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Räägu School for Ukrainian war refugee children celebrates second anniversary

Räägu School for Ukrainian war refugee children celebrates second anniversary

On April 11, Räägu School commemorated its second year of operation with a celebratory concert and ceremony. Established on April 11, 2022, as a branch of Tallinna Lilleküla Gümnaasium, the school provides education to children displaced by the war in Ukraine. It currently has 18 classes with a total enrollment of 417 students.

Deputy Mayor Andrei Kante highlighted the school's mission: “Räägu School was established to support those forced to flee their homeland due to conflict, including many children. It prioritizes care and readiness to assist in integrating Ukrainian children into Estonian society, particularly through language learning. Over the past two years, the school has demonstrated exemplary performance, earning recognition and support from students, parents, and the Ukrainian community. I wish the school continued success and warmth in its endeavors.”

Anu Luure, principal of Lilleküla Gümnaasium, shared her perspective: “This school has provided a secure educational environment where Ukrainian children can thrive. They are instructed by their compatriots, which fosters a sense of community while also promoting integration into Estonian society. Räägu School is aptly described by its motto ‘A school with two hearts.’ Additionally, it offers Ukrainian educators an insight into one of the world’s leading educational systems.”

According to the principal, the school has received significant support from various partners (IOM, JA Eesti, GreenDice, Loovalt Koos, Mondo, etc.), who regularly organize training and activities for students and teachers. Many partner activities are integrated into the curriculum, such as computer science classes by GreenDice and entrepreneurship lessons by JA Eesti, alongside sports clubs promoting physical activity. The school celebrates a blend of Estonian, Ukrainian, and global cultures with events like Estonian Language Week, Vyshyvanka Day, and Halloween. Räägu School is also part of the KiVa anti-bullying program.

Reflecting on the school’s growth, Luure added, “We have matured a lot in two years, filled with energy and a fast-paced learning environment. We learn new Estonian words and phrases every day. We are continually curious, creative, and sometimes assertively independent, characteristics typical of youthful exuberance. It’s a dynamic and exciting place to grow and learn.”