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Practical guide for Ukrainian refugees: 14.04

According to UN data, as of April 6 just over 2.5 mln Ukrainians have found refuge in Poland. 600,000 of those refugees are children.

According to recently passed legislation, Ukrainian refugee’s children will be able to be enrol at Polish kindergartens for free.

There are several types of kindergartens in Poland, depending on the age of the children it caters to. Children aged 1-to-3 are accepted into nurseries (żłobek), those aged 3-to-5 can attend pre-schools (przedszkole), and children aged 5-to-6 can be enrolled into “grade zero” (zerówka). One group usually has around 25 children who five teachers supervise.

Ukrainian children are placed in mixed groups with Polish children or can also be enrolled into groups dedicated to Ukrainian children if such a possibility exists. Over 174,000 children have already been signed up by their parents.

Different kindergartens may have different procedures for accepting children, but a PESEL number (national ID number, issued to all citizens and resident aliens) is required; for the time being, if the parents have not yet obtained a PESEL number for their child, a passport or birth certificate is an acceptable alternative. In all other respects, procedures for Polish and Ukrainian children are the same.

Svitlana Lopushanska is a kindergarten teacher from Ukraine. Before the war, she resided in Bucha, north of Kyiv, which has become infamous for the atrocities committed by Russian invaders against the local civilian population. Now she works in a Polish kindergarten. The group includes Polish and Ukrainian children, as well as one girl with special needs. Back home, Ms. Lopushanska worked in a kindergarten in which special-needs pupils were integrated with other children, and she says she is very glad to be able to continue working with them.

Public kindergartens operated by the local government offer a free stay for up to 5 hours. Any further time will require payment. Parents also need to pay for their children’s meals. The cost of meals in kindergartens is only slightly higher than in Ukraine. In some cases, a kindergarten’s parent board may decide to subsidise meals for Ukrainian children. Private kindergartens need to be paid for and may have different rules for admission, so in their case, it is necessary to make inquiries as to the admission procedures and tuition fees.

Alina Bondarenko came to Poland from Kyiv with her four-year-old son. She decided to enroll him in a kindergarten because she believes it is very important for a child to spend time with their peers.

TVP World interviewed Monika Dubec, who works for the Wrocław city hall. Ms Dubec offered some practical advice on how to enroll a child into a kindergarten.

The ability to enroll a child into a kindergarten group is dependent upon there being any free places. Parents can either make inquiries with the kindergarten or contact the local education department (kuratorium oświaty) by phone or email, which will provide information as to kindergartens that have available spots.

Places in groups may often be scarce, so as a temporary measure the size of groups has been increased from 25 to 28. While a possibility exists to enroll children into Ukrainian-only groups, in most cases, children from Ukraine are usually enrolled into existing groups with Polish children. Classes in kindergartens are conducted in Polish, but to facilitate communication, some kindergartens employ teachers who know Russian and/or Ukrainian.

More information can be obtained by phone or email:

+48 22 347 47 08

[email protected]

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