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How Maple Bear Kyiv Weathered the Storm

Posted in Global Family on Tuesday, September 27th, 2022

When doors first opened at Maple Bear Kyiv a year ago, no one on the team could have imagined that teaching resilience to the 20 young learners between Kindergarten age and grade 2, would be driven not only by the need to develop confidence in the face of day to day adversity but to help combat the fear and terror of a war zone. 

Nearly 8 months since the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine the new Maple Bear team in Kyiv has had to rise to the occasion and model optimism, confidence and of course, bravery, as they stay committed to the mission of delivering high-quality education in a safe, secure and nurturing environment.

Photo Credit: Maple Bear CEE

The school and the team have demonstrated their ability to act as reliable partners to parents during this unprecedented time.  An exceptional example of modelling resilience, the teachers continued to engage the students in learning and care throughout these highly abnormal circumstances. 

Being a part of the Maple Bear network made us feel supported during this challenging time. The reopening experience is a successful business case for the strategic advantage of being a part of an internationally established education franchise. We hope that our students and teachers will feel safe and happy being back.

Adam Wojacki, Co-Owner, Maple Bear Kyiv, Osokorky

Adam went on to add that registration for the next school year is also underway and that he and his team are looking forward to welcoming new parents and to providing the best of the Canadian education to their children in every mode possible – whether in class, online or via hybrid learning.

Shelter in the basement became essential to survival in the early days

During the earliest days of the invasion, the basement of the school building was reinforced and renovated to serve as a building bomb shelter and effectively be a rare place of safety for the students, families, and teachers for several weeks.  Every corner of the school basement was transformed into a safe space, with the children being provided opportunities to play and engage with the teachers they trust and the friends they share milestones with.

While the team in Kyiv soldiered on, so to speak, the Maple Bear network across the world rallied together in support through a global fundraising initiative launched by Maple Bear Global Schools, raising awareness of the circumstances faced by Ukrainians as well as raising funds for the affected families and staff at the Maple Bear school in Kyiv. 

Photo Credit: Maple Bear CEE

Upon the return of some semblance of calm, the school continued its efforts and stayed true to its mission to provide the best of Canadian education to its students, by pivoting to the Maple Bear at Home Program. Originally developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the distance learning resources and strategies that Maple Bear schools worldwide implemented at the height of the global pandemic were dusted off, the only difference being this time the threat was much more visceral.

School reopens with safety checks certified

The school announced the full resumption of in-class teaching in June 2022 and the joy was palpable in the faces of teachers, students, and parents alike. The school had been working on a return to normalcy since May, through classes and summer programs. The school’s basement shelter space continues to be in place and meets all renewed school safety regulations considering the war and procedures are implemented in case of future air raids and emergencies.  

Maple Bear Kyiv is one of the few schools which have reopened in Kyiv after having passed successfully secured bomb shelter certification from the authorities.

Photo Credit: Maple Bear CEE

The Maple Bear families are being supported by psychologists, helping both children and parents deal with war fears and stress. Handle adaptation and separation and academic support to catch up with the educational gaps. In addition, the Maple Bear Kyiv team is holding regular Open School days events for families, in which psychological, and academic support is provided, as well as games, and sports activities.

With the new school year at Maple Bear Kyiv, the beautiful building is brimming daily with more than 50 happy children and their parents. Although enrolment is still ongoing for the children at kindergarten age, the students from grades 1, 2 and 3 are fully back in the classroom.

As the adage goes, through adversity comes strength, and Maple Bear Kyiv truly persevered in what was, for all intents and purposes, a horrific situation, drawing no doubt on the skills for resilience that are taught and nurtured amongst Maple Bear students and teachers alike, and staying true as well to a future-focused approach that is at the core of the Maple Bear way. 

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