Tartu Raatuse Kool
Tartu Raatuse School is a primary school, with 9 grades (students up to 16 years old). Today about 465 students are studying and 52 teachers, 4 members of school support staff and a school nurse are working in our school.
Moreover, there are 18 people who belong to the list of school service staff.The school has a canteen with its professional team that provides high-quality school lunches which are well-approved among the people in and out of school. The side benefit the school has is providing English or German language learning from the first grade.
Not using a traditional grading system in primary classes with the years 1-6, has been well received. Students and their parents get oral and written feedback on the child's personal development, skills and knowledge in different subjects.
Our primary teachers organize various thrilling activities to younger students like interactive quizz Mõtteragin, meant for students from town and county schools or reading nights to meet well-known writers and participate in different discussions and workshops.
The school provides variety of after school activities including sport, music, arts and crafts, Estonian as well as German drama classes. In the autumn 2013 the robotics lab was started. Students needs are always considered by a speech therapist, a social teacher, a psychologist, a specialist of learning difficulties and a school nurse. Classes are not only run in the classroom but they are also taken outdoors to offer students support in developing their practical skills and broadening their minds.
Our students are continuously successful with academic achievements and representing their school in different contests and events. The students have a great chance to participate in international and national projects which give them an opportunity to take part in the events in their own school and also widen their minds and experience while visiting other cultures all over Europe.
To teach children how to be part of a community and to see themselves as valued members of that community, the school has several all-school traditions. Certain ritual ceremonies have been followed, for example, Autumn Sports Day, Spring and Christmas Concert, Christmas Fair, Ceremonial Reception for the Best, Excursion for students who have stood out at competitions and contests, Speech Contest, The Person of the Month award. To popularize sports by making sports life more colourful, Estonian Olympic Academy has supported our school to organize School Olympic Games for primary students.
The school is continually working toward finding new opportunities to make studying more challenging through new different projects. The project days in October 2013, which took place for the first time, gave students freedom to choose and participate in different 40 workshops within 2 days and in 2016 there were already almost 100 workshops taking place during these 2 days. Since 2012 Raatuse School has been enrolled in the students' exchange programme VeniVidiVici among Estonian schools and in autumn 2013 individual pupils' mobility with Italian partner from Torino was started. In 2014 international cooperation between the Nordplus Junior Program and our primary school is established for the first time. It has been normal that usually about 2-5 international projects are running throughout one year. In 2016 the first successful Erasmus+ projects were granted where we act as partners.
Tartu Raatuse School gives a great emphasize on the topics related to this project. Every day we think how to be smarter and make students to use their tablets, smart-phones and laptops in the way these devices can help them in learning process. Use of technology is not a mean in itself but an instrument helping us to better achieve learning goals. We have also educational technologist in our school staff who can help teachers with these issues. As digital devices are part of modern world it is schools responsibility to teach students how to get maximum use of them, so they are used in the learning process, not only for playing and chatting.
Tartu Raatuse School has been teaching programming (Scratch), as part of IT education, for the past 2 years. In order to support programming skills across the curricculum, we have also been teaching robotics (Lego Mindstorms and EV 2.0) for the past 3 years. Our students are also envolved with 3d printing (3d printers and 3d pens) as part of the technology education.
We are working together with the Univesity of Tartu and Tallinn for teacher training and also Center of Educational Innovation in order to constantly test and experiment with new teaching and IT methods and technologies. We are supported and working together with local IT companies who are helping us with programming teachers and technical support.
Mihkel Laar is currently working as ICT Support and history teacher at Tartu Raatuse School. Before joining the school he has worked as an ICT Support for various educational websites and Universities.
On the other way we also try to have lot of not-computerized learning and events. During the whole school-year every class has different out-door and hands-on activities we call study-visits to different places in nature and have training programs in natural or environmental education centers, organization of environmental protection or the environment related companies. Students learn there how harmless our nature is if we don't behave with great respect and care.
During these visits students learn lot about the resources of nature and how to deal with them in a responsible way. All these studies are straightly oriented to environmentally sustainable consumption patterns and the emergence of the ecological balance of learning and activities.
There are usually 2 or 3 drama classes operating simultaneously during a schoolyear who are also taking part and competing with other schools in drama festivals.
As we are also health promotional school, we pay attention that our food in canteen is healthy and fresh vegetables, water, milk etc are provided for free for all the children throughout the school-day.
We also concentrate lot on group work not only during implementation of regular curricula that is needed both in international projects and future life of the students. One of our school trademarks are for example so-called project days in October where every student can during two days choose from up to 90 different workshops which also often demand cooperative skills from every participant. During these project days we have been also successful presenting so called difficult subjects as mathematics, physics, chemistry etc in a more attractive way to make these subjects more interesting for every student.
One of our successful experiences in international level has been a project named Joyful Reading which concentrated on the question how we can promote reading among students through creating together with them a computer game based on the real book. This was a smart idea how to use computers smartly and how to use new methods and innovative technologies such as tablet computers, games and interactivity to motivate and create a habit for young people aged 12 - 14 of reading books and love reading which keeps them away from computers. We have also lot of club activities during the whole schoolyear – two drama clubs, different sports activites etc.
Regarding our experience of working in international projects it is quite big. Especially within last 5 years there been more than 10 different international projects we have been involved as coordinators or partners. Comenius, Erasmus+ and Nordplus Junior (for Baltic and Nordic countries funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers) among them. So we have quite experienced professionals both in managing and implementing the national and international projects.