Ukrainian refugee children studying at the Weingarten Turmberg School

German language lessons

There are currently 160 people from Ukraine living in Weingarten, of whom 43 are children. Preparatory classes have now been created at the Turmberg School for school-aged children, where they learn German.

Children from Ukraine were welcomed to the Turmberg School with dancing, singing and a happy school entrance party.

Pictured: Saskia Kirschberg

Now about 230 people from Ukraine have arrived in Weingarten and their school-age children are educated at the Turmberg School. University President Karen Siebold and students and faculty warmly welcomed the newcomers with a colorful balloon festival, singing and dancing.

At first, each child got a basic set of learning materials from the local stationery store. There were also drinking bottles and lunch boxes. Then the daily life began.

“We were able to make two preparatory classes,” says Rector Siebold, and Vice Rector Birgit König adds, “The focus is on learning German.” However, as a second language only, because parents definitely want to come back one day to go home and then their mother tongue should not be lost with their children. This is ensured by Ukrainian teachers who accompany young children in class and translate when necessary.

Ingrid Merkel, chair of the Education Working Group of the Weingartner Circle of Friends in Ukraine, explains that Baden-Württemberg will hire additional teachers to accommodate the increase. For every 1,000 students who learn German, 60 teachers are needed. However, these may also be students or graduates whose degrees are not recognized at Baden-Württemberg.

In consultation with the circle of friends, she purchased materials for lessons in Weingarten from several publishers. The community has created a donation account for this. From the rest of the digital agreement, the school can still provide Ukrainian students with iPads.

Ingrid Merkel says the teaching style in primary school is very different now in Germany than in Ukraine. There are lessons such as lecture and teacher-centered, which in Germany, on the other hand, are more action-oriented. As a brief example, she dismantled the “Do not get angry” stadium. Here children learn to count and do arithmetic through play, which is unusual for their peers in Eastern Europe.

Children and parents take the show at Weingarten well

She mentions Merkel from the chat log, but hears only positive vibes. Children and parents are happy to be here. “Children are like our children,” Siebold says. “They don’t look shocked, but rather like a group at a school camp.” The manager is full of praise for her cleanliness and discipline, which was already confirmed by the head of the head office, Oliver Russell.

But it does not work without restrictions. The two brigades openly admit: “It was not easy to clear a space like this.” The rooms in the after-school care center had to be used. In addition, the school will increasingly try to interest Ukrainian children in subjects that are not related to the language, such as sports and music, so that social integration can also be successful. The three teachers sum up: “Organizational and pedagogical issues must be intertwined and require a great deal of agreement.”

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