Photo: Elena Mozhvilo

54 Ukrainian children receive education and a safe everyday life at Langelinieskolen

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Langelinieskolen (The Langelinie School) in Østerbro is the school in Copenhagen Municipality that has received the most Ukrainian students. This despite the fact that the school has not had reception classes for years.

A year ago, the school decided to offer to set up special reception classes for Ukrainian children, and in collaboration with the area management and the Children and Youth Administration, the school startet three classes with room for 18 Ukrainian students in each.

-And we actually had to start from scratch and build a small school from scratch. We found available rooms and furniture and hired some fantastic teachers who all applied together to do this particular task. On 9 May we opened the doors to 10 children, slowly we got more and more students and by Christmas we were full with 54 students from 0-9, says the head of department at Langelinieskolen, Malene Meyer.

As the school that receives the most students in Copenhagen, the staff is faced with a very big task today. The task is far from just teaching the children Danish, it is just as much to give them a safe base from which they can get to know Denmark and their new life here. These are children who have very different experiences with them from Ukraine; some of the families left just as the war broke out, and at the same time there are now also children who have experienced the war first hand. This adds complexity to the community of children and to the task of supporting and teaching them.

-The first Ukrainian students who started at the school lived with friends and acquaintances in Østerbro. Especially after the autumn holidays, however, we have been able to feel a change. The latest arrivals come from more difficult circumstances. Their families do not have very many funds and some of the children have lived in the worst war zones before they came to Denmark. We find that many of the children and their families are under a lot of pressure psychologically and in some cases their state of health is also challenged. Most have left their father or other close family behind in Ukraine. We are dealing with children who are in crisis, and it is clear that this creates additional challenges and circumstances surrounding our work with them, says Malene Meyer.

Despite the great work of creating a good school for the 54 Ukrainian children, the school is happy that they have undertaken the task, and according to Malene Meyer, they would do it again, if asked to.

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