In preschool child care institutions, children have the right to get help from teachers for acquisition of material foreseen in curricula. The preschool child care institution’s curriculum establishes the principles and organisation of support for the development of a child with special needs. The director of the institution is accountable for the teamwork that is required for supporting the development of children with special educational needs, including talented children. At the beginning of a school year, teachers working with the group shall draw up an individual curriculum for the child, in cooperation with a speech therapist/a special education teacher and other specialists and parents, if necessary. The preschool child care institution supports families with a different language and cultural background in familiarizing the child with their own language and culture and in valuing Estonian language and culture.
According to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, teachers must monitor a student’s development and coping at school and if necessary, adjust study to meet the needs of the student. In order to develop a student’s abilities and talents, schools must find out the student’s individual learning needs, choose appropriate study methods and organise differentiated study if necessary. The school provides a student who has difficulties in performing the duty to attend school or lags behind in achieving the study outcomes with general support: individual additional instruction by a teacher, the services of the support specialists, study assistance lessons individually or in a group.
The services of the support specialists include the services of a speech therapist, special education teacher, school psychologist or social educator supporting the student’s development, studies corresponding to the student’s abilities and social skills in the process of study.
Tasks of support specialists:
- a special education teacher - establishing the level of a student’s development and learning skills and identifying the factors affecting the student’s development and the learning needs; instructing and advising teachers on planning and conducting a student’s studies; preparation and conduct of remedial instruction group and individual lessons;
- a speech therapist - assessing a student’s communicative abilities, identifying students with communication disorders, supporting the development of their speech and writing, and recommending them a suitable communication environment; supporting teachers in developing, restoring and compensating for students’ communicative abilities;
- a psychologist at school - assessing the factors (psychic processes, personal characteristics, emotional condition, mental health problems, communication and behavioural skills) affecting a student’s psychological development and coping in the process of study; advising a student on tackling the issues related with a student’s personal life, studies and mental health, on developing cognitive processes, intellectual performance, behavioural and communication skills, and on making study and career choices; supporting a student and advising the parent and the school staff on organising support for overcoming a crisis situation;
- a social educator - assessing a student’s social skills and analysing the factors that prevent the student from engaging in age-appropriate activities, forming and supporting a student’s communication skills and social competencies; mapping of and coordinating the prevention and management of social problems and the problems that prevent the student from the performance of the duty to attend school occurring at school.
Where a student needs enhanced support or special support, an external support team and specialists in the field of education, social and health care are involved in the assessment of the student’s need for support. The volume and content of the applied support are not so much dependent on the student’s medical diagnosis or an established disability than the kind of organisation of study and support services the student needs.
The owner of the school creates and the head of school organises opportunities for the implementation of the services of support specialists. For the provision of the services, the head of school employs necessary support specialists or organises the availability of the services in another manner.
Upon request by a student or a student’s official representative to receive a service or where a need for a service emerges, the school shall create an opportunity for the student to have a conversation with the support person individually not later than within a week. In case of an accident or in a situation where the life or health of the student, or other students, is threatened, the student shall receive the service at the first opportunity but not later than the next working day.
The task of a psychologist at school is assessing the factors (psychic processes, personal characteristics, emotional condition, mental health problems, communication and behavioural skills) affecting a student’s psychological development and coping in the process of study; advising a student on tackling the issues related with a student’s personal life, studies and mental health, on developing cognitive processes, intellectual performance, behavioural and communication skills, and on making study and career choices; supporting a student and advising the parent and the school staff on organising support for overcoming a crisis situation.
Every general education school shall organise notification of their students of the possibilities for continuing studies and the general trends on the labour market and ensure the availability of career services (career studies, information or counselling).
Career counselling both in general education schools and vocational schools is conducted by career specialists who work in county educational support services centres. In schools career studies and the development thereof are organised by the person conducting career studies or a career co-ordinator. A career information specialist creates, collects and intermediates information related to labour market and education.
A career advisor supports people in career planning; he or she helps to increase self-awareness, awareness of the learning opportunities and the labour market, set up goals and plan activities to achieve these goals.
At the beginning of 2019, the career services of the centres of Foundation Innove Rajaleidja and the development thereof were integrated into the career service system of Töötukassa (the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund). The services are provided by Töötukassa.