Altogether 203 essays from 60 schools throughout Estonia were submitted to the essay competition of the Ministry of Education and Research and the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA), which was dedicated to the Citizen’s Day and called “What does it mean for me to be a citizen of Estonia?”.
The objective of the competition in two age groups was to collect topics that pupils are interested in and their opinions about being a citizen, to recognise pupils and increase tolerance among young people. Eleven pupils were awarded and the best were 9th grade pupils.
Among the pupils of 7−9th grades, an essay from Mark Basalõga, a 9th grade pupil from Tallinn Mustamäe Gümnaasium, was awarded first place. Second place went to Koidu Kask, an 8th grade pupil from Kaagvere Erikool, and Anna-Katrin Krestinov, a 9th grade pupil from Saku Gümnaasium. Maria Bambus and Ireene-Britt Ollino, 9th grade pupils from Tallinn Prantsuse Lütseum and Katrin Sander, a 9th grade pupil from Tallinna Ühisgümnaasium earned third place.
The jury decided to give a special award to Kristin Vaisma, a 9th grade pupil from Keila School.
No first award was given in the competition of 10−12th grade pupils. Second place went to Ingrid Öövel, a 12th grade pupil from Tallinna Prantsuse Lütseum, and Kristina Smirnova, a 12th grade pupil from Tallinna Kesklinna Vene Gümnaasium. Tõnis Kirsipuu, a 12th grade pupil from Saku Gümnaasium, and Heleri Helemäe, a 10th grade pupil from Abja Gümnaasium received third place.
Toivo Sikk, a Coordinator of the Language Immersion Unit of MISA and a member of the jury said that pupils have often not thought through about what being a citizen means and they tend to confuse nationality and citizenship.
“Although our constitution was cited, attention was drawn to the fact that our young people take part in environment protection events and in the work of NGOs and the topic of elections was also discussed; however, the concept of being a citizen is still unclear for many. It was positive that the pupils see that today’s young people have the responsibility and role as the promoters of the life of society, and it is clear that bringing the topic of citizenship and the possibilities to be a good citizen closer to young people is important. We will take this need into account in the coming year when organising the Citizen’s Day quiz and also when planning the essay competition,” said Sikk.
MISA plans to publish a collection of the best essays in January and make this essay competition a tradition.
The Citizen’s Day essay competition was conducted from 10 October to 11 November and it was one event in a series of Citizen’s Day events. Citizen’s Day is celebrated on 26 November in Estonia and this is dedicated to the citizens of Estonia, improving awareness of the pride in being a citizen and the rights and responsibilities arising from being a citizen.
For further information, please contact: Toivo Sikk, Language Immersion Unit, Coordinator, tel 659 9850, e-mail [email protected]
In March 2012, the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA) will issue a language game set to support the early learning of the Estonian language by kindergarten children whose mother tongue is other than Estonian, and to supplement the book series “Let’s read together!”.
From 2004−2010, MISA published a series of books entitled “Let’s read together!” that are linked to the topics of the national curriculum for kindergartens and designed as a resource material in the language learning of 3−7 year old children.
“The books from the series “Let’s read together!” are suitable for reading together for children, parents and kindergarten teachers and the beautiful and detailed pictures allow us to teach the children to notice, describe, list, name and shape their understandings,” explained Svetlana Belova, a Coordinator of the Language Immersion Unit of MISA.
The language learning game set that will be completed as a result of procurement “Language learning materials for kindergartens” and a set of cards with holophrases include six cubes with pictures from different books and speech cards. The activities with these cubes enable us to develop a child’s verbal expression skill, logical thinking and making associations. The cards with holophrases help the teachers to make it easy for children whose mother tongue is different from the Estonian language to understand everyday activities and support the learning of linguistic forms related to routine activities.
“With the help of speech cards, children can remember and practice sentence patterns together with their teacher. The language game set comes with a methodological guide for teachers, in which there are ideas on how to use the speech cards in pair, group and individual games for children of different ages and on how to link everyday activities in the kindergarten and the book series,” added Belova.
The issuance of these learning materials is financed by the Ministry of Education and Research.
For further information, please contact: Svetlana Belova, Language Immersion Unit, Coordinator, tel 659 9848, e-mail [email protected]