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Hello, Estonia! Training handbook for the children and young people module of the welcoming program for children ages 9-12 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

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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 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 read!

TABLE OF CONTENT THE REPUBLIC OF ESTONIA........................................................ 5 ESTONIAN HISTORY AND MODERN DAY............................... 5 QUIZ „I KNOW ESTONIA“..............................................................8 THE NATIONAL FLAG AND NATIONAL COAT OF ARMS OF ESTONIA..........................................................................9 ESTONIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM ............................................10 NATIONAL SYMBOLS....................................................................11 ESTONIAN NATURE...................................................................... 12 ESTONIAN PUBLIC HOLIDAYS..................................................19 NATIONAL HOLIDAYS................................................................. 20 TRADITIONAL ESTONIAN HOLIDAYS.................................... 21 LET’S SING TOGETHER!..............................................................22 LET’S DANCE TOGETHER!..........................................................23 ESTONIAN FOLK COSTUMES.................................................. 24 ESTONIAN NATIONAL PATTERNS..........................................25 ESTONIAN SCHOOL..................................................................... 26 CHILDRENS’ RECREATIONAL AND FREE TIME ACTIVITIES........................................................................................27 MY RIGHTS...................................................................................... 29 RESTRICTIONS IN ESTONIA ESTABLISHED BY LAWS... 30 CALLING THE EMERGENCY NUMBER..................................32 WHAT DID I LEARN?..................................................................... 33

THE REPUBLIC OF ESTONIA Estonia is a country in Europe. Neighbouring countries to Estonia are Russia, Finland, Sweden and Latvia. There are 1.3 million people living in Estonia. The capital of Estonia is Tallinn. There are around 400 000 people living in Tallinn.

There are 15 counties in Estonia: Harju, Lääne, LääneViru, Jõgeva, Tartu, Põlva, Võru, Valga, Viljandi, Pärnu, Saare, Rapla, Järva, Ida-Viru, Hiiu.

The money used in Estonia is the euro. The official language of Estonia is Estonian.

ESTONIAN HISTORY AND MODERN DAY The oldest traces of human settlement in Estonia date back to the Stone Age, about 9000 years ago. Pulli settlement is considered the oldest human settlement in Estonia.

Pulli 5

The first small settlements appeared in coastal areas and next to water bodies. The people were mainly seal hunters. Later on pottery, grain farming, making of tools and cattle breeding started to spread. People learned how to melt iron and they started to build strongholds. The ruins and buildings of strongholds still remain in many places of Estonia.

The 13th and 14th century saw a rapid development of towns in Estonia. As a result, towns became bigger centres of trade and handicraft. At that time the wealthiest and most influential towns in Estonia were the Hanseatic League towns - Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu and Viljandi. You can get a good idea of what a medieval Estonian town looked like by taking a walk in the Old Town of Tallinn where medieval buildings and streets are well preserved. There were many wars held in Estonian between the 13th -18th centuries. Estonia has been under the rule of various countries – Sweden, Poland, Denmark and Russia. Estonians’ way to their own state started in the 19th century when they could start to purchase land for themselves. At that time numerous national song and dance societies were established. In 1869 the first Song Festival took place.


On 24 February 1918 the independence of the Republic of Estonia was declared, so the Estonian state is almost 100 years old! In 1944 Estonia was occupied and until 1991 Estonia was part of the Soviet Union. Estonia regained its independence in 1991 and very soon became a full-fledged member of the global family of states. In 2004 Estonia became a member of the European Union. Although Estonia is one of the countries with the smallest population in the European Union, it is known as an innovative and ambitious country. The head of the state of Estonia is the President. The representative body of the people of Estonia is the parliament called the Riigikogu and it consists of 101 members.

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 Vabaþhumuuseumi tee 12, Tallinn. http://evm.ee/eng/home



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

Further information about the Estonian history can be found at Histrodamus website




ADVICE! The state portal Eesti.ee provides an overview of Estonia, information about all spheres of life here and many innovative e-services https://www.eesti.ee/eng/topics


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 b) English c) German

What money is used in Estonia? a) dollar b) pound c) euro

What 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 b) 5 million c) 1.3 million

Who is the head of state of Estonia? a) the King b) the President c) the Tsar


THE NATIONAL FLAG AND NATIONAL COAT OF ARMS OF ESTONIA 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


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!


NATIONAL SYMBOLS Draw and write the names of 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 Estonia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. Half of the Estonian mainland is covered with forests which means that Estonia is one of the forest-rich countries in Europe. Estonia has plenty of untouched natural wonders that are worth exploring and Estonians spend a lot of time in nature. Estonia has four seasons with considerable temperature variations. The warmest month is July and the coldest month is February. In summer you can go swimming in the sea, in winter you can go skiing and skating. There are mainly plains and low uplands in Estonia. The highest peak in Estonia is Suur Munamägi (Big Egg Hill), 318 metres high. Suur Munamägi is located in Võru County and there is an observation tower on the top of the hill offering a splendid view of the surrounding nature. 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. There are lots of rivers in Estonia, too. The longest are Võhandu (162 km), Pärnu (144 km) and Põltsamaa River (135 km).

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

There are a lot of bogs in Estonia and a php?page=11 long coastline with numerous bays and straits. All in all, there are 2222 sea islands in Estonia, together with bigger islands of internal water bodies, there are 2355 islands. The biggest islands are Saaremaa and Hiiumaa which also form two separate counties of Estonia.




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

Limestone banks are also interesting natural sights. The highest is the Ontika Bank rising up to 56 metres above sea level.

Ontika Bank


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 there 7 meteorite craters in Estonia. The most famous crater in Estonia is the Kaali crater in Saaremaa. It is believed that a meteorite fell there 2000-3000 ago. The crater is 110 m in diameter and 22 m deep.

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

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. 14

Edible plants

Poisonous plants

Wild strawberry

Herb paris





Bog bilberry





Estonian forests are rich in mushrooms. Before picking mushrooms, be sure they are edible. Poisonous mushrooms are, for example, the death cap, fly agaric, and destroying angel.


Destroying angel


Death cap


Fly agaric


Common roll-rim

There are 68 species of mammals living in Estonia. In Europe Estonia stands out for its great number of carnivorous animals (wolf, beer, lynx, otter, ermine, raccoon dog). There are wild boars, roe deer, deer, foxes and hares living in Estonian forests. The largest animal in Estonia is the moose. The smallest animal is the harvest mouse. When driving on Estonian highways one has to be very careful because wild animals often find themselves on motor ways. 16

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

Adder 17

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

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.

»»In nature conservation areas and national parks, make sure you do not break plants.

»»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.


Camping and making a fire is allowed in places marked as official camping and fire-making sites. Making fires in forests is forbidden in dry periods when there is a big hazard for forest fires.

»»Be careful when you go swimming in natural water bodies, do not go swimming alone.

»»When you go walking in the forest take your parents or friends with you.

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. Children do not attend school and parents do not go to work on these days.

New Year’s Day (1 January)

Independence Day (24 February)

Good Friday (March or April)

Victory Day (23 June)

Midsummer Day (24 June)


(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)


TRADITIONAL ESTONIAN HOLIDAYS Estonians also celebrate several traditional calendar holidays associated with traditional customs. For example, 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)

Estonians also celebrate mordern holidays like Valentine’s Day and Halloween. On Valentine’s Day people send greeting cards with good wishes 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 there is a long tradition of song and dance festivals in Estonia. 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.

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



One of the most well-known Estonian folk dances is „Kaera-Jaan“ 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. Nowadays Estonians mostly wear folk costumes at song and dance festivals. Folk costumes are the performing outfit of many choirs and folk dance groups. Folk costumes may also be worn at presidential receptions and other 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 Muhu patterns – embroidered flowers. Many traditional folk costume patterns are used also today to decorate modern garments and accessories.



In Estonia all children from age 7 must attend school. Basic education (9 classes) is compulsory to all children living in Estonia.

Each school has its own internal rules that state all the rights and obligations of a student. All students are obliged to follow the internal rules.

All students have equal rights - right to acquire education, to express one’s opinion, feel safe, get fair grades.

All students have equal obligations – obligation to attend lessons, be friendly with classmates and adults, keep the property of a school.

Lessons usually start at 8:00 in Estonian schools. One lesson lasts for 45 minutes.

School holidays are usually 4 times a year. Summer holiday lasts for 3 months, from June to September. Schools start work on 1 September, which is called the Day of Knowledge. 26

Boys and girls study together in schools.

At school you cannot bully anyone and you must help anybody who is in trouble.

The highest grade given is a “5”.

CHILDRENS’ RECREATIONAL AND FREE TIME ACTIVITIES In their free time Estonian children like to participate in various hobby groups. There are several hobby groups organized at schools. For example, in many schools you can sing in choirs and dance in folk dance groups and thanks to these activities children can participate in song and dance festivals.

Estonian children also like to participate in sports. Such opportunities are offered by schools, sports clubs and hobby groups. Popular sports are football, basketball, track and field, rhythmic/artistic gymnastics, dancing, swimming, skating, skiing etc. Many young people are interested in arts, music or technology. These opportunities are offered by several hobby schools and groups.

Young people often spend their free time in skate-parks which are established close to youth centres and other sports facilities. Information about recreational activities can be obtained at the school’s and local government’s websites and websites of relevant sports clubs and hobby schools. 27

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


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 a child or minor is a person under the age of 18. All children in Estonia have equal rights, regardless of their background, colour, parents and 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

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

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

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.

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


Where to turn for help if you have a problem?

MY OBLIGATIONS In addition to rights children also have obligations. Rights and obligations are related to each other. For example, a child has the right to education but at the same time he or she is obliged to go to school. People must respect each other and communicate politely, therefore, children are also obliged to communicate politely to other children and adults. All children have equal rights and 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 IN ESTONIA ESTABLISHED 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.

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

SECURITY TIPS »»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 and always war a reflector in the dark.

»»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/

CALLING THE EMERGENCY NUMBER 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.

WHAT DID I LEARN? Write here what exciting and interestin facts you learned about Estonia today.

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Children 9-12 ENG 2018  

Children 9-12 ENG 2018