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It Takes a Village: Ukrainian Students in Nebušice  

Since the war started in Ukraine, there have been extensive efforts throughout Prague to help Ukrainian families make the Czech Republic their new temporary or permanent home. Within the Nebušice community, there have been both community and school initiatives to support new Ukrainian arrivals in or near the village. Please read on to learn more about how Škola Nebušice and ISP are supporting the wellbeing, belonging and learning of refugee students displaced by the war in Ukraine. 

Základní Škola Nebušice has been doing its part in helping students from Ukraine integrate, hosting activities, providing mental health support, and preparing for options within their school for next year. In a recent interview, Šárka Vondrová, the director of the school, told us about their efforts. For the full interview in Czech, please watch this video.

“ Although we didn’t have a chance to take students directly into the school due to our limited capacity, we created two ‘adaptation groups’ for the kids, one each for elementary and middle-school aged students, to informally help integrate them into the community.” – Šárka Vondrová, Director of Škola Nebušice

Like our neighborhood school, ISP wants to support as many students as possible. So far, we have admitted a total of 29 students who have been displaced by the war, 22 of which were coming from Ukraine.  Our ability to support these students has been thanks to their level of English and available spots in certain grade levels. 

ISP has always appreciated our partnership with Škola Nebušice as we have shared facilities, visitors, and other experiences. In addition to sponsoring a Fun Day on April 30th for the Ukrainian children and their families, ISP was happy to be able to support Škola Nebušice with extra iPads for the Ukrainian students they are supporting.

“As we tried to provide older kids with resources to learn digitally, we realized we were short on iPads, so I immediately contacted Mr. Proudlove, the leader of IT at ISP, to ask for some help. He reacted almost instantly, and that same day we were provided with 30 iPads, which the students greatly appreciated.” – Šárka Vondrová, Director of Škola Nebušice

The Prague 6 district management of Nebušice offered to convert a nearby gym, Sokolovna, into a temporary housing space. With the support of “Volleyball parents” from both schools, this important effort allowed more families to move into the area. 

Transitioning

Ms Vondrová shared that this year, the Ukrainian students are adapting to their new surroundings and getting to know the school, other students and the village. However, not wanting to add stress, the Ukrainian students don’t start with a normal load of Czech coursework in Škola Nebušice. These students mostly need help processing what happened with the support of psychologists and artistic and musical sessions.

Luckily, the language barrier between Czech and Ukrainian speakers is less than in other languages as they have a similar foundation. Therefore, though it’s not easy, there is some communication between the new and existing Nebušice students. 

At ISP, our counselors and teachers have accessed and used “trauma-informed” instruction materials being developed for English medium schools around the world. In addition, ISP has been able to employ five displaced Ukrainians to support in the area of teaching, after-school activities, and support staff roles.

After-School Activities

In partnership with Škola Nebušice, ISP now has 40 Ukrainian students involved in our After School Activity Programs. Ms. Vondrova looks forward to the ongoing partnership in this area of sports activities, artistic or musical workshops, and even tournaments to help kids feel more welcome. 

Preparing for the next academic school year

While we support and welcome the refugees to our community, they face uncertainty about their future. The students seem glad as they go to their classes each day. However, we also realize that many of these families have to think about how they will proceed with schooling for their children next year. At Škola Nebušice, they’re still trying to increase the capacity to have space for some of them to start permanently in September. At ISP, we are also looking at how we can accommodate the needs of displaced Ukrainian students. The challenge for any school is to plan with families faced with such difficult decisions and an unpredictable future. As a community, we appreciate the ongoing support and compassion for our new neighbors as we do everything in our power to ensure all children have access to learning and belonging.

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