Chaber Falcons created a kindergarten for Ukrainian children. There’s no place for them anywhere else

“Dad is at home, he works there. My mother works here,” says three-year-old Max, who attends a newly established Sokol kindergarten with his younger brother. Their mother was a primary school teacher in Ukraine and is now employed as a teacher in Sokol, together with two other volunteers, they take care of 20 Ukrainian children.

The children are cared for from morning until four o’clock in the afternoon so that their mothers can go to work. “They play Czech and Ukrainian matches and when the weather is good we are eliminated. We try not to talk about the children with the war, because it’s a lot of stress. They still remember the noises of planes, their pets that they left there, ”says educator Olga.

She is also originally from Ukraine, but has lived in the Czech Republic for 20 years. They speak Ukrainian with the children, but basic Czech words and phrases are also starting to be taught to them. “You are like brothers and sisters to us, the languages ​​are alike. We don’t know when the end will be, so we will definitely teach the children Czech. We also have a lot of Czech books here,” he describes.

Educator Olga is from Ukraine, she teaches Czech to refugee children in kindergarten.

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According to Petr Zídek, deputy mayor of Cheb’s Sokol, the aim of the group is to help children adapt to the new environment and prepare them for Czech kindergartens.

“We have a great team of retired-age teachers who have returned and are helping to teach Ukrainian teachers about the Czech kindergarten system,” says Zídek.

There is no place for Ukrainian children in many kindergartens

Since the start of the war, Dolní Chabry has taken in about 137 Ukrainian refugees, including about 18 pre-school children. It is these children and several others from the neighboring region of Sokol who are accepted into their adaptation group. Eventually, they should then be transferred to their capture nurseries depending on their place of residence.

However, the reception capacities of kindergartens are completely exhausted this year. “We cannot accept any children. But some places could be freed up next school year,” says Kateřina Chilhová Šafránková, mayor of Dolní Chaber.

According to her, kindergartens should rely on the ability of Ukrainian children, since the same obligation will apply for them at preschool age as for Czech children who are waiting for enrollment earlier.

The problem of the capacity of kindergartens is also solved by other municipalities in the country. The most satisfied mothers were in September in Prague, in the regions of Pardubice and Zlín.

Due to the war in Ukraine, it is estimated that more than 35,000 children between the ages of three and six could come to the Czech Republic. This follows from a study in which the research agency PAQ, the Czech Priorities organization and experts from various other organizations and institutions participated.

Ukrainian children learn the language in a temporary kindergarten and prepare for Czech kindergartens.

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Kindergartens can, by law, apply for refugee measures to increase the capacity of the maximum number of children in a class. Even Saber kindergartens could now accept up to a maximum of 28 children, but according to the mayor, this would not help significantly, as many do not even have the basics for such an increase.

The mayor plans to resolve the situation by admitting primary school children of preschool age to kindergartens with free capacity. “The younger ones, for whom there would be no place, will probably continue to operate in adaptation groups. But the situation is constantly changing, we will see how it will be in September,” he adds.

Inspiration for other falcons

Adaptation groups similar to the one Sokol set up in Cheb at their gym could offer at least a temporary solution, says local unit vice president Petr Zídek. It therefore calls on other units in Sokol to set up temporary kindergartens. There are 1100 such units in the country.

“It’s a great idea, but the specific form of help depends on the individual gym units depending on their capabilities. They are separate economic and legal entities, so it’s up to them how they decide to help So it is impossible to say whether this could be a conceptual solution,” says Jiří Reichl, spokesperson for the Czech community Sokol.

“Anyone who wants to try to do something similar can turn to us. We will be happy to advise you and provide you with an electronic registration system. Then you will start cooperating with the municipality and helping each other”, encourages Petr Zídek.

In total, the Sokol kindergarten takes care of about twenty Ukrainian children.

Photo: News

The whole project is financed by the Saber Falcons from their own budget and from a public collection to which the inhabitants have mainly contributed. At the same time, they provided material assistance to the children in the form of toys, clothing and hygiene. “It’s a miracle that the children have. Thank you, “said educator Olga, moved.

The city district and the Czech municipality of Sokolská have also pledged funds for longer-term operation. The Ministry of Labor also wants to support the establishment of child adaptation groups. He plans to release 300 to 400 million crowns for them.

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