Manager of Esquimalt daycare speaks out after video shows kids ‘fight club’

Manager of Esquimalt daycare speaks out after video shows kids 'fight club'

WATCH: Manager of Esquimalt daycare under investigation speaks out about video showing children fighting while daycare staff watch. Isabelle Raghem reports. 

The manager of the Ciara Early Childhood Centre in Esquimalt says a video showing boys and girls fighting one another as the staff watch has been devastating to the business.

“I think we’ve had at least five parents […] picking up their children’s stuff,” said Angelie Friebe Monday, “One of the parents who is upset is pulling out one of her children out from our toddler program and is pulling one of her children from our three to five program, I care for her. So it’s emotional.”

The daycare manager of 31 years says she wants the public to know she never approved Tuesday’s activity and didn’t know it happened until she saw the video.

“When I saw it I was shocked,” Friebe said.

She says she has since fired an employee over the incident. Friebe says the worker she let go had previously asked her about including “rough and tumble play” at the daycare – a controversial activity where children chase and play fight — something Friebe says she never agreed to include.

READ MORE: Esquimalt daycare ?fight club? video sparks Island Health investigation

Educational psychologist Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater says while some children can benefit from healthy rough and tumble play, that’s not what’s happening in the video.

“Rough and tumble play has this positive effect, it’s also more spontaneous. It’s not something organized like a boxing match with an audience, it’s just fun. So in this instance, it doesn’t look appropriate,” said the University of Victoria professor.

Officials from the Island Health Daycare Licensing Branch says they will continue to investigate until they are sure it’s a safe environment for children. The daycare will remain marked at high risk until their investigation is complete.

Friebe says she hopes people will give the centre a chance to prove itself.


Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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