From May 17, grants for organizing children's education camps can be applied for from the Ministry of Education and Research. In total, the state is allocating €6 million for the purpose.
According to the ministry's announcement, the goal of the camps is to encourage children's motivation for studying and in the interests of their mental health, particularly in the light of remote learning installed much of the time since the coronavirus pandemic began.
The camps funded by the state budget are intended for first to second-grade students and vocation school students. The funding can be applied for by managers of schools and hobby schools, universities and youth work providers.
The camp's activities need to be planned in cooperation with the education and youth area. The camps last for three to five days, and the grant for one participant comes to €120; the camp needs to be free for the participants themselves. The grant can be used until the end of the year.
The organizers need to find those students in need of the camps
Ivika Suigusaar, head of the private hobby school Mängukool, is hoping to receive the grant.
"We added Estonian lesson on the first day of the camp, we get to know each other, interview others and form the camp's project, which is our book. On every page, there is a little bit written about each child who has come to the camp. What are his interests, expectations, worries," Suigusaar explained.
Suigusaar wants to increase children's interest in biology and English. Suigusaar says she wishes to include students who have suffered from distance learning the most.
"I think the biggest helpers are school teachers, class teachers who know the state in their class the best. It is right to announce the camp right now, then probably, the first ones will get a place."
The University of Tartu science school has started planning the camp as well. The chief specialist of the science school, Jaanus Sepp, said that even though they have organized science camps before, this time, the emphasis is on communication.
"What I recall from previous camps is philosophizing with the children. Self-management, self-analysis, developing their skills. To look inside yourself and find the answers, which are helpful for the coming life. These experiences are very beneficial. We are planning to do it this year as well."
Sepp added that when mostly, students good at science subjects are more interested in science school, courageous children may still have suffered due to the distance learning.
Chairwoman of the Estonian School Student Councils' Union's board, Kristin Pintson, said that the camps shouldn't be consultation lessons for the students.
"This is not what the students are expecting. In fact, the studying side of schools should be supported, but maybe even more, the mental health side for the students to form social contacts."
Editor: Roberta Vaino