Currently, the work is under way to equip a nursery shelter to accommodate up to 240 persons during the alarms. This educational institution has been selected to participate in the Safe School Program implemented by East Europe Foundation with the purpose to equip the shelter in accordance with the safety regulations. Thus far the works have been completed to install new lighting and ventilation systems.
This Nursery’s shelter is not just a place to wait out an air raid, but a full-fledged educational space in the basement. There are also baby cots for children to relax, as well as play rooms and all the essential equipment for leisure activities.
The Nursery Director, Natalia, says: “We are not going to just sit in the shelter with kids, instead, we will continue our studies so that the children do not feel scared during the alarms. We want them to be calm and their parents to be confident that their children are 100% protected.”
Damaged by shelling, the childcare facility was closed for little kids in 2022. Therefore, many children were enrolled in other kindergartens in the neighborhood. Yet, according to Natalia, they are keen to go back to their home Nursery and keep on asking when the school will reopen again.
As the building renovation has been recently completed, the school management allows children to come to play on the playground. The Nursery has been examined by deminers and a certificate was issued to confirm that the adjacent area is free from explosive ordnance, so it is safe to go there.
The Nursery Director and her staff keep in regular touch with their families, inquiring about the children all the time. In Chernihiv, there are 144 young students of this Nursery who are eager to go back to their school even tomorrow.
“They have had no day care for almost a year, so they miss it very much,” says Natalia. “And we have been missing our little kindergartners, too!”
Thanks to the Safe School Program, the shelter was equipped in accordance with safety requirements and with due consideration of the school management preferences and, above all, the needs of the children.
“I am very grateful to East Europe Foundation that the shelter is equipped with all the necessary implements to ensure safety of our children,” says Natalia. I am convinced that when the parents see our newly refurbished shelter, they will be even more grateful”.
Do we have to rely on new methods to work with children who survived the war? The Director is confident that remembering the kindergarten as a place of peace and joy, as it used to be in peacetime, will help children to regain this feeling when they come back to school.
“Our Nursery has capable practitioners and support staff so I am sure we can handle everything,” says the Nursery Director. “I think that when the kids come back, they will have a feeling that everything is fine again.”
The Safe School Program was initiated by East Europe Foundation to support the educational system in Ukraine to equip basic shelters with essential equipment to provide comfortable conditions for children, educators and other community members.
The Program is implemented by East Europe Foundation in cooperation with the State Emergency Service, the Ministries of Education and Science and Internal Affairs. We also express our gratitude to our partners for their support: Eurasia Foundation and Terre des Hommes, as well as companies EPAM Ukraine, Baker Tilly International and METRO Ukraine. The Program involves 28 educational establishments throughout Ukraine, three of which will become model schools for their peers and authorities.