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Back to school

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Millions of children around the world are getting ready to start another school year. From September, children from Poland and Ukraine will also return to school benches, including participants of classes organized as part of the Child-Friendly Spaces.

It is for them that for the last year, together with local partners, we have been conducting Polish language lessons and activities that allow you to get to know each other and prepare for joining Polish-language classes.

It was the language barrier that was the biggest obstacle in finding employment and everyday life in Poland. Therefore, in the second year of the Children-Friendly Spaces project, we assumed that the level of teaching must go beyond the basic knowledge of the language. So that children and adults feel comfortable in communication and do not have to give up any activities. Irrespective of how the fate of families develops, knowledge of Polish will be a valuable skill for them on the labor market, bilingual employees will be needed on both sides of the border – said Agnieszka Piasecka, project coordinator, in June.

According to data collected by UNHCR, children from Ukraine who came to Poland after the outbreak of the war account for 4% of students. Only less than half of all children – about 173,000 – were enrolled in Polish schools. The situation is even worse among children of secondary school age, of whom only one in five attended school in the Polish education system in the past school year.

Last year, some families decided to take a break from education so that children could prepare for exams in Polish schools longer, which certainly affected the statistics. Each subsequent year out of school not only increases the risk of dropping out of school altogether, but also isolates the child from social life among peers and deepens the trauma associated with the change of environment, adds Piasecka.

Organizations from Lublin, Łódź, Kraków, Ruciane Nida, Poznań and Bielsko Biała participate in the Children-Friendly Spaces programme. As part of the cooperation, children and adults can take advantage of a wide range of extracurricular activities and sports activities, psychotherapy and Polish language lessons until the end of the year. The program is implemented in cooperation with local partners thanks to Shell funds.

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