At the end of March, CBS De Wegwijzer, OBS De Pendinghe, SBO Bekenkampschool and RKDBS Bisschop Bekkerschool started a special project: teaching Ukrainian refugee children. According to Jolanda Groenewold from De Wegwijzer, the ‘project’ is now almost over.
Hey Yolanda! How do you look back on the past three months?
“It was a very beautiful, but also a very crazy and busy time. You start something where you do not know exactly what will come your way. Basically, you need to reinvent the wheel. In the beginning, we had a different teacher every day. Everyone puts their best foot forward. But in the end, it turned out not to be the way. And then we were lucky that a teacher came back and he started teaching the group of Ukrainians five days a week. ”
It gives a lot of calm and regularity, I think?
“Correct. This teacher is not proficient in the Ukrainian language, but interpreters make it easy. And because you have the same person in front of the class every day, it ensures that a really good relationship is built. A few weeks ago we held a schoolyard party. here at the school with open stage.What we did not expect happened.A group of Ukrainian children went on stage and started singing the Ukrainian song that won the country’s Eurovision Song Contest. It was very emotional for everyone. But also a confirmation of “that the children feel safe and comfortable here. They dared to present themselves in front of a large group of children. It also gave a lot of good reactions from children from other classes.”
In the beginning, the teaching was held in the morning. How is it today?
“The development has not stood still. After the Ascension weekend, we have chosen to make a split. We are dealing with many new registrations, and therefore it has been decided to accommodate all children from 10 years and up on De Pendinghe, where the small children are already. We have kept the middle school, children aged 6 to 9 years. This created more space and we started offering tuition until 6 p.m. In the morning they have Dutch lessons, in the afternoon they have Ukrainian lessons. “
Now we’m talking about refugee children. Children who have been through a lot and who may also have many worries about relatives who are still in their home country. How do you handle it?
“Our approach as a team is that we want to offer a safe haven. And we see that a lot is happening with the kids. We see that they are having fun, but we also see that they are sometimes emotionally charged, that a lot is going on in their heads. And we also see that a lot is happening right now. What will summer look like? How long will you stay here? We see families moving to other countries. What we notice is that the interpreters we have are very important, which gives something to hold on to. ”
You have already mentioned the summer period. Where children usually look forward to the holidays, I can imagine that these children do not want to go on holiday at all …
“A lot will change in the coming period. In Groningen, there will be one place where the Ukrainian children will be taught. CBS De Kleine Wereld now has two branches, but they continue in one place. The building on SS Rosensteinlaan will be vacant, and classes will be held there from September. So next week we will say goodbye to ‘our Ukrainian children’. “
It seems a little sad to me …
“It’s nice of you to ask. We regularly asked our team at school what do you think about how it goes. And the reactions are positive. The children have become part of our school and we are very proud of what we have achieved in the recent period.On the other hand, we also know that we lack space.You will soon have all the expertise in one place, which is nice.In order not to leave the children to their fate, an introduction will take place next week in the new place. We must also arrange a farewell party. “
And the summer holidays. What will happen then?
“I hope that these children can connect with the activities that are arranged here and there. That they can do fun things, that they can make friends, and that their development does not stand still. So I hope that organizations in the city will take a broad view of that. ”
In March, reporter Mirthe Zuhorn made a report on the education of Ukrainian children on De Wegwijzer: