News & updates during the school closure

By decision of the Government of Estonia all educational institutions including TES are closed from Monday 16 March due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. As a consequence, the teaching and learning is organized on a non-stationary basis for an undetermined period. The Government will review the situation every two weeks.

You can find below regular news and updates regarding the current situation. We invite you to consult it regularly. Important communications will be sent to parents directly via email. If you need to contact the management or a teacher in particular, you can find all contacts here

TUESDAY 24 MARCH

Distance learning extended for at least two weeks from Monday 30 March

Dear members of TES community,

At today’s government press conference, Ms Mailis Reps, Minister of Education and Research, stated that “distance learning will initially continue for at least two more weeks, but most likely until the end of April.” Therefore, the school will remain closed at least until Friday, 10th April 2020. We will announce further measures on an ongoing basis, in accordance with government-issued information.

NB! Please note that the information on the transition and the state exams is only for the public schools and therefore does not apply to Tallinn European School. We will inform you about the Secondary B tests and Baccalaureate exams in the coming days.

As the distance learning period is extended we are also looking for a more centralized platform to organize studies more conveniently.

Many thanks for your patience, understanding and cooperation!

Best regards,

Markko MATTUS
Director of Tallinn European School
 
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MONDAY 23 MARCH

Getting information about the emergency situation in Estonia and the COVID-19

Find all the important websites to visit, useful telephone numbers and media channel to get information about the emergency situation in Estonia and the coronavirus in this useful and clear document from the Ministry of the Interior. View and download here

From today you can also ask all your questions to the automated chatbot Suve. It is present on many official webpages to provide accurate and trustworthy information in English and Estonian.

WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH

Some tips for the children’s well-being from our school psychologist

Dear TES community,

This new and unfamiliar situation is challenging for all of us – children, parents and teachers. In those circumstances, it is important to stay connected, support each other and also pay close attention to how to maintain our mental well-being and find ways for coping.

Please find the video from SA Innove on how to cope with distance learning:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s86q0koHoqw&t=131s

Our school psychologist Terje Kaldur shares some tips to maintain your own and your children’s well-being and cope with the situation:

  • Take time to be there for your child, listen and talk to them. Answer questions and share facts in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Take enough space and time to listen in a supportive environment (without distractive noise or objects). Listen without judging and lessening your child’s worries, letting your child know that you are there for them and letting them talk without reacting.
  • Mirror – reword what your child has said and say it back to them. Ask open questions – How? What? Why?
  • Notice your own feelings and thoughts. You can talk honestly about your feelings with your child – they notice and understand hidden anxiety.
  • Reassure your child that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. A daily schedule helps to be organized and feel safe. A visible (stick-it-on-the-wall) schedule helps to keep on track.
  • Include relaxing, fun and physical activities to your family’s daily schedule. For example, doing art or crafts, physical activity, playing games together helps also to express emotions positively, laugh and enhance positive relationships.
  • Connect with your friends and family members. Help your child to do the same.
  • Be a role model – take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well.
  • Go outside together, have a walk and talk. J

You can find a guide about talking to kids about the coronavirus here:

Other links for support:

The school psychologist Terje Kaldur is available for counselling via-email (terje.kaldur@est.edu.ee) or Skype (can be agreed via e-mail).

WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH

Q&A for parents about studies at home

Dear parents,

Foundation Innove has published a useful Q&A about studies at home for parents in Estonia on its website. 

Q&A for parents about studies at home

TUESDAY 17 MARCH

A Word from TES Director Markko Mattus

Dear pupils, parents and teachers,

The first day of home-schooling was finished yesterday and the second one is going on today. Despite some technical problems experienced with e-kool yesterday morning, the day according to the feedback I received from all teachers went well. Working in these circumstances during this new and unfamiliar situation is challenging for all of us – pupils, parents and teachers. In order to ensure that learning & teaching is taking place efficiently, we need to ensure smooth cooperation between all parties. Teachers are available for their pupils and parents throughout the whole school day in order to give guidance and explanations to the tasks planned as well as to give feedback to the results. Teachers have been hardworking and creative on finding different ways to make learning more interesting, motivating and enjoyable at home as well as to keep direct or indirect contact with pupils using a webcam, recorded video sessions, chat or written communications. Teachers also remain in constant contact with each other and the management in order to seek for solutions, exchange experiences and give feedback.

We are still in the initial phase of distance learning and we all must learn how to adjust the volume of tasks, how to create diverse (not a single type) tasks, how to communicate in the best way, and how the appropriate feedback is given and shared daily. So, let’s take this situation as a new learning opportunity, let’s cooperate adequately and let’s share feedback mutually to facilitate uninterrupted learning of our pupils with the guidance of our great teachers and the support of our wonderful parents.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and commitment in these challenging times! Keep it up and stay tuned!

Hereby some suggestions to make the home-schooling easier for families:

  • As your role in the learning process of your child becomes more important, be present for your child – regardless of the child’s age – and monitor your children to understand what support they need the most.
  • Establishing a strict daily routine that follows the school timetable is recommended.
  • Please inform the class/ subject teacher immediately if your child is not able to follow everyday instruction for some reason – this has become even more important now.
  • Keep virtual contact with your child’s classmates: it is very difficult in these conditions to be isolated from friends.
  • Be vigilant to the overall screen time, children should not spend too much time behind their screens.
  • Take time every day to spend some time with your children outdoors, PE lessons can be done together.
  • Share your positive experiences with other parents.
  • We will manage it all if we keep together!
Markko MATTUS
Director of Tallinn European School

MONDAY 16 MARCH

Contacts and sources of information about the coronavirus COVID-19 and the emergency situation in Estonia

  • Call 1247 for any question regarding the coronavirus and the spread of the virus (24/7, free of charge).
  • Call 1220 if you need some medical advice regarding your health (24/7, free of charge).
  • Call 112 only in case of an emergency (24/7, free of charge).

Please find below a selection of official and reliable links to get more information related to the coronavirus COVID-19 and keep updated about the situation in Estonia.

FRIDAY 13 MARCH

A Word from TES Director Markko Mattus

Dear pupils, parents, colleagues,

Our school among all other schools in Estonia and many over the world has stepped into a new reality where school campuses are closed for school activities for everyone and the teaching-learning has to be organized differently using a variety of online tools at a distance. It is a new challenging experience for all of us and I sincerely hope that we all take this situation as a learning opportunity and ensure the smooth running of studies at home.

As it is indicated in the statement of the Government, “the situation will be reassessed every 14 days and, if necessary, a decision will be taken on the need to extend the distance learning period.” Our school remains thus closed for two weeks. We will keep you all informed as soon as we have additional details to share.

During the period of school closure, as announced previously, the subject teachers and class teachers (in the Nursery and Primary) inform pupils and families through e-kool (N1-S5)/MySchool (S6-S7)/e-mails about how studies are organized and communicate the learning content as well as the tasks. Teachers have received specific instructions for this and remain in contact during normal school hours. We have also established Teams’ groups in Office 365 for all teachers in order to share most efficiently all the necessary information, experiences and documents as well as to keep up the sense of community among teachers – as our pupils, also the teachers work at a distance. All other members of staff remain in contact over e-mail and are working remotely in home-office.

In general, in order to participate in home schooling, pupils need a desktop or laptop computer, a smartphone or tablet, and an Internet connection for taking part and carry out the activities. Please remember that home schooling involves solving the assignments given by the teachers at home, assisted by parents, if needed. It is also important that the pupils remain at home and do not attend hobbies and trainings, or visit the cinema, theatre or other crowded places. Fortunately, Estonia is small enough to reach the nearest forest or natural recreational area that is just about 20 minutes of drive away from home, so take this opportunity also to have daily walks with the whole family.

Please do not hesitate to contact the members of the management, staff and teachers who are ready to answer any additional questions. I am very confident that we will be able to handle this exceptional learning period very well. I wish you all mindfulness, strength and peace of mind to all!

PS! In order to cheer you up, please watch the testimony of a family whose children are attending ES Varese in Italy that starts the third week of distance learning mode.
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-manchester-51822315/coronavirus-cabin-fever-in-locked-down-lombardy 

Markko MATTUS
Director of Tallinn European School
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