The Konstantin Päts school-sanatorium
Walking along the Pirita riverbank and then a short stretch along the Vabaõhukooli Street, we reach the Tallinn Konstantin Päts Vabaõhukool (open-air school), the oldest Estonian school-sanatorium.
The set of buildings is an architectural monument and under heritage protection. The construction work started on 10 September 1935. A competition for design ideas was announced, in which the winning entry was a design by Estonian woman architect Paula Delachier-Ilves who had lived in Paris. Drawings were produced by architect Konstantin Bölau. Construction was finished in January 1936. The school opened its doors on 1 March 1938. The school-sanatorium was established by the Main Administration of the Estonian Red Cross with the support of President Konstantin Päts. The first director, Juhan Kull, dreamed of a school garden, for which Konstantin Päts donated 2.5 ha of his own land.
The aim of the school was to enable children with poor health, suffering say from anemia, malnutrition and dismal living conditions to spend as much time in fresh air and nature as possible. Role models here were West-European countries, where principles of open-air education had already widely spread. Bedrooms were designed with open balconies. Classrooms had a bellow-like wall, which opened to the adjacent terrace, where lessons took place in fine weather. A park was established around the school, with paths, various playgrounds and sporting facilities, swings, slides and gymnastics equipment. During the summer holidays the house was a holiday venue for children.
Times changed and in 1941 the school became a German military hospital, in 1944 it housed a Soviet marine hospital. The school started again on 1 September 1948, and was now called Kose-Lükati Sanatorium-Forest School. The principles remained the same.
Since 2010 the school has been under renovation. The modern school, which is temporarily housed in the dormitory of the Academy of Security Services in Kase Street, is meant for children with emotional and behavioural disorders; some smaller classes cater for children with autism spectrum disorders and those with hyperactivity and attention disorders.
A grantite memorial stone stands in the meadow by the river on the school territory. It bears the text: In summer 1944 the Estonian Air Force lads began the fight for their fatherland from here in Kose-Lükati.
Audio: Garmen Tabor