Everyone remembers their first day at school. Most of us were anxious, excited, and waiting for new adventures. School is something we all remember and associate with differently. But we can all agree on one thing—none of us wanted to be an outsider.
And yet, instead of an outsider, a Ukrainian boy is met by Spanish school children as one of their own. After the boy escaped a war-ridden Ukraine with his mom, his first steps back to a more regular life are met with love and hugs, warming the hearts of everyone who sees the exchange.
Keep reading to get into details.
Ukrainian refugee’s first day of school in Spain goes better than expected
A video posted on TikTok by the boy’s uncle, which, at the point of writing, has reached over 43K views, shows a teacher introducing a new boy to class. The young child had just arrived from Ukraine as a refugee after fleeing the now month-long war and was joining the CEIP Peru school in the Spanish capital Madrid.
There is a second of hesitance, the kids observing the new boy, one girl leaning in over the desk to get closer. But then, a flood of wholesomeness erupts.
The little boy is surrounded by new classmates all rushing in to give him hugs and love
“The kids gather around the newcomer, rushing towards him to shower the boy with hugs and love. The boy, apparently stunned in place, was surprised and unsure how to react.
But regardless of the boy’s calm demeanor, the other kids do not stop their hugs. The exchange is pulling at everyone’s heartstrings as a show of happiness, acceptance, and the pure love children can give.”
The boy, first stunned, then breaks into a huge grin as the hugs keep coming
“The boy eventually breaks into a broad smile as the boys and girls continue to surround and hug him. One little boy is especially hilarious, donning a blue jacket, he goes in for a tight hug. But it doesn’t seem to be enough as the little lad returns for seconds, hugging the boy even tighter.
Other adults, who appear to be the kids’ parents, can be seen standing around, observing the exchange, whilst the teacher affectionately caresses the boy’s head.
If anything says ‘you are welcome, you are safe here, then it’s this. Put these images into a dictionary for the meaning of wholesomeness, please and thank you.”
A little boy even rushes in to give him a second hug, because of course, one is never enough
The relief and smile on the boy’s face is truly one to behold, as it is never easy to start anew but it’s always better with friends
The boy and his uncle came back for an update: the boy’s lack of Spanish is not stopping him from playing with the kids at school
“The boy came back with his uncle to speak more about the school experience, the boy smiling throughout.
The child reportedly arrived in Spain along with his mother and three-month-old sister to join relatives already living there. The boy’s father couldn’t join them as he had to remain in Ukraine to fight the Russian forces under the country’s martial law rules.
Although the boy knows little Spanish, he is already playing with his new classmates and having the best time-making friends.”
Traumatic experiences can have a lasting effect on children, causing various emotional and physical issues
“I do believe that it is important to consider the effect war and other potentially traumatic events have on a child’s psyche and the importance of community and school to help bring back a sense of comfort and safety.
As adults, we find it difficult to fathom war in its entirety, yet we are more familiar with dealing with emotional turbulence and negative thoughts, even grief. How is a child supposed to react to the fact that they might not be returning home for months on end, and that they might never see their father again?”
But all these questions aside, let’s dive into the foundations of psychological health. According to The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), “a traumatic event is a frightening, dangerous, or violent event that poses a threat to a child’s life or bodily integrity.”
Each child may interpret the experiences differently, however, being aware of them is the first step to being able to offer help
“Witnessing something that threatens the life or safety of a loved one can also be traumatic. This is particularly important for young children as their own sense of safety depends on the perceived safety of their guardians.
Traumatic experiences are likely to cause strong emotional and even physical reactions that can last long after the initial event, and even the reactions themselves might cause substantial suffering and unease. For example, troubles focusing or sleeping are fairly common side effects of trauma, yet they may lead to headaches, discomfort, and potential feelings of shame and dissociation.
However, it is important to note that each child might interpret their experiences differently, leading them to, perhaps, not be as traumatic.”
Schools can play a positive role in providing the necessary support and a sense of community during turbulent times
“What needs to be addressed is a simplified means of helping children who could’ve objectively been exposed to a traumatic situation, regardless of their interpretation of it. According to Very Well Mind, social support can be key to reducing the impact trauma has on a child, even as far as reducing their risk of suicidal thoughts.”
They continue to detail multiple ways of showing support: “encourage them to talk about their feelings, validate their emotions, reassure them that they’ll be safe, and stick to a routine as much as possible.”
According to Dr. Jennifer Wojciechowski, “a clinical child psychologist at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, everyone needs social interaction to stay mentally strong, but for young children, in particular, learning how to connect with others is a vital skill for their development.”
We wish the boy all the best in his future endeavors and hope that this start of stability is one to last
“We can only hope that this boy and millions of others who’ve fled Ukraine are given as warm a welcome as this so that they can start to rebuild their lives anew with their families.
According to the UNHRC, at the time of writing this article, 3.6 million people have escaped their home country in search of safety. Here are some resources to help Ukraine and its people. Otherwise, I’d love to know what you thought of this article. What was your school experience like? Do you like more research-based articles?”
And, as promised to a very beloved reader, a sombrero raccoon has found its way into this article, so make sure you comment below and suggest other fun animals show your support! Otherwise, I wish you a safe and happy day!
Many have come forth to express their love for the boy and the classmates; can’t wait to see what you thought of the story as well