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Hello, Estonia! Training handbook for the children and young people module of the welcoming program for children ages 13-15 Welcoming Programme


Contracting company: Expat Relocation Estonia OÜ Contributors: Airi Kukk, Kirsti Lepp, Elyna Nevski, Katrin Sõstar ja Tiia Õun

Design: Factory Advertising OÜ Layout : Flip OÜ, www.flip.ee Printing: Librixprint OÜ, www.omaraamat.ee Responsible publisher: Siseministeerium, Pikk 61, 15065 Tallinn Cover photo: “Hüpe rabas”, author Cristi Sikora, Brand Estonia fotopank Welcoming programme website: www.settleinestonia.ee

Euroopa Liit Euroopa Sotsiaalfond

Eesti tuleviku heaks

The project is co-funded by the European Union via the European Social Fund and by the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia © 2018, Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia. All rights reserved. Provided the use of the work is not carried out for commercial purposes, it is allowed to use it without the author’s permission as established in Chapter IV of the Copyright Act. The Ministry of the Interior points to the fact that pursuant to the Copyright Act, in the case of unlawful use of the work, compensation for the patrimonial or non-patrimonial damage caused and delivery of that which was received may among other things be claimed for.

WELCOME TO ESTONIA! This handbook will give you information

»»About Estonian history, modern times, nature and sightseeings. »»You will also learn about opportunities for hobby activities and »»your rights and obligations as an Estonian resident. Make sure to ask your parents or school teachers more questions about the things that interest you most and remember to look for extra information on the Internet! The handbook gives many recommendations about places to visit in Estonia and sources of more information about the topics that you might find interesting.

Enjoy your reading!


TABLE OF CONTENT ESTONIAN HISTORY AND MODERN DAY.............................5 QUIZ „I KNOW ESTONIA“............................................................11 THE NATIONAL FLAG AND NATIONAL COAT OF ARMS OF ESTONIA....................................................................... 12 NATIONAL SYMBOLS.................................................................. 13 ESTONIAN NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT........................14 ESTONIAN PUBLIC HOLIDAYS................................................. 21 NATIONAL HOLIDAYS..................................................................22 HOLIDAYS..........................................................................................23 LET’S SING TOGETHER!............................................................ 24 ESTONIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM .......................................... 25 LET’S DANCE TOGETHER!........................................................ 26 ESTONIAN FOLK COSTUMES..................................................27 ESTONIAN NATIONAL PATTERNS........................................ 28 ESTONIAN SCHOOL.................................................................... 29 CHILDRENS’ RECREATIONAL AND FREE TIME ACTIVITIES...................................................................................... 30 MY RIGHTS.......................................................................................32 MY OBLIGATIONS........................................................................ 33 RESTRICTIONS ESTABLISHED IN LAW............................... 33 CALLING THE EMERGENCY NUMBER............................... 35

ESTONIAN HISTORY AND MODERN DAY The Republic of Estonia is located in Europe on the coast of the Baltic Sea, and its neighbours are Sweden, Finland, Russia and Latvia. The number of people living in Estonia is 1.3 million, which makes it one of the countries with the smallest population in the European Union. There are 15 counties in Estonia and their names are Harju County, Lääne County, LääneViru County, Jõgeva County, Tartu County, Põlva County, Võru County, Valga County, Viljandi County, Pärnu County, Saare County, Rapla County, Järva County, Ida-Viru County and Hiiu County. In their turn, counties are divided into municipalities: cities and rural municipalities. The biggest cities in Estonia are Tallinn, Tartu, Narva and Pärnu. Tallinn is the capital of Estonia and the location of the Tall Hermann tower where the blue, black and white national flag of the Republic of Estonia is hoisted every morning, accompanied by the theme consisting of the first phrase of the Estonian national anthem. However, it has not always been like that, and here is the story of Estonia.

FROM ANCIENT TIMES TO MIDDLE AGES (9000 B.C. – 12th century) We can say that Estonian prehistory goes as far back as 11,000 years, when ice melted on the territory of the present-day Estonia. This is when small settlements appeared in coastal areas and next to water bodies. People obtained or made everyday necessities themselves. They were hunters and fishermen and made tools from available materials such as bones or stone. The findings that include the remains of these hand-made objects allow us to guess when and in which locations of Estonia the first human settlements appeared. So far, the Pulli settlement, populated 9,000 years ago, where excavations revealed knives and arrowheads made of bone and stone is considered to be the oldest known so far.

DID YOU KNOW THAT... the dog tooth found in the Pulli settlement is the oldest evidence of the existence of domesticated dogs in Estonia.


MIDDLE AGES TO EARLY MODERN PERIOD (13th –18th centuries) In Estonia, the construction of large defence buildings with new settlements emerging nearby started in the 13th–14th centuries. It is believed that strongholds with settlements surrounding them were the beginning of cities, and modern cities are indeed located where numerous strongholds used to be. The ruins and buildings of strongholds dating back to the 13th and 14th century still remain in many places of Estonia, and you can visit them. Merchants’ activity and the trade that brought goods from the Baltic Sea to lands in the east along major rivers of Russia influenced the life of Estonian people a lot. As Estonia was located on trade routes, many countries were interested in conquering it. Estonia has been a part of various countries – Sweden, Poland, Denmark and Russia, – and this is why there have been large numbers of people of other nations in Estonia since then. You can get an idea of what a medieval Estonian town looked like by taking a walk in the Old Town of Tallinn with its street network developed in the 11th – 15th centuries and numerous well-preserved medieval buildings. Old Tallinn is especially valuable mainly because it has retained its medieval atmosphere lost by many other capitals in Northern Europe. This is why the Old Town of Tallinn has also been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997. Apart from Tallinn, the old towns of Tartu, Pärnu and Viljandi have medieval traits. Moreover, all of these were long-term members of the confederation of Baltic trade cities called the Hanseatic League since the 13th century. Today, the Hanseatic Days festival that contains various cultural events and fairs is held in these cities to celebrate that period. The first partially preserved book in Estonian dates back to the 16th century. The oldest alphabet books in Estonian date back to the end of the 17th century, which is also the period of important milestones for the history of education in Estonia: the first upper secondary school, the Gustav Adolf Grammar School was established, which is still open in the Old Town Of Tallinn. In 1632 King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden founded the University of Tartu, which is Image: Villem Lüüs


the largest and oldest University in Estonia and is highly rated internationally today. At the end of the 17th century, Bengt Gottfried Forselius opened the first Estonian teachers` seminary near Tartu, laying the foundation for the spread of Estonian-language education.

DID YOU KNOW THAT... the University of Tartu is also one of the oldest in Northern and Eastern Europe

FROM NATIONAL AWAKENING TO OCCUPATION (18th – 20th centuries) The awareness of Estonians as a nation started rising in the 1860s, when the Estonian national epic “Kalevipoeg” was published. It has also been translated into other languages, for instance, English and Russian. National awakening was the period when numerous societies were established. They united Estonian people and belonging to one was a great honour at the time. The societies specialised in various spheres, for example, education and culture; national song and game associations were also popular. Song and music societies became the leaders of the organisation of the first Estonian Song Festival in 1869. This nation-wide song festival is still held every five years. Song festivals have a special meaning for many Estonians and symbolise freedom and cohesion.

ADVICE! In the Estonian Open Air Museum you can find out what Estonian rural architecture and life looked like in the 18th–20th century. The museum is located at Vabaõhumuuseumi tee 12, Tallinn. http://evm.ee/eng/home


On 24 February 1918 the independence of the Republic of Estonia was declared, so the Estonian state is almost 100 years old. The newly established Republic of Estonia fought for its freedom against the Red Army in 1918–1920. Estonians managed to fend off the Soviet Russian troops, and on 2 February 1920 the sides in war signed the Tartu Peace Treaty, which recognised the independent Republic of Estonia. Years 1918–1940 were the first period of Estonian national independence; this was the time when national culture and education developed and the general economic and social welfare advanced. In 1944 Estonia was occupied, and the long period of Soviet occupation started. It ended in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

RESTORATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND MODERN DAY ESTONIA Independent Estonia Estonia regained independence on 20 august 1991 and very soon became a fullfledged member of the global family of states. Estonia managed to reclaim independence peacefully, by singing. The period of 1988–1991 is also known as the Singing Revolution, when the long-awaited independent Republic of Estonia was restored through demonstrations, Estonians’ political activism, national enthusiasm and joint singing. Democratic Estonia Estonia is a parliamentary republic, and the head of state is the President. The representative body of the people of Estonia is the parliament called the Riigikogu; it consists of 101 members and is elected every four years by means of public and free elections. Everyday management of the Estonian state is the task of the Government of the Republic, which makes and implements major decisions concerning life in the country. In Estonia, the supreme power belongs to its citizens, who can take care of and responsibility for the state’s welfare through elections as well as petitions, demonstrations, various associations and citizens’ initiatives. As a democratic country, Estonia upholds European values like tolerance, solidarity and openness as well as caring, responsibility and confidence. In 2004 Estonia was accepted as a full-fledged member of the European Union and NATO. In 2011 Estonia joined the euro zone and the euro replaced the Estonian kroon as national currency.

Estonian language The official language of Estonia is Estonian. It belongs to the Finno-Ugric group of languages. Speaking of our neighbours, Estonian is most similar to Finnish. 8

Although Estonian is considered to be one of the most complicated languages in the world, learning it is still fun. Try saying these tongue-twisters, for example: JÄÄÄÄR, ÕUEALA, KÕUEÖÖ, PUUÕÕNSUS, TÖÖ-ÖÖ, KUUUURIJA, VEOAUTOJUHT, PAGARI PIPARKOOK.

Multicultural Estonia Besides Estonians, numerous other nationalities have historically been living here, so it is natural that the right of people of other nationalities to remain distinctive and preserve the language and traditions of their language and traditions is respected in Estonia. Estonia has been a part of several countries, and this is why several nationalities live here. The latest population census shows that around 192 nationalities are represented in Estonia. In addition to Estonians, the largest ethnic groups are Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians and Finns. There are a total of 37 nationalities with more than hundred representatives living in Estonia. However, because Estonia is a small, peculiar, open and ambitious European country where it is good to work and live, more and more foreigners have moved to Estonia after it regained independence.

Religion Estonians are one of the most secular nations in the world. According to the latest population census, only 29% of Estonian residents aged 15 and over confess a certain faith. In recent centuries, Lutheranism and, to a lesser extent, Orthodoxy have been the main religions. Beside Christians, Estonian natural religion, Buddhist, Muslim and Judaist organisations can be found here. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, freedom of religion and conscience is the right of each person. There is no state church in Estonia. Innovative Estonians Although Estonia is one of the countries with the smallest population in the European Union, it is known as the state that shows the way in a great variety of spheres, from personal freedoms to information technology. As the residents of a relaDID YOU KNOW tively young state, Estonians value their THAT… rights and freedoms, language, culture and traditions. At the same time, innovaEstonia is the country where Skype tion is more and more appreciated, which was invented. explains why numerous important information technological achievements have been created in Estonia. For instance, Estonia’s broad choice of electronic services is why it is called an “e-state”. Estonia and its people are also very resourceful. For example, in 2013 small Estonia became the 42nd space nation in the world, when the ESTCube satellite made by university students was sent into orbit.

Image: Taavi Torim


ADVICE! Further information about Estonian history and modern day can be found at the following website: http://www.12kusimust.ee/en/questions/does-estonia-have-a-king/

The Histrodamus website also gives interesting information about history. http://www.histrodamus.ee/index.php?lang=eng




You can see exhibitions about the history of Estonia at the Estonian History Museum located at Pikk 17 and Pirita tee 56, Tallinn

The state portal eesti.ee provides an overview of Estonia, information about all spheres of life here and many innovative e-services.



QUIZ „I KNOW ESTONIA“ In which country do you live right now? a) Finland b) Estonia c) Russia What is the official language of Estonia? a)

Estonian language


English language


German language

Which currency is used in Estonia? a) dollar b) pound c) euro Which is the capital of Estonia? a) Tallinn b) Helsinki c) London How many counties are there in Estonia? a) 5 b) 10 c) 15 There are ….. people living in Estonia a)

8 million


5 million


1.3 million

Who is the head of state of Estonia? a)

the King


the President


the Tsar

Which are the colours of the Estonian national flag? a)

blue, black and green


blue, black and white


black, blue and red 11

THE NATIONAL FLAG AND NATIONAL COAT OF ARMS OF ESTONIA The Estonian national symbols are the Estonian national flag and national coat of arms. The flag of Estonia is blue-black-white. The blue colour symbolizes the sky. The black colour symbolizes the soil. The white colour symbolizes Estonians striving for happiness and freedom.

There are three lions and golden oak branches on the coat of arms of Estonia


NATIONAL SYMBOLS Estonians consider several national symbols that unite the nation important. National symbols are used at the celebrations of various national holidays like, for example, the Independence Day, the National Flag Day etc. Compare the symbols of Estonia and the country that you come from.





National flower

National flower

National bird

National bird

National animal/fish

National animal/fish

National tree

National tree


ESTONIAN NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT Estonia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. Half of the Estonian mainland is covered with forests, which makes the country one of the richest in forests in Europe. Estonia has plenty of untouched natural wonders that are worth exploring and are about to disappear in the rest of Europe, for example, primeval forests, bogs, alvars and wooded meadows. Estonian schools and kindergartens also provide versatile outdoor studies, hiking and field trips and pay great attention to the protection of environment. Estonia has four seasons with considerable temperature variations. July is the warmest month, and February is the coldest. Estonian winters can be rather snowy. Day length varies depending on the season; for instance, the longest summer day lasts for 18 hours, and the shortest winter day is only 6 hours. This is why they say there are “white nights” in summer in Estonia. There are mainly plains and low uplands in Estonia. The highest peak in Estonia and other Baltic States (Latvia and Lithuania) is Suur Munamägi (Big Egg Hill), 318 metres high. One can climb Suur Munamägi; there is an observation tower on the top of the hill, offering a splendid view of the surroundings. There are more than 1400 lakes in Estonia. Most of them are very small. The biggest lake in Estonia is Lake Peipsi which is the 5th biggest lake in Europe.

ADVICE! You can visit the observation tower of Suur Munamägi in Võru County http://www.suurmunamagi.ee/index. php?page=11

There are lots of rivers in Estonia, too. The longest are Võhandu (162 km), Pärnu (144 km) and Põltsamaa (135 km). There are also many bogs and a long coastline with numerous bays and straits. There are 2222 islands in Estonian waters, and the total number including bigger islands of internal water bodies is 2355. The largest islands are Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, which also form two separate counties of Estonia. Saaremaa

Hiiumaa 14

Estonians like to go hiking in the nature. Many people go hiking in national parks, forests, swamps, bogs where hiking trails have been set up. As to the number of swamps Estonia holds the second place in the world. So they can be considered a national treasure. You need to be careful when you go hiking in swamps and to stay on specially laid paths.

ADVICE! You can find information about the possibilities of hiking in the nature and descriptions and locations of the hiking trails at the website of the State Forest Management Centre (RMK): http://www.rmk.ee/en

One of the best known natural sights in Estonia is the North Estonian limestone bank stretching from Paldiski to Narva. The height of the steep coast varies between 20 and 56 metres, and it mainly opens directly to the sea. In this respect, the North Estonian bank is one of a kind in the whole world. The highest location is the Ontika Bank, rising up to 56 metres above sea level. A hiking trail leads to the Ontika Bank, and it can be seen from the viewing platform. Other fascinating natural sights of Estonia are karstlands where groundwater has dissolved soil bedrock, creating craters, caves and underground streams in the ground. Estonia’s largest karstlands are located in Kostivere, Kata, Kivimetsa and Uhaku. It is an interesting fact that so far 180 meteorite craters have been discovered on

Ontika Bank

earth, 7 of which are found in Estonia. So, Estonia’s number of meteorite craters per unit of area is almost 400 times larger than the average on Earth. The most famous crater in Estonia is the Kaali crater in


ADVICE! You can go with your parents to the place where the Kaali meteorite fell in Saaremaa, in Kaali village, and also visit the meteorite museum there. http://www.kaali.kylastuskeskus.ee/ ing/index.php

Saaremaa. It is believed that a meteorite fell there 2000-3000 ago. The crater is 110 m in diameter and 22 m deep. Estonia is one of the richest countries in forests in the world: almost half of the Estonian territory is covered with forests. Mostly, there are coniferous forests. The most common tree in the forests is the pine. Besides forests there are plenty of meadows in Estonia. Meadows are grasslands that are mainly used as haylands or pasture lands. A large part of Estonian meadows are wooded meadows which means that trees and bushes also grow there. Apart from hiking, Estonians like to go to the forest to pick berries and mushrooms and they make jams and preserves from them. There are edible and poisonous plants and mushrooms in Estonian forests. Edible wild berries are for example, wild strawberries, bilberries, cowberries, bog bilberries and blackberries. Poisonous plants are herb paris, dogberry, yew tree, hemlock, water hemlock, baneberry and snowberry.

DID YOU KNOW THAT... in the summer of 2000, the 1 m² area of the Laelatu wooded meadow in Lääne County had 76 species of plants, which is the record for Northern Europe 16

Edible plants

Poisonous plants

Wild strawberry

Herb paris





Bog bilberry





Estonian forests are rich in mushrooms. Before picking mushrooms you have to find out if they are edible. For example, poisonous mushrooms are the death cap, fly agaric, and destroying angel. Edible mushrooms

Poisonous mushrooms


Destroying angel


Death cap


Fly agaric


Common roll-rim

Estonians like to go hiking in the woods, and seeing various animals in any Estonian forest is rather common. What makes Estonia stand out in Europe is the large number of carnivorous animals (wolf, bear, lynx, otter, ermine, raccoon dog). Estonian forests are also a home to wild boars, roe deer, roe deer, foxes and hares. The largest animal in Estonia is the moose. The smallest animal is the harvest mouse. When driving on Estonian highways, you have to be very careful because wild animals often find themselves on motor ways. 18

As Estonia lies on the migration route of the Arctic migratory birds, a large number of bird species live here – all in all, there are around 375 bird species in Estonia. The largest bird that lives in Estonia is the mute swan. The smallest bird in Estonia is the goldcrest.

There are 11 species of amphibians in Estonia. The ones found in the largest numbers and the most widely spread are the common toad, grass frog, moor frog and smooth newt. As far as reptiles are concerned, the lizards found in Estonia are the common lizard, sand lizard and slow worm, and local snakes include adders and grass snakes. The adder is a venomous snake that you can recognize by a dark zigzag stripe along its back. However, if people approach, the adder will try to crawl away and will only bite if you step on it or bother it. The adder and grass snake are protected species.

Grass snake



The number of fish species that can be caught in Estonian waters is over 60. The largest fish are the sturgeon and catfish.

To preserve the unique Estonian nature, it is important that people know the nature and can protect the environment where they live. Environmentally friendly habits, for example, saving energy and water, preventing air pollution, generating less waste and recycling are considered important in Estonia.

Checklist for going to the forest and hiking in the nature:

»»When you are in the countryside, take care of the nature and keep it clean. Put garbage at designated places or take it with you. Throwing it on the ground and to places that are not meant for that is forbidden in Estonia.


There can be ticks in Estonian forests. A tick bite can transmit such illnesses as tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme borreliosis. After going to the forest, always make sure there are no ticks on your body. Vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis is also recommended.

»»Be careful when you go swimming in natural water bodies. »»When trekking in the country, make sure you do not damage trees and bushes. »»In the woods, do not damage nests and lairs of birds and animals, do not take bird eggs and bring them home or harm them in any other way.

»»Camping and making a fire is allowed in places marked as official camping and fire-making sites. Make sure that you leave a camping site in order. To make a fire, gather fallen branches from the ground. Make sure the fire is out before you leave.

»»Making fires in forests is forbidden in dry periods. ADVICE! The Estonian Museum of Natural History gives an interesting overview of Estonian nature and animals; address: Tallinn, Lai 29a http://www.loodusmuuseum.ee/en/


ADVICE! You can visit the Tallinn Zoo located at Ehitajate tee 150 / Paldiski Road 145 http://tallinnzoo.ee/en/

ESTONIAN PUBLIC HOLIDAYS There are many public holidays celebrated in Estonia. A public holiday is a day off. On this day, children do not go to school and adults do not go to work. Estonians mostly celebrate the Independence Day, Good Friday, Midsummer Day and Christmas.

New Year’s Day (1 January)

Independence Day (24 February)

Good Friday (March or April)

Victory Day (23 June)

Midsummer Day (24 June)

Christmas (24-26 December)


NATIONAL HOLIDAYS In addition to public holidays, there are also numerous national holidays celebrated in Estonia; for example, the Mother Tongue Day, National Flag Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. In schools and kindergartens, national holidays are usually celebrated with topical events and parties.

Mother Tongue Day (14 March)

National Flag Day (4 June)

Mother’s Day (May)

Father’s Day (November)


HOLIDAYS Estonians also celebrate several traditional calendar holidays associated with old customs. For instance, on Shrove Tuesday people go sledging and eat pea soup and buns with whipped cream. On St. Martin’s and St. Catherine’s Day, children disguise themselves and go from door to door singing folk songs and telling jokes and stories and receive sweets.

Shrove Tuesday (February)

St. Martin’s Day (10 November)

St. Catherine’s Day (March or April)

Today Estonians also celebrate modern holidays like Valentine’s Day (known as Friends’ Day here) or Halloween. On Valentine’s Day people send greeting cards to their best friends. Halloween is celebrated with costume parties and sometimes people make pumpkin lanterns.

Valentine’s Day (14 February)

Halloween (31 October


LET’S SING TOGETHER! Estonians love singing and dancing together, and Estonia has a long tradition of song and dance festivals. The Song Festival is an important national celebration for Estonians where all Estonian choirs want to participate. The first Song Festival was held in 1869. Four brass bands with a total of 56 musicians and 822 singers participated there. The Song Festival in 2014 united 33,025 singers and musicians. The Song and Dance Festivals are held every 5 years.

Due to the fact that Estonian people like choir singing so much, the tradition of a separate youth song festival started. The first Baltic university students’ song festival “Gaudeamus” was held in 1956. Since 1962, youth song festivals have been held every five years. The next, 12th Youth Song and Dance Festival will take place in 2017. Another event, a punk song festival in Rakvere, where choirs sing punk songs, has been held three times.

Punk Song Festival

ADVICE! Song festivals are held on Tallinn Song Festival Grounds which you can visit with your parents. It is located at Narva mnt 96.


ESTONIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM Music: Fredrik Pacius Lyrics: Johann Voldemar Jannsen


Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm, kui kaunis oled sa! Ei leia mina iial teal see suure, laia ilma peal, mis mul nii armas oleks ka, kui sa, mu isamaa!

Sa oled mind ju sünnitand ja üles kasvatand; sind tänan mina alati ja jään sull’ truuiks surmani, mul kõige armsam oled sa, mu kallis isamaa!

Su üle Jumal valvaku, mu armas isamaa! Ta olgu sinu kaitseja ja võtku rohkest õnnista, mis iial ette võtad sa, mu kallis isamaa!


LET’S DANCE TOGETHER! The festival of folk dancers takes place at the same time as the Song Festival. The first national Dance Festival in Estonia was held in 1934 and united 1500 folk dancers. In 2014, 10,082 dancers came together for the Dance Festival. One of the most famous Estonian folk dances is “KaeraJaan”, which you can dance in a group and sing along.

Kaera –Jaan Oi, Kaera Jaan, oi, Kaera Jaan, karga välja kaema! Kas on kesvad keerulised, Kaerad katse kandilised? Oi, Kaera Jaan, oi, kaera Jaan, karga välja kaema! Kas on kikas kaeras käinud, Kanakari kesva läinud? Oi, Kaera Jaan, oi, Kaera Jaan, karga välja kaema! Vares võtab viljatera, Kaaren katkub kaeratera!

Oi, Kaera Jaan, oi, Kaera Jaan, karga välja kaema! Võta vemmal- viruta Ja linnud kaerast kihuta.


ESTONIAN FOLK COSTUMES Estonians’ traditional clothes are folk costumes dating back to the 16th–17th century. The clothes were made from woven woollen or linen cloth. Most linen items were white, and sheep wool was dyed with plant dyes. Nowadays Estonians mostly wear folk costumes at Song and Dance Festivals. Folk costumes are the performing outfit of many choirs and folk dance groups. You can also see people wearing folk costumes at presidential receptions and festive events..


ESTONIAN NATIONAL PATTERNS To decorate traditional garments, Estonians used various patterns typical of the region where they lived. For example, Muhu Island is famous for its peculiar patterns, which are embroidered flowers. Numerous traditional folk costume patterns are used nowadays for decorating garments and accessories. For instance, young fashion designers like using them in their collections that they prepare for fashion competitions.


ESTONIAN SCHOOL Estonians value lifelong learning, which means that learning is a lifestyle choice. Mandatory basic education in Estonia covers grades 1–9; all children aged 7 and older must attend basic education. The school year lasts for at least 35 weeks, and there are usually 4 school holidays. The summer holiday lasts for 3 months, from June to September. The school year in Estonia starts on 1 September, which is celebrated as the Day of Knowledge. The highest grade students can get in Estonian schools is a “5”, but there are also schools that do not give grades. Generally, boys and girls study together in mixed classes in Estonia and there are few schools that have separate classes. Each school has its own internal rules that state students’ rights and obligations. All students in schools have equal rights and obligations and they must follow the school regulations and following the rules of the school is mandatory for students.

What are your rights at school?

What are your obligations at school?

To graduate from basic education, a student must finish year 9 with at least satisfactory grades and pass exams in three subjects: Estonian language or Estonian as a second language, Mathematics and one subject of the student’s own choice. After obtaining basic education , a young person has several options for further education: going to a upper secondary school to acquire general secondary education or to a vocational educational institution that can provide vocational or secondary vocational education.


CHILDRENS’ RECREATIONAL AND FREE TIME ACTIVITIES Education is greatly valued in Estonia. Apart from studying, young people in Estonia like participating in various recreational activities in their spare time. A range of hobby groups is offered in schools. For example, schools have their own choirs and folk dance groups and thanks to these activities children can usually participate in song and dance festivals.

School sports, theatre and technology clubs are also popular. A lot of young people like doing sports. Sporting opportunities are provided by schools, fitness centres and hobby groups. The most popular sports are football, basketball, track and field, rhythmic/artistic gymnastics, dancing, swimming, skating, skiing etc. Many teenagers are interested in arts, music or acting. Natural science and technology groups are also popular. In recent years, there has been greater interest in various robotics clubs

where students build and programme robots. You can get information about recreational activities at the websites of your school, local government, sports clubs or hobby schools.


Information about hobby schools in major cities: Tallinn http://www.tallinn.ee/eng/haridus/Hobby-education-schools

Tartu http://tartu.ee/?lang_id=2&menu_id=12&page_id=2641

Narva http://narva.ee/ru/gorosaninu/obrasovanie/skolo_po_interecam/page:645 (RUS)

Various activities are offered by youth centres. Children from the age of 7 can go to youth centres. Information about youth centres can be obtained at the local government office.

Information about youth centres https://www.eesti.ee/rus/kontakty/noortekeskused (RUS)


MY RIGHTS A child is a person under 18 years of age. All children in Estonia have equal rights, regardless of their background, colour, parents or religion. What rights do children have?

»»The right to life and development »»The right to security »»The right to health protection »»The right to privacy »»The right to parental care of both parents »»The right to a name and citizenship »»The right to mother tongue and native culture »»The right to education »»The right to express one’s opinion freely »»The right to have time for play and rest Where to turn for help if you have a problem?

Lasteabi.ee – if you have a problem you may call or write, tel: 116111, http://www.lasteabi.ee/en/

Child protection official – there is a child protection official in each county to whom you may turn if you have a problem. Contact information is available at the website of the local government of your residence.


Lapsemure – if you want advice or share your problems, call helpline 646 0770, e-mail: lapsemure@hot.ee,

Estonian Union for Child Welfare – gives advice on who can help you if you have a problem, telephone 6311128 e-mail liit@lastekaitseliit.ee

MY OBLIGATIONS In addition to rights, you have obligations. Rights and obligations are related to each other. For example, you have the right to education, but at the same time you have the obligation to go to school. You have the right to demand respect for your rights, but at the same time you must respect and consider other children’s and adults’ rights. People must respect one another and be polite, so children, too, have the obligation to be polite to other children and adults. All people have equal rights and obligations. What are your obligations?

Child’s obligations

»»A child must respect his or her parents and educators in the same way as they have to respect children.

»»A child must help his or her parents, grandparents, siblings or foster carers if they need help.

»»A child must respect public order and its laws. »»A child must protect the environment and cultural values. »»A child must follow the rules of decent behaviour and the regulations of the place where he or she lives, works or studies.

»»A child must treat fellow human beings with respect. »»While exercising his or her rights, a child may not infringe the rights of other children and adults.

»»A child must take care of his or her health and not harm it, so that he or she can become a worthy perpetuator of life.

RESTRICTIONS ESTABLISHED IN LAW A child under the age of 18 is a minor. In Estonia all tobacco and alcoholic products are prohibited to minors by the law, and their possession or consumption will result in punishment. Owning, using, buying and selling drugs is prohibited to minors and adults alike and will result in punishment.

Restrictions concerning tobacco: Restrictions concerning drugs: Possession and use of narcotic and psychotropic substances is prohibited in Estonia.

Smoking or consuming smokeless tobacco products is prohibited to minors. Buying and possessing tobacco products is prohibited to minors.


Restrictions concerning alcohol: Drinking alcohol is prohibited to minors. Buying and possessing alcoholic drinks is prohibited to minors.

Breach of public order: A child must keep public order. Children under 16 are forbidden to be in public places without adult supervision between 23:00 and 06:00. In the period between 1 June and 31 August minors are forbidden to be in public places without adult supervision between 24:00 and 05:00.

A teenager aged 14 or older can be punished with a fine or arrest for violating the prohibitions established by laws.

SECURITY ADVICE Please keep in mind the following tips for your security.

»»Always tell your parents where you are going and how they can contact you. »»Always try to move around with a group of friends at night (in the dark)! If you need to go out or go home alone, think beforehand how you can be safe on the way. Ask your parents to drive you.

»»Do not get into a stranger’s or casual acquaintance’s car. »»Do not go out to meet a casual acquaintance you have met on the Internet. If you decide to go, do not go alone; tell your parents, siblings or friends about this meeting.

»»If someone offers you drugs or unknown substances or liquids, refuse. »»If you become a victim of bullying, threats or crime (date violence, school violence, cyberbullying etc.) or you know someone who is being bullied, make sure to tell a trustworthy person about it (your parents, siblings, friends, class teacher, psychologist, etc.). Do that even if the bullier is your relative or acquaintance. If you want to ask the police for advice, you have questions about laws or you have become a victim of abuse or bullying, you can turn to web constables; you can write to them in English or Russian. Information: https://www.politsei.ee/et/nouanded/veebikonstaabel/




Call the emergency number 112 if:

»»you need police help urgently and you want to report a breach of public order, crime or traffic accident;

»»there has been an accident and someone’s life or health is in danger and they need urgent medical help;

»»a fire is breaking out or has broken out. Rules to follow when you call the emergency number:

»»say what has happened as briefly and clearly as you can, say where it has happened and say your name;

»»stay calm and answer the operator’s questions; »»try to remember and tell the operator a detailed description of the people (man/woman, presumed age, height, clothing), vehicles (license plate number, make, colour) and other circumstances associated with the event;

»»do not hang up before the operator says you can do so. »»The emergency call number 112 is dialled on mobile and desk phones in the same way, and calling it is free of charge.

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Children 13-15 ENG 2018  

Children 13-15 ENG 2018