Tallinn schools preparing activities for Ukrainian students

Tallinn Sydalinna School.
Tallinn Sydalinna School. Source: Rene Suurkaev / ERR

Principal Veiko Rohunurme of the Tallinn Sydalinna School said that the establishment is initially prepared to receive 20 Ukrainian refugees who could spend a few hours with Estonian students of the same age, followed by language classes and hobby activities.

"Above all, we will need to have a program by Monday on what we can do with those children, how many we can receive. We also need to determine which teachers are prepared to help," Rohunurm said.

The school is planning to initially receive a group of 20 students of different ages. "We will create more groups if more will come. We do not yet know the age or mental state of the kids we will be teaching. We are trying to have a framework, while the actual situation will become clear once the children arrive," he said.

Rohunurme said that the main thing is to find daily activities for the kids. "To give them a place they can come. Where they can study, learn Estonian, while we did not say much about other subjects at this time, "Rohunurme said of the results of a meeting with the Tallinn Education Department and the Ministry of Education and Research.

"We want to give the kids breakfast, porridge, when they come in in the morning and then have them spend two hours with their class, with Estonian students their age, in hopes that they might stay with us for longer," Rohunurm said.

The principal said that students who do not speak Estonian have joined classes before and can participate in studies to some extent. "For example, you don't need to speak much of the language in mathematics class," he suggested. However, it will gain them a feel for the language and paint a picture of the Estonian school system."

Next, the Ukrainian students would go to day-care school where they can engage in hobby activities. "I think concentrating solely on studying would be too much for them. Considering where they have come from, the situation there, the education department's first goal was to find activities to last throughout the day, which we are prepared to offer until 5 p.m.," Rohunurm said.

The principal added that the school will probably be able to rely on its existing teaching staff and not have to hire more people at first. "We are all motivated and willing to help these kids," he said.

The Sydalinna School also wants to offer introductory Estonian classes to parents of Ukrainian students.

"Once the children arrive, it is not certain they will stay with us for longer," Rohunurm said. "But we are ready to welcome and support them every way we can," he said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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