Goodwill cannot necessarily overcome institutional limitations, however. The previous caps on preschool class sizes, for instance, were intended to ensure that children had adequate supervision. Expanding them further could jeopardize children’s education, and perhaps even their safety.
And the spots created for Ukrainian children are already filling up. More than half of the new spaces at Zielony Dinek are already taken, Swiezak said. New families arrive in town every day.
And if the government expands support for Ukrainian mothers without making similar efforts to meet Polish women’s needs, there is a risk of political backlash.
Taped to the school’s front doors, for instance, were pages and pages of waiting lists: Polish families who had applied unsuccessfully for places at the school. Many will get spots for their children in other schools, less desirable or convenient than Zielony Dinek, but still something. But others may be left scrambling for solutions.
Parents across the country are in similar positions. “Many of those people who did not have their child accepted to the kindergarten will probably now be raising the question: How come the other children are getting the new places?” Magda said.
Over time, she worries, that could lead to resentment.
“Some people will have understanding for the fact that these people have suffered so much, and want to help them get safe footing in the Polish territory,” she said. “But others will not care as much.”
“The last thing we need is a conflict here. This is what Putin wants the most,” Magda said. “So we have to do everything to really try to avoid that.”