How kindergartens in Kyiv work under martial law

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Is it possible to enroll a child in a Kyiv kindergarten under martial law?
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Picture of Valery Saurska and Yana Huk from the exhibition of children's drawings about war and evacuation at the Kyiv railway station in the summer of 2022

Although the Russian Federation unleashed full-scale war, kindergartens operate in Ukraine. In September, the inclusion of children was simplified. But the number of places is limited because not all have bomb shelters. For internally displaced persons, the state provides benefits.

  • We returned from Prague and were waiting for enrollment in kindergarten
  • Denied kindergarten - moved to another locality
  • What the Kyiv authorities say about the work of kindergartens
  • There are kindergartens in Kyiv that are paid for by IDPs
  • Nanny and governess. Alternative childcare options
  • How children with special needs can be helped in Kyiv

Do they work for IDPs, what requirements remain mandatory for enrolling a child in a kindergarten, and how many preschool educational institutions have earned in September and early October in Kyiv? Socportal will tell.

We returned from Prague and were waiting for enrollment in kindergarten

The fact that in the summer, it was impossible to arrange a child in a public kindergarten in Kyiv, said a university teacher, Olga Demidko. She and her 3-year-old son left occupied Mariupol in the spring. Until June, she was in the capital of the Czech Republic. In the summer, the family returned to Ukraine and settled in Kyiv. The woman tried to arrange a child in a public kindergarten, but they were initially refused.

When I arrived from Prague to Kyiv, I confirmed the IDP benefits. I immediately decided to look for a state kindergarten, but they told me they do not work until September. I left an application on the portals of preschool education in Kyiv. You can create an application online, which is accepted and processed in the kindergarten. We planned to go to the garden next to the house where we rented an apartment. We agreed in advance; we were told: "Here, you will be with us." But then they warned that there could be changes. They said that they do not have a shelter, so they may not open, - Olga said.

After the stress, Olga's son stopped talking. Since the boy needed to work with specialists and communicate in a team, his mother gave him summer at a private kindergarten in the Obolonsky district of Kyiv.

First, when we arrived in Kyiv, I read in the messages that public kindergartens are free for IDPs, while private ones give a 50% discount. This is not true - and in state funds, you need to pay two funds, there are additional fees, and in private ones, you pay the total amount. I needed to work. I gave the baby for a while to a private kindergarten. In June, there were discounts - in the spring, the payment was 12 thousand, and in the summer, they made 7. When I asked if it was possible to get some benefits, they said: “Well, they don’t work like that here either. If you want benefits somewhere, then go to the state.” With food per month, it turned out to be up to 10 thousand. I ordered breakfast and lunch separately. Although the son had breakfast at home, he came, saw what the children were eating there - and sat down too. Picked him up at 3 pm. We were the only settlers there - yes, all the people of Kyiv, - Olga said.

Indicates that when she was looking for a private kindergarten for a child, there were few places to hide. The little garden they chose is in the new house - the shelter was in the same building.

There are many private gardens in the Obolensky district, and it was in this house that there was a shelter. There were 16 children in the group. Indoors - a separate dining room, four bedrooms, six games rooms, and two sports rooms. There was also a large room where the teacher conducted lessons. Everything is well equipped; large screens hang - children are interested. Who has funds for private gardens - very convenient. We held many educational events dedicated to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Ukrainian holidays. When we returned from Prague, it was difficult for my son because there was the Czech language, and in Mariupol, they spoke Russian. In Kyiv, he got used to Ukrainian songs and dances. There are good teachers and specialists, but there was no speech therapist. We were told that all defectologists had gone abroad. My son liked it, but for me, it was not cheap. When they asked if we would continue for September, she said that, unfortunately, I wouldn’t pull it, - Olga said.

In Kyiv, the procedure for getting into the state garden was resumed in August. However, there were problems with enrollment.

I was told I should bring parents' work certificates in August. Since Mariupol State University moved to Kyiv, I took the document from the personnel department. The son's father was divorced on the eve of the war. He went to Germany and works in a Slovak company. She asked for a certificate too. But we were told she would not fit in because the ex-husband does not work in Ukraine. Since there are few places in the shelter, my child will not be a priority. She noted that we have an IDP benefit, and I work. I heard that "let the father come back and sit with the child." Subsequently, the requirement to provide certificates from both parents was canceled. However, it turned out that this garden never opened - they did not prepare a shelter, - Olga said.

After the conditions for enrolling in kindergartens were simplified, the woman began to look for an institution where her son would be helped to overcome the consequences of psychological trauma.

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We are three years and five months old. The child went through a lot of stress - we were leaving under shelling - then the son was silent for a week. We went with him to an inclusive center - they concluded that we needed to visit a kindergarten with a speech therapist and defectologist. I said that they do not accept a certificate from my father. Then the center noted that there were many complaints from parents about these certificates, and now they have been canceled at the ministry, Olga said.

She says that a prerequisite for enrolling a child is the presence of vaccinations.

Fortunately for me, the parents, who arrived later, could take out a hospital notebook from Mariupol, where all their son's vaccinations were indicated. With this notebook, I came to the doctor and made a declaration. The Kyiv system does not see those that we signed in Mariupol. We needed to do more polio - droplets. Then we were given a vaccination card, a certificate that the son was healthy, and the conclusion of the IRC that the child needed to work with a speech therapist. They took me to a kindergarten a little further from our house, but it has a speech therapist and defectologist. They took it without any additional information. They said: “Yes, yes, no certificates, you are a preferential category.” It was stated that children of IDPs and children are accepted if work with specialists is required. My son spoke whole sentences at 2.5 and then fell silent, so we preferred and counted out of turn. The first week was adaptation - the child was in kindergarten until 12.45. There is a speech therapist here, a good attitude, everything suits. Classes with a speech therapist and defectologist for IDPs and according to the conclusion of the IRC are free, Olga said.

According to her, only those kindergartens where there is shelter are working.

We have 50 children. By a happy coincidence, we were the 50th child. There are eight children in the group, but those children who do not go now are registered and are not in Kyiv. There is a good shelter in the garden - not some terrible basement, but there are toys, sofas, and everything is arranged for children. Son likes it. Two weeks later, I got used to it - I hear the alarm and collect things - that's how they taught me in kindergarten. We made our choice and decided to stay in Ukraine - the child should get used to it, and the siren should not be stressful for him. The son must continue to develop - there is no way without this; this is life, Olga notes.

She says that now they are the only settlers in the kindergarten. Most acquaintances could not get a place in the kindergarten because they did not understand the procedure.

People are afraid of everything. Many of my friends didn't even try. You need to run around - we ran around the hospitals, the IRC, came to the kindergarten itself, rewrote applications - you need to spend time on this. This is two weeks of work, and you need to dangle. I want to advise the migrants that in no case should they fold their hands, listen to someone say, “that’s all, we won’t accept you,” – but knock on all doors and look for alternative options. Because there is now a war, but children should not stop developing, Olga emphasized.

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Denied kindergarten - moved to another locality

Photographer Tina Valen from Kyiv is the mother of 3 children. With the outbreak of war, Tina's husband went abroad with his eldest daughter. The woman was left alone with her 4-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. She says that at first, she was with the children at home, but it became necessary to work.

The older children went to the Yablonka garden in Vyshneve. The youngest daughter Marichka was supposed to go in March 2022; an invitation came when she was three years old. But on February 24, a full-scale war began - kindergartens did not work. When Yablonka reopened, they refused us; they demanded a certificate that both parents work in critical infrastructure. My children did not fall under this criterion, said Tina.

According to her, the family has a small house in the village of Mikhailovka near Kyiv, which was previously used as a dacha. However, in the spring, Tina moved there with her two children. And in this rural society, the family agreed on places in the kindergarten.

The opportunity to send children to kindergarten is super essential for me. I am now a single mother trying to work. When we ultimately moved to Mikhailovka, she turned to a kindergarten in a neighboring village - Ivanovka. There is a kindergarten school, a whole complex; a bus carries children from our town. We settled down relatively calmly because there were places. There are benefits in a large family, where all the children are adopted as IDPs, but if there were no places, this would not help. Here they recruited two groups; both took 14 children, says Tina.

At first, they did not want to accept the youngest daughter in kindergarten.

They didn’t want to take their daughter right away - she is 3.5 years old - they said she was small. Now the kids go down to the bomb shelter when there is an air raid, and they are afraid that she is not ready. But after I talked with the institution director, she saw that my little daughter is entirely independent; she will still nurse her eldest son - he is four years and ten months old. Now both go to the shelter - alarms almost every day, says Tina.

According to her, the apartment where they lived before the war is now rented out. And living in a village is much cheaper than in Kyiv.

What the Kyiv authorities say about the work of kindergartens

As of October 4, 2022, 350 communal preschool education institutions (65% of the total number of those before the full-scale war - 542) were launched in the capital, which accounts for more than 30 thousand pupils.

This was reported in response to an official request from the Department of Education and Science of the city of KSCA. They also emphasized that the district departments of education facilitate the admission of children from internally displaced persons to preschool education institutions. However, kindergartens are gradually opening up to the public.

The restoration of the work of preschool education institutions in Kyiv is carried out gradually, provided that the shelter is available and adequately equipped and considers its capacity (both children and employees should be provided with places at the top). In some cases, the number of places in the shelters of functioning institutions of preschool education is less than the capacity of the kindergarten. Such kindergartens can only accommodate as many children as can be provided with places in shelters. However, parents may choose other preschools in the area that have vacancies. Information on the location of placsitesthe preschool education institutions in the district can be obtained from the department of the district state administrations in the city of Kyiv, the Department reported.

The most excellent attention is paid to groups of senior preschool age.

Please note that the Law of Ukraine, "On Preschool Education," states preschool education is mandatory for children of old preschool age. Therefore, the work of groups for children of 5-6 years of age is a priority, they said in response to the appeal.

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The Kyiv City State Administration confirms that in September 2022, the requirement for both parents to provide certificates of employment was canceled.

On September 1, 2022, by the Council of Defense of Kyiv, the norm for enrolling children in communal preschool education institutions was canceled if both parents had a work certificate. Enrollment in preschool education institutions takes place by the requirements of the Regulations on the institution of preschool education at the parent's request, providing a copy of the child's birth certificate and a medical certificate on the child's health. These documents are provided to the institution of preschool education after the parents of the child receive an invitation from the system of electronic registration of children in the communal institutions of preschool education "SEZ ZDO," the Department reported.

There are kindergartens in Kyiv that are paid for by IDPs

The Department of Education of the Kyiv City State Administration reported that children whose parents are not registered in Kyiv and do not belong to select categories must pay a monthly fee for attending a kindergarten.

For the implementation of clause 3.7. the decision of the Kyiv City Council dated September 13, 2018, 1369/5433, "On approval of the Procedure for the implementation of expenses for preschool education in the city of Kyiv based on the basic financial standard of budgetary security" in communal institutions of preschool education, a monthly fee was established for the provision of educational services to children who have not registered the city of Kyiv (except for children of internally displaced persons and children of ATO participants) in the amount of the basic financial standard for budgetary security, which is annually approved by the decision of the Kyiv City Council on the budget, the department reported.

Therefore, there are benefits to IDP. Otherwise, in 2022, the payment for the kindergartens is UAH 4,548.

Additional paid services in the gardens of Kyiv are provided with the parent's consent.

Additional educational services not defined by the Basic Component of Preschool Education are introduced in communal preschool education institutions only at the request of the child's parents, at the expense of the parents, based on an agreement between the parents and the preschool education institution within the maximum allowable load on a child of a specific age category. The Department reported that the cost of additional educational services is calculated by the central accounting department of the education department and other the number of different services chosen by parents.

They recalled that in the premises of communal institutions of preschool education, individual entrepreneurs, limited liability companies, and private institutions licensed in education could provide services for preschool children. Parents of children enter into agreements on receiving educational services.

Nanny and governess. Alternative childcare options

Parents whose children do not attend either public or private kindergartens could instead use the services of nannies and governesses. Specialists are with children for several hours to the whole day. However, during the full-scale war, the demand for governesses' work decreased somewhat. Kyiv remains the leader in order.

This was told to Social Portal by the head of the Umbrella service, Marina Slobodyanyuk.

We provide services throughout Ukraine. The most significant request remains in Kyiv. In Lviv, as in other cities of Western Ukraine, people take care of children on their own or unite - and mothers take turns looking after the children. There is no big request from the western region for nannies. Before the war, about 150 specialists worked in our service; now, there are somewhat fewer. The nanny provides the mother with support in the child's development and supervision on an ongoing basis and organizes the regimen. If she works in a family from 9 to 18, she manages breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and organizes leisure activities, and her mother prescribes a plan for a week, a month, or six months. We also provide the services of a psychologist, speech therapist, tutor - specialists in working with exceptional children, - said Marina.

With the outbreak of a full-scale war, the specifics of working with children changed. The requirements of parents ordering such services have also changed. Yes, children take children for a walk closer to shelters.

Previously, they went to the mall and cinemas at their parent's request. "Given the developing situation, walks are closer to home or a bomb shelter - so the child can return home with the nanny or the mother knows where they are. We mainly contacted families where mothers went abroad with one child, and the father stayed with another. Now they remove less support for teenagers - the war limited the ability of parents to pay for assistance, and assistance for preschoolers is more popular. The main requirement for specialists is knowledge of the Ukrainian language, not surzhyk when mixed families require knowledge of foreign languages. In Kyiv, this is mainly English or French. It is also essential for parents that teachers have first aid skills in case the child chokes or gets injured and an up-to-date medical book that needs to be updated every six months, Marina said.

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According to her, the services of a psychologist are more popular.

Now the demand for the help of a psychologist has increased - we note a regression in children. There is a so-called rollback in children 10-11 years old; they begin to play with children's toys. This indicates that the child's psyche must take care of itself to maintain balance. Children are going through the war - even if the child is not visible from the outside, she copes - you can understand from the primary markers that something worries her very much, - Marina emphasized.

She says that for the normal mental state of young children, it is essential to observe the correct regimen.

The regime is mandatory for preschoolers - children 4-5 years old. Depending on age, the child should sleep at least 9-10 hours. For meals, hours should be set - depending on what time the child wakes up. It should be breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. Depending on the child's age, there should be developmental activities and a lot of physical activity. The child should spend at least an hour and a half a day on the street. Preparing for school and developing activities is best to start at about five years old, depending on how ready the child is for school. The excitement with early development schools has decreased, so the child has time for childhood, said the specialist.

How children with special needs can be helped in Kyiv

Rehabilitation centers operating in Kyiv can be useful for children with disabilities who do not attend kindergartens. Children and young people can stay there from several hours to half a day and receive qualified help from specialists. One of the largest centers operating according to modern programs operates in the Obolon district of Kyiv. In the "Center for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Children and Youth with Disabilities", classes, meetings with a psychologist, corrective exercises, massage sessions, and rehabilitation are conducted according to the recommendations of doctors. All services in the center are provided free of charge. The center operates a group for the youngest - children from 3 years old are accepted.

You can register and receive free services by submitting the following documents:

1) Passport of one of the parents or legal representatives of the child/adult (if an ID card, then + a statement about the place of registration)
2) Identification code
3) Birth certificate (if the child is 14 years old + ID card)
4) Certificate of disability
5) Individual rehabilitation program (currently valid)
6) Conclusion of LKK/MSEK
7) Additional examinations as needed (if any)
8) Certificate of IDP (if you are an internally displaced person).

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