WATCH: A report from a school where Ukrainian children are integrated ‘on the go’

Mrs. Šilhavá tries various methods to speed up the integration of the two girls into the team and at the same time eliminate the “accompanying” complications. An Internet translator, including its sound form, as well as an interactive whiteboard, have become a common element of classroom communication. Two skillful girls, who sometimes go out with classmates from Ukraine to the door of the hall classroom, where they read together, help in better and faster understanding of the material. “I wrote in a notebook and showed her how to pronounce it. She did very well in a moment,” says Evelyna.

Afternoon tutoring

Andrea also teaches all newcomers from Ukraine in the afternoon – three hours a week for half an hour. “It happens that the child first says in Ukrainian, for example, ‘my mother is Olga’, and then we repeat the sentence in Czech. Applications and programs such as, reading comprehension, which is great, for example, to learn months, colors or numbers, helps us a lot. Various companies in this field have reacted quickly and positively,” says Andrea Šilhavá.

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Yesterday, Radlická and an assistant from Ukraine entered primary school, supposed to help the children with private lessons and play with them, as they are sometimes sad or confused by the new situation. “It is difficult for everyone. The presence of these children in class obviously affects the whole class, but we all approach it positively as a challenge,” adds Šilhavá.

His first-class colleagues take a different approach. Sometimes they take care of Ukrainian children and the rest of the class works in groups. But they say you have to economize with different forms of education. “You have to realize that in our classes there are children on welfare or from socially disadvantaged backgrounds who, for example, go to school sporadically. These children need extra care. It is not possible to redirect all the energy to the Ukrainian children,” emphasizes the first-grade teacher. Her colleague recalls that the children of Ukraine were used to a different style of teaching. “They are good at mathematics, in which they progress at their own pace, but in complete autonomy”, he specifies.

Classmates help

Věra Bauerová has a good thirty-thirds in the tribal class, including several newcomers from Ukraine. They do not use translators at all in this class, with intensive efforts to integrate newcomers, Ukrainians and Russians, who have been part of the team from the beginning, help. “The advantage was that all our refugee children are outgoing and shy, they are interested in learning quickly. And my assistant helps me a lot in this difficult situation,” says Věra Bauerová.

Educators agree there are a lot of challenges right now. One of them is based on the fact that Ukrainian children gradually come to school, so that integration actually starts again with each of them. And no one knows when the migration will stop.

A class below us

Teacher Elena Jasenická, who comes from Ukraine and has lived in Prague for almost twenty years, also works at the school. “I help to coordinate applications for the placement of children in our school. They call us from all over Prague. I explain to them, for example, what documents they need to have or which class the child should go to. Refugee children are almost always a class lower than their home school in Ukraine,” Jasenická explained.

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The capacity of the primary school in Radlice is 340 places, but the classes are spatially reduced after the reconstruction. “At the moment, the situation is getting closer,” said deputy director Simona Vlčková.

Classes and teachers are missing

“There are basically two options. Either the integration of Ukrainian children or the creation of groups where they would quickly learn Czech. In our case, we come up against several limits. We have neither rooms nor teachers. Ukrainian teachers are available, but we don’t have money for them. We don’t even have an updated staffing limit, which is calculated by the ministry at the end of March,” explained representative Vlčková.

According to her, some large schools can afford to pay other teachers and the establishment of special Ukrainian classes through financial reserves. But Radlická has to go the hard way. “I know that this situation is extraordinary. However, a number of questions remain unanswered, such as how to assess Ukrainian children. Uniform rules would undoubtedly make everything easier for us,” she added.

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