P.E.I. schools trying to provide 'normal' routine for Ukrainian students

·2 min read
School officials say students on P.E.I. have been welcoming to their new Ukrainian classmates. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)
School officials say students on P.E.I. have been welcoming to their new Ukrainian classmates. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)

About a dozen students from Ukraine are settling into Island schools after fleeing the war in their home country.

Janet Perry-Payne, the Department of Education's administrator of English as an Additional Language (EAL) and French as an Additional Language (FAL) programs and services, said the students are attending schools in the East Royalty area of Charlottetown, Cornwall, Summerside and O'Leary. More will be placed in the coming days.

She said it can be a difficult time of year for students to start at a new school, but it is important for them to get into a routine and connect with new friends right away.

"We have to recognize, of course, that the students have left under very difficult circumstances, their home country of Ukraine. So there are lots of very raw feelings. We're monitoring very closely to make sure that, you know, we're able to support the students the best way that we can with those emotions."

Island students are aware of the situation in Ukraine and have been very welcoming, Perry-Payne said.

Education officials are also doing everything they can to give them the supports they need.

'Safe place'

"Teachers are working with those children and students every day, so it's a safe place to kind of show how you're feeling,"  Perry-Payne said.

"And if we're seeing outward signs of trauma or strong emotion, that we make sure that we're connecting with the counselling support that's at the school."

For students who have difficulty speaking English, Perry-Payne said schools provide outlets such as games, music and other activities for them to express themselves.

"Education is one of those foundational things that I think all families around the world want and need for their children. It provides structure. It provides that feeling that, you know, we're living at a time where things can be, quote unquote, normal."

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