On March 14, 16 Ukrainian children went back to school in Saint-Pierre-de-Chandieu in the Rhone. Since then the numbers have increased and the children have been divided into different institutions according to their age. By incorporating them into classes for certain subjects, learning is still difficult, but reintegrating them into the curriculum seems to qualify well.
On March 3, 52 Ukrainian refugees disembarked from a humanitarian bus in Saint-Pierre-de-Chandio. Among them were about fifteen children between the ages of 4 and 17, who had dropped out of school because of the war, and had to send them back to school. A real challenge for this small town and its community. But thanks to organization and solidarity, the challenge appears to be met.
Eleven days after arriving in the national territory, these young Ukrainians had completed their first “French school year”, and they, of all ages, were reunited, In the Louise Michel Kindergarten. Then they were received by an educational consultant, in the presence of a Ukrainian interpreter, to welcome them all, to measure their age, level and needs, in order to better distribute them afterwards.
Two months later, the number of Ukrainian children and teens returning to school rose as more refugees arrived. Sixteen at the time of “back to school” on March 14, they were currently 31, well distributed in various municipal schools and surrounding areas: 6 in primary school, 7 in college, and 18 in various secondary schools.
The younger ones, from primary grades, mainly learn French, which is why they have two days a week with a teacher specializing in UPE2A (Allophone’s Incoming Student Pedagogical Unit), Jesse Correa, who communicates with children most often. image, and uses Google Translate as a last resort.
“We mainly work with games, manipulation and workshops, it is much simpler for children who are faced with a foreign language“The young teacher explains,”We mainly focus on the basic vocabulary that will be necessary in the class, as well as on the dictionary of need, to allow them to express it more easily“.
Uprooted, separated from their brothers and parents, dragged across Europe by bus and immersed in a different culture, with a different language and alphabet, these children will have every reason in the world to drop out. but on the contrary”They are very enthusiastic and very academic‘ asserts Jesse, amazed at her ability to learn,They memorize incredibly fast, I can’t say anything else“.
For older people, of college or high school age, it’s a little different: they are already partially integrated into French language classes. This means that for a certain number of courses, such as mathematics, English, history, geography or even sports and music, they are divided into different classes, and they follow the courses like their French companions.
“We immerse them as much as possible so that they listen to speaking French and gradually immerse themselves“Lawrence Yaglian, a professor of history and geography who also volunteered to give French lessons to her Ukrainian undergraduates,” justified.They’re trying to follow through but it’s not always easy.” She gets angry, “II often put myself in their shoes, wondering what to do in Ukraine with a Cyrillic alphabet, among Ukrainians …“.
So Ukrainian students continue to follow fairly intensive French lessons, where their knowledge of English is more than useful, even if only to master the alphabet. During public classes they have “teachers”, volunteer French students who try to help them. On the other hand, teachers who can, do not hesitate to translate their lessons into English to allow Ukrainians to understand certain things.
So the re-education of Ukrainian children and adolescents in Saint-Pierre-en-Chandio has started really well, and thanks to the organization and solidarity it is improving. But to pursue a good education, especially for the elderly, the situation is still far from ideal. “Some take online Ukrainian language courses at the same time, others on the other hand … they don’t have much“Lawrence smiles, full of tenderness and passion,”The priority is to teach them French“.