“When the first 20 or so children came to our house, we tried to plan everything in advance, as we used to. We included their parents with a lot of information, but they said no! We “We’ll be back in Ukraine in a week. Unfortunately for them, that didn’t happen, and that’s why we try to meet them and the city, which is very open, for which we are happy,” says Čavojská As of Wednesday, 43 Ukrainian students were enrolled in school and the number is growing every day.
The children are divided into groups according to their age. The youngest were placed in regular classes after a short adaptation programme. Older children are currently schooled in separate groups. We expect them to gradually become involved in teaching with Czech children. This will mainly involve teaching English, physical education or other education. We will allow children who have learned German in their schools to continue this education. However, the focus of teaching will be on language support, which will take place in separate groups.
The school is also helped by a Ukrainian student from Prague who interrupted her studies. Two former colleagues also participated in the group education.
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Upon arrival in the class of older students from Ukraine, the students will greet us by standing up and speaking loudly and clearly in a mass and clean hello. Then they sit down and continue teaching with their teacher and translator. Girls hide from the camera lens, boys comment on everything. So there is no difference between Czech and Ukrainian children. Although Horní Slavkov’s teachers assumed that the older ones adapted earlier than the younger ones, the opposite was true.
This is probably because they are much more aware at the age of the horrors that war has brought to their native Ukraine and that schoolchildren have seen with their own eyes. Young children are much more open. But everyone agrees that they are happy at school.
“I am from kyiv. I am doing well in school. These days much better than in kyiv. I also like the city, where I spend my free time with my family after school. The younger sister has one year,” says Sláva, 12, who speaks Ukrainian, Czech and English with us. He adds that English is his favorite subject. When asked if he or his family need anything or if they can still be helped in one way or another, he replies modestly: You have already helped us.
The Ministry of Education also helps schools and refugees, for example through the new Lex Ukraine law. “I should mention that the ministry is flexible. It finds information on the ground and reacts quickly to the situation,” confirms Čavojská.
But it is above all up to principals and teachers to deal with the inclusion of Ukrainian children. If one or two students start school, schools usually take them to regular classes. For example, if a school accepts more children, it will set up these groups.
“It certainly does not work to the detriment of Czech children. Ukrainians can enrich them and vice versa, ”explains the director.
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As Deputy Director Květa Ketnerová mentioned, the Ukrainian Ministry of Education is also helping. First, it introduced nationwide distance education, which can also be joined. A Ukrainian second-class girl tried it in a math class and was happy. He also thinks about the psyche of children. A child psychologist will appear with advice at the beginning and end of the online teaching program. Another good thing, according to educators, is the fact that the ministry has opened up a stack of textbooks online. Teachers all over the world can see what subjects Ukrainian students would learn, how well they are doing.
In addition to the primary school, the local art school also participated in supporting the children.
“Many children are good at dancing, painting, music. Some of them have gone to sports schools. The support from the city is great. However, mothers from Ukraine are also actively involved. They want to learn the language as quickly as possible, they want to work and not just have an outstretched hand. They left behind not only men but also old parents who refused to leave Ukraine. Ukrainian delicacies were cooked for the donors of the Krásno charity collection, and they baked an excellent honey cake in the school canteen. Among the women are teachers, lawyers, confectioners, private entrepreneurs and others. They did not lose their dignity, they lost their roof over their heads,” says Čavojská.
Finally, we asked how long and if, in the case of Ukrainian children, something could be included in the school curriculum. “Of course we are anticipating as we are used to. Is it possible in this case too? As soon as I admit September, coupled with first class entries, timetables or other organizational matters, it means that I admit the continuation of the madness of war, and I don’t want it. So far, I have a maximum of June and the end of this school year in my head,” Čavojská added.