Children aged 3–5 and 6–8
Learning through play and support in socialisation processes are important for children at that age. A psychologically and physically secure environment is established for the activities, fostering the children’s communication with others of their age as well as the discussion of new topics.
Various games involving movement or singing, and board games related to the topics being discussed are used as training methods. in addition, simple real-life situations which children may encounter in Estonia are played out (e.g. going to the kindergarten, calling emergency services, etc.).
The activities are organised to combine various knowledge domains, for example, language, mathematics, natural sciences, music, movement, hand-eye co-ordination activities. The instructors use these to introduce Estonian culture, nature, symbols, history, geography and folk heritage. The activities are performed in groups and smaller subgroups, fostering the children’s communication with one another and team-based learning. Age-appropriate means of information technology are also used.
Teenagers aged 9–12 and 13–15
In training teenagers of the above age groups, attention is paid to relating and comparing their earlier experiences with the Estonian context when the topics of the training course are discussed. The teenagers are encouraged to talk to one another as much as possible and also to establish connections with Estonian culture and environment through relating their previous experiences. Digital technology and the teenagers’ own smart devices are used if possible as those help introduce the opportunities Estonia offers as an e-country and provide information about the options and services for teenagers in Estonia.
The training methods used are content discussions for the teenagers to introduce themselves and share experiences which can be linked to Estonia as well as exercises in groups and pairs. Most of the activities are performed in small groups, which helps the teenagers to become acquainted and converse with one another and also accept one another.
The teenagers are given various tasks that can be solved by using their learned skills and searching for information from the means provided to them, incl. their own smart devices. Various games enhancing proactive behaviour are also used in order to encourage the teenagers to be proactive and to create an environment supportive of learning, for example, movement or board games as well as folk and singing games related to Estonia.
Such an integrative and activity-based way of learning makes the teenagers’ learning experience fruitful and exciting.