednesday with ill-treating a child, an offence that carries a punishment of up to eight years' jail, a fine of up to S$8,000 (US$5,907) or both.

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) also said on Monday it was looking into the matter. 

This comes after three videos of the teacher's interactions with children surfaced on social media.

In two videos, the teacher can be seen handling children roughly as she tries to force them to drink water. In one, a child wails loudly as she tries to hold their head back. In the other, the woman places a child on the floor and appears to pour water into their mouth while they are lying down.

In the third video, the teacher is seen shouting at a child and hitting them multiple times with a book.

The incidents allegedly took place at Kinderland Preschool @ Woodlands Mart, and Kinderland's most recent Facebook post, dated Aug 21, drew a number of angry comments from people who had seen the videos. 

"We have received your feedback. At this time, we ask for privacy for the affected families," said Kinderland Singapore in a comment at about 7.10pm on Monday.

CNA has contacted Kinderland for more information.

As of 10.20pm on Monday, two Facebook posts containing the videos had been shared more than 22,000 times, with one video racking up more than 800,000 views.

Commenting on one of these posts earlier on Monday, Sembawang GRC Member of Parliament Poh Li San said: "Such unprofessional and harsh actions to the poor children cannot be condoned."

"We are currently assisting affected parents and children. Also, we are liaising with ECDA and the police to investigate this case," Ms Poh said in response to the post made by Facebook user Claudia Tan.

Several Facebook users expressed outrage at what they saw in Ms Tan's post and in another post by Ms Rebecca Leong.

"This is child abuse! One of the kids could have choked (after) being forced to lie down and (have) water poured into the mouth," said Facebook user Mohd Khair.

"Kinderland Singapore shame on (you) guys having a place for young kids but not checking on teachers that are abusers," Facebook user Siti R Fidah said in a separate post. 


Ms Poh also addressed the footage in a post on her Facebook page later on Monday.

"Dear residents and parents of children attending Kinderland @ Woodlands Mart, I understand your concerns and worries related to the videos of a certain teacher rough-handling and smacking children, that are circulating online. Such unprofessional acts certainly cannot be condoned and the staff must be brought to task," she said.

"I understand that the teacher has been dismissed and investigations by ECDA and the police are currently ongoing. I am assisting parents of affected children."

"Meantime, please take care and we will do our best to assist the parents and children affected," she added.

An ECDA spokesperson said in a statement on Monday night that the agency was unable to comment further on the details of the case as investigations are ongoing.

However, the spokesperson was able to confirm that the teacher had been fired.

"We note that the educator in question has since been dismissed by the preschool," the spokesperson said.

"Meanwhile, ECDA has instructed the preschool operator to provide close guidance and support to their teachers in classroom management, and will continue to work closely with the centre to ensure the safety and well-being of enrolled children."

The spokesperson added that the safety and well-being of children in preschools is of the utmost importance.

"ECDA takes a serious view towards any case of child mismanagement," the spokesperson said.

"Preschools are required to report to ECDA any incidents that have an impact on the safety of children and staff. ECDA follows up on every alleged child mismanagement incident, such as through unannounced visits to preschools, interviews and verification of records."

While ECDA takes immediate action if its findings support allegations, the agency also assured educators that false reports will also be acted on.

"Preschool operators are also reminded through regular briefings and circulars to ensure vigilant supervision of children, and to provide guidance and support to teachers on classroom management," the spokesperson added.


A woman, whose child attends the preschool, told CNA that she had only found out about the alleged abuse after the videos were circulated in a chat group for mothers.

The woman, who declined to be named to protect the identity of her son, was not aware of who recorded the footage or when the alleged incidents occurred.

She initially told CNA that her son was one of the children in one of the videos but then retracted the claim after obtaining footage in which the faces of the children could be seen. However, she said the teacher had been in charge of her son's class last year and recalled an incident in which he had expressed sadness upon seeing the teacher.

"There was a time when I sent him to school, as I was putting his socks (on) outside the centre, it was the teacher who was in charge (of) receiving kids in the morning," she said.

"He looked at her, suddenly turned to me and … wanted to cry.

"I asked him: 'Are you okay?' His eyes (were) suddenly teary and (he) wanted to cry." 

"At some points, he (was) reluctant (to go to school), especially during the time the teacher was in charge of his class, which was last year," she said.

The woman shared that her son, who is now three years old, had been attending the preschool since he was five or six months old.

She said she had spoken to the principal and would be lodging a police report shortly. The principal told her that the teacher had been dismissed.

She added that the preschool does not have any cameras.

Editor's note: This article has been updated after the mother clarified that while she originally thought her son was one of the victims, she realised that was not the case when she viewed uncensored footage of the incidents.

Source: CNA/kg(zl)


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