SINGAPORE: Two separate incidents at a preschool have sparked an investigation from the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) after the parents of a 22-month-old boy who first noticed a bruise on his ear earlier this month.

In the first incident, which occurred on Jan 3, the toddler tried to climb a low window grille several times, and the teacher pushed the boy away. “The child fell on his bottom on the play mat and rolled over sideways onto his back,” ECDA said. The following day, the small boy was seated on a low chair when he lost his balance. He then fell backwards on the floor.

EDCA said that the boy’s right ear could have gotten bruised from the second incident, and it is now “looking into the educator’s inappropriate method used on Jan 3, when preventing the child from climbing onto the window grille.”

ST, which spoke to the boy’s parents, quoted his father as saying, “My wife and I assumed that the injury could only come from school, as he did not suffer any knocks or falls at home.”

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The boy had come home with scratches on his face and a bruise the size of a 50-cent coin. He had only been attending preschool for four days when his parents noticed a bruise and scratches.

The boy’s parents alerted preschool operator PCF Sparkletots @ Nee Soon Link Block 446 on Jan 8, and the preschool reported the incident to the ECDA on the same day.

The parents then took the boy to a doctor, who assured them that no internal bleeding had resulted from the mishap. The parents have also filed a police report over the incident.

“Since then, ECDA has commenced investigations, which include unannounced visits to the pre-school, review of CCTV footage, interviews and verification of records,” The Straits Times (ST) quotes the agency as saying.

On Jan 9, the boy’s parents were shown CCTV footage of an incident on Jan 4. However, after ECDA reviewed CCTV footage from the preschool from Jan 2 onward, they found another incident involving the boy. A teacher at the preschool located in Nee Soon Link is now under investigation.

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The boy’s father has also told ST that he would like to know why he and the boy’s mum were not informed about the time the child had tried climbing the window grille.

They only found out about it on Jan 15, after ECDA had seen the prior CCTV footage and contacted the family.

“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. Action will be taken against the pre-school operator and staff if our findings support the allegation,” CNA quotes ECDA as saying.

“The safety and well-being of children in preschools is of utmost importance.”

 “At PCF Sparkletots, the health, safety, and well-being of our children remains our top priority, and we’re fully committed to cooperating with the parents and the authorities,” the preschool said. /TISG

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