After fleeing the war in Ukraine, children find the school desks in Cosne-sur-Loire

They are seven, seven young Ukrainian refugees in France and are now being educated at Notre-Dame College in Cosne-sur-Loire. Six of them had already been present at the facility for two weeks, the seventh returned this Monday, April 4th.

The school was asked two weeks ago to take in young Ukrainian refugees. Six of them have already taken their places on the school benches, from CP to Second.

The young girls spend the day in class with the French students. Here in class CE2, mutual help is the keyword.
Marina is busy putting away her things, her neighbor Léa explains to her that she has to get out her slate. “I’ll give him signs to help him. I show him when to use the blackboard for math. I’ll help him if mistress says so. I help him with different activities to teach him words!”

In order to be able to support Ukrainian students (mainly girls), the teaching team organized itself differently. As explained Anne Bermond, Mistress of CE2: “I changed my schedule a bit, I start math in the morning so they can learn French individually. We have students who are already from Syria, we had warned the children that children could come from Ukraine and 3 days after that they arrived […] Working with the children is more of an asset than a burden!”

Another advantage in this school group is the presence of a person who speaks fluent Russian. Afet Hoffman is a kindergarten teacher. She is of Azerbaijani origin and speaks Russian. In this way, she can communicate with the Ukrainian refugees, who also speak Russian, and build a genuine relationship of trust with the children: “They are reassured when they really understand this and that concept, even though I don’t speak Ukrainian, they speak perfect Russian, so we can communicate in Russian. »

Ukrainian girls are also allowed to use a cell phone to communicate. For Anya, the French language presents some difficulties: “the most difficult thing for me is learning the names of fruits and vegetables and the numbers!” she said to Afet in Russian.

One hour is provided for Ukrainian schoolchildren to meet with the CDI librarian for French lessons.
A special moment with the librarian Professor Olivier Pichetti, for a total immersion.

“In the beginning we started with the computer to transcribe. The simplest thing is that they hear as much French as possible. Your progress is the result of teamwork. It’s really the institution that welcomed them. Both the teachers and the students! “

The students waited impatiently

Sébastien Tricotet, director of the Notre-Dame school group

For the leader of the school group, Sébastien Tricotet, the decision to welcome these students was taken without hesitation. The facility has “has opened its doors” and the students already present prepared the reception: “Some have made designs to accommodate them. […] The idea was to really help these families, that seemed obvious to us. We then put the question to the entire educational team and everyone thought about it.”

When asked if the school group would be willing to take in other refugee children, Sébastien Tricotet did not hesitate: “We took in Albanians three years ago. Of course we are very motivated to welcome all these children knocking on our doors to demand normal school continuity far from conflict.

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