Community: Märjamaa is a small town with the total population of around 3500 people, situated 70 km south of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Its position half way between Tallinn and Parnu (a lively health resort often called Estonian summer capital) makes Marjamaa easily accessible. It has a good connection with Tallinn and Parnu by numerous daily buses. The structure of population: 780 young people, about 2000 adults and 640 pensioners. There are no big industries in Marjamaa or in the area around. Marjamaa belongs to the County of Rapla in the centre of Estonia. The county capital is Rapla (25 km away from Marjamaa). The population of Rapla is about 5 000 inhabitants. Neither Rapla, itself nor Rapla County, have big industries, except a relatively big dairy industry in Rapla. It is mainly arural area. Economically, and in terms of investment, it is definitely less developed comparing to, say North or West Estonia and the area around Tallinn.
Objectives: The main objective of the EVS project is to provide children with the first experience of foreign languages and intercultural learning, which is totally missing now in rural areas of Estonia although being already recognised as an important part of children's general education, especially in a view of coming integration of Estonia to the European Union. One should keep in mind that in some 10 years these children will become the active citizens of Estonia, which will be a part of United Europe by this time. Another objective of the proposed project is to develop practical application of the "Step by Step" program children in Midrimaa are participating in. This is a special project supported by Open Estonia Foundation aimed at giving kids the first lessons of democracy and teaching them to make choices in their life. The project should also have an intercultural learning impact on the staff of the kindergarten and the parents. In case of success this project could be considered as a model which might be replicated in other rural areas of Estonia. The project is meant for about 40 children of two older age groups, that is 5-7 years old. Intercultural learning and foreign language experience will be integrated into daily activities for children such as art, music lessons/ workshops, sport exercises and contests (indoor and outdoor), attending theatre performances and other cultural events in the town, hiking in the local area, games and so on. Co-work with local staff and direct contact with the parents while having some joined activities together with children is essential mean of the project.
Tasks: The task of volunteer is to support and assist project personnel in looking after the children and running various activities for them. Volunteer will be assisting project personnel in:
looking after the children
helping local staff in running workshops and various exercises for children;
playing with them;
arranging outings, taking them to picnics, hikes, swimming etc.;
presenting his/her home country and its culture as a part of intercultural learning;
supporting staff in all requested activities.
In order to ensure the intercultural learning volunteer should be willing to present his/her own country and culture by introducing songs, games, different forms of activities to the children, local personnel and parents keeping in mind that cultural exchange will be happening on these levels.
A typical day for the children looks like follows:
08:30 - breakfast
09:00 - indoor activities/ workshops according to the programme
10:30 - outdoor activities
12:30 - lunch
13:00 - time for rest/ sleeping
15:00 - indoor activities according to the programme
16:00 - dinner
16:30- 18:00 - free time activities
According to the volunteer's skills and project's needs: priority tasks and detailed working schedule (including holidays, breaks etc.) will be worked out together with project head and staff of the kindergarten. The working hours will be around 30 - 35 during the working week. the volunteer will have 2 days off during the weekend. Another task of the volunteer could be to establish contacts with similar kindergarten in his/her home country in order to have mutually beneficial co-operation and exchange between institutions in future.
Selection: The volunteer is expected to be positive, open-minded, flexible, friendly, helpful, warm-hearted. He/she has to be active, be able to take the initiative, responsible and reliable. He/she has to be willing to work and stay with children. Previous experience of working with kids is an advantage. The volunteer has to understand the reality of the host project due to its location in a small town in the country.