22 May 2022

WATCH: Education Minister visits Ukrainian schoolchildren in Limerick

THE EDUCATION Minister was in Limerick today to welcome Ukrainian students as they begin their educational journey at two local primary schools.

Minister Norma Foley visited Rathkeale today, where she greeted two young Ukrainian girls, Mylana and Alise to St Anne’s Primary school and two brothers, Yuri and Levgen to Scoil Naomh Iosef.

Speaking exclusively to the Limerick Leader, Minister Foley said that it was superb to see the way school communities are both welcoming and supporting the arrival of young Ukrainian refugees.

“Most importantly as we have seen today, is the welcoming from the students themselves,” she said, acknowledging the good will of teachers, staff, SNA’s and the Board of Management.

Students demonstrated the ways in which they are welcoming their new classmates, such as designing Ukrainian flags made from paper and wearing Ukrainian coloured paper necklaces.

With regards to the curriculum, the Minister said that there are currently seven Ukrainian students studying for their equivalent of the Irish Leaving Certificate, since arriving in the country.

She added that the students are being embraced in all the different aspects of school life here in Ireland, in terms of the subjects they choose as well as sport, music and arts and crafts too.

Principal Hilary Pratt, at Scoil Naomh Iosef in Rathkeale told the Limerick Leader that students have been providing a very warm welcome for the two brothers Yuri and Levgen, who are living locally.

“Our aim is to make the boys feel safe and welcome,” she said, adding that the biggest challenge so far, has been the language barrier.

Both the boys, who are enrolled in 2nd and 5th class, are attending special English classes twice a day, which has been set up for them within the school.

She stated that the other children have made their new classmates super welcome, despite having only a weekends notice that they would be starting.

“They are all enjoying playing sport out in the yard together. Sport is the international language, they are enjoying playing soccer together.

“Our fifth-class boy picked up his first hurley on Tuesday, he is loving it,” she concluded.

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