Perpignan – Ukrainian children return to Vertefeuille school: “They are eager to learn”

Since Tuesday, some 30 Ukrainian children aged 3 to 11 who have taken refuge in Perpignan have been educated in specific classes at the Vertefeuille school group. Objective: to teach them the basics of the French language in order to integrate them as quickly as possible into ordinary classes. New students give their first impressions of the Republic school.

Just three days after returning to school, some 30 Ukrainian students from the Vertefeuille school group in Moulin-à-Vent have already made great progress. Currently grouped into two specific classes (one for children and one for primary school), they are mainly dedicated to learning the French language. In kindergarten, this includes singing children’s songs. It includes the intoxicating chorus of The Far Forest (“Coucou, Owl …”), which the ten children present this Friday morning repeating with enthusiasm. One of them, Nikos, a dark-haired little man with blue eyes, visibly seduced by the melody, asks for more and more. And the others follow.

VSit’s going well. They are eager to learn. “points out the teacher in charge of the class, Eloïse Genaudet, who works side by side with Natalia, an interpreter made available by Perpignan City Council. “The important thing is that the reference is still the teacher. She can only speak French to submerge them. The translator intervenes especially in case of difficulties.”underlines the assistant of the academic director in charge of the primary, Peggy Pitaval. “Our project is to gradually integrate Ukrainian students into other classes and into all school projects. adds the director of the nursery, Pascale Fastré. We plan to start including them in certain schedules (sports, choir, etc.) starting next week.

Here we learn a lot by playing, it’s easier than in Ukraine!

On the other side of the school group, about 20 Ukrainian primary school students are concentrating on the conversation. “My name is Nikita, I’m angry. And you, as you say, how do you feel?” Little by little, the word spreads throughout the class. In addition to the principal, there is an interpreter and two specialized speakers in the class.

Here, too, students are generally enthusiastic. “I really like the French school, proclaims (for now in Ukrainian) Illya, a 7-year-old boy. Here we learn a lot by playing. It’s easier than in Ukraine … I also really like the food in the canteen. “ Maria, 9, confirms: “The canteen is much better than in Ukraine. There was no digital whiteboard either …” Andriy, 7, is more expectant. “It’s hard for me to learn French, he trusts. I don’t understand what the mistress is saying … And in Ukraine we had more breaks. Here, the recess is longer, but there are fewer. “

During a French conversation session in elementary school.
Christophe Barreau – Christophe Barreau

The other students approach them

Either way, the classmate, Marie Lacube, said she was pleased with her students’ first results. “Everyone is able to write their name in the Latin alphabet (very different from the Ukrainian alphabet, editor’s note), she is wonderful. They can also tell if they are angry, sad, or happy. Now they have to learn to explain why. “

In addition, even though they are not yet included in regular classes, young Ukrainians are already starting to play with other school children during recess. “French students go to them. They come to see me and ask me how to say certain words, like hello, in Ukrainian.”, says primary school performer Alexandra. So inclusion seems to be on the right track. Although it will probably take some time to adjust to some young refugees, she is still afraid of the idea of ​​integrating traditional classes. At the same time, only three days ago they discovered the French school …

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