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Kinderland Woodlands Mart's New Principal Starts Work On 4 Sep, Will Hold More Walkabouts At Centre

Kinderland Woodlands Mart’s New Principal Meets Parents At 2 Sep Meeting

Parents who enrolled their children into Kinderland Woodlands Mart are up in arms.

Many demanded an explanation from the preschool and wanted to pull their children out as soon as videos of a teacher’s alleged abuse of schoolkids went viral.

Source: Claudia Tan on Facebook

After the principal involved has been removed from her position, a new one will be coming in on Monday (4 Sep). Staff have also installed CCTVs in all classrooms and activity areas.

Despite the new stringent measures, parents who met the new principal and reps of Kinderland Woodlands Mart on Saturday (2 Sep) expressed that they were still worried for their children’s safety.

Kinderland Woodlands Mart introduces new principal Ms Surinder Kaur

According to Kinderland’s press release, parents got the chance to meet the new principal, Ms Surinder Kaur, during the dialogue sessions, who updated them on “decisive actions” taken by the preschool to protect the children’s safety.

Ms Kaur, who has spent a decade with Kinderland, has 20 years of experience in the early childhood sector.

She told parents during the meeting she would increase the frequency of principal walkabouts at the centre so she could interact more with teachers and children to ensure their well-being.

Per Channel NewsAsia (CNA), Kinderland’s general manager, Seet Lee Kiang, said the pain and distress of parents were acknowledged.

Mr Seet took the chance to clarify that the policy of not allowing staff to use personal devices during teaching hours was not new. In fact, it was introduced in 2019.

The preschool was simply reminding the staff of the policy. However, they can use their own devices in an emergency, such as filming videos of alleged abuse.

Mr Seet additionally acknowledged that the policy reminder came at the wrong time. “It is a public relations disaster,” he told CNA.

In the press release, he noted that the sessions with the parents were fruitful and there were some key takeaways.

“We will continue to review our feedback mechanisms and processes to ensure that any incidents will be averted and swiftly addressed,” he said.

Dialogue perceived as not fruitful by some parents

However, parents apparently felt the opposite, as some of them told the media that the dialogue was not fruitful.

For this reason, one woman told The Straits Times (ST) she wasn’t satisfied with the dialogue.

“They have to gain back our trust,” she was quoted as saying, noting that she intended to withdraw her daughter from Kinderland.

However, the only thing stopping her is that other preschools are all full.

ST reported that although a total of 96 parents came to the session, some said they did not receive an invitation.

They only learned about it through parent chat groups or the media.

Parents toured Kinderland Woodlands Mart classrooms after meeting new principal

Lianhe Zaobao and CNA reported that parents who stepped out of Kinderland after the meeting described the atmosphere as “tense”.

Some claimed that the person they spoke with did not seem sincere even though their grievances were recorded. Parents also reportedly did not get to discuss matters related to compensation or refunds.

One couple told Lianhe Zaobao that their son suffered mistreatment last February. They alleged that the teacher had tied their son up, restraining the movements of his hands.

When they confronted the preschool, they were told that their son kept pulling down his mask. Hence, the restraints were meant to stop him from doing so.

Heartbroken, the couple said they can no longer trust the preschool and intend to pull their son out.

Another parent said their kid also suffered an injury back then. But they claimed that the preschool and principal paid them no heed.

If it wasn’t for the dialogue on Saturday (2 Sep), the parent said they wouldn’t have been able to address the incident formally.

Following the 90-minute session, parents requested a tour of the centre.

They were later brought around to check out the classrooms and activity areas, which now have newly installed CCTVs.

Also read: Woodlands Preschool Teacher Arrested For Ill-Treatment Of Children, Faces Up To 8 Years’ Jail

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Featured image adapted from Google Maps.

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