The Chicago Estonian School opened its doors on April 9th, 1967. The mission was to offer Estonians living outside of Estonia an enriched curriculum that provided not only the basics of learning the Estonian language, but also subjects and opportunities that introduced Estonian culture and traditions. These subjects included reading, writing, literature, singing, folk-dancing, history, and geography. The school’s main goal was to bring together Estonian youth living outside of Estonia and introducing them to the wealth of Estonian ethnic culture. The school was subject to the Estonian House, and the school began with the creation of two governing bodies: parent and faculty councils.
The Estonian School commenced with their program in September of 1968. In the first year there were 23 students. Classes were held twice a month on Saturdays. The peak year was 1970-71, when 33 students and 5 teachers. The school was active in the Estonian House for 19 years, until 1987, when due to a decrease in the number of students, the school was discontinued. During the 19 school years there were 72 students in attendance.
On September 28th 2008, the Estonian school opened its doors once again. With 17 registered children, classes were arranged into 3 groups: 3-5 yr olds, 6-10 yr olds and 11-13 yr olds.
Currently, Chicago Estonian School meets twice a month on Sundays. In 2016-2017 we have about 50 registered students in 7 different levels, to make sure each age group receives appropriate materials and instructions. We teach Estonian literature, history, arts and crafts, theatre, chorus, cooking and much more.
Last 3 summers, we also got together during the summer for a fun summer camp, and have a sleepover at Estonian House, which is our campers’ favorite each year. In this camp children are able to learn more about Estonia and Estonian language, through activities and games, and make new friends.
Throughout the school year we go on outings; meet up and have fun together, is it then going to a pumpkin patch or petting zoo. Our goal is to strengthen our Estonian community and help our children to create strong friendships with other Estonian children.
We always welcome new Estonian children to join our school and community. For more information, email Pille Armpalu McQuillen at email@example.com.