What to do with the kids after school


Cālis.lv is among Web sites that may help readers find after-school activities for children in Rīga.

Having recently moved to Rīga with the family for an extended period of time, one of the tasks that lay ahead was to organise after-school activities for my children. After deciding on the school the kids would attend we learnt that school in Latvia finishes at lunchtime and then the kids need to be kept busy during the afternoon.

To find out more about the options for extracurricular activities a logical place to start was the Web.


The first port of call was Cālis.lv, a portal for families. It sounded like it could be the place for all my answers. Agnese Vidnere, then living in Finland, began the site in 2001. On the site, a “Cāļenciklopedija” (literally, a “chicken encyclopedia,” but cāļi in this case means children) provides all manner of advice on child-rearing, from how to handle the temper tantrums of 2-year-olds, to tips on buying prams and strollers, to parents’ thoughts on pocketmoney dos and don’ts. Also in the encyclopedia are sections on pregnancy, a place to find baby names, and finally—success!—activities for pre-schoolers. Parents have posted their experiences, so other visitors get to read both good and bad reviews on schools, daycare centres and sports activities.

Rīga government

But where is an easily navigated list of after-school activities? I was still none the wiser when it came to the big picture. Suddenly, I found one: the Rīga City Education, Youth and Sport Department Youth Direction,www.rsdc.lv/jln. Although the graphic design side of the site is definitely lacking, the information is both in English and Latvian, and seems to be a pretty comprehensive listing of government-funded extra- curricular activities. This does not mean that every institution has its own Web site, but phone numbers and addresses are certainly a good starting point. For more information on sporting options in Riga there’s Sports Rīgā  however, this is more a list of government departments involved in sports.


Then there’s E-Skola, an absolute goldmine of information. Run by the city government, the site is meant for those who are involved in children’s education in Rīga. Published only in Latvian, it is obviously aimed at informing the locals, those who work in education or who live in Latvia and seeking education-related information. Nevertheless, there are quite a few gems to be found here, such as details on the process involved in getting your child into the prestige schools in Rīga, competitions that children can enter during the school year, a recently founded parents’ committee and its involvement in educational matters and much more.

I had to remind myself this was not the information I was originally after and, as is often the case with Web surfing, I had to pull myself away from this tempting tangent.

The result of this exercise? I have found a few leads for sporting activities for my son, which I can now follow up with phone calls.


Daina Gross is editor of Latvians Online. An Australian-Latvian she is also a migration researcher at the University of Latvia, PhD from the University of Sussex, formerly a member of the board of the World Federation of Free Latvians, author and translator/ editor/ proofreader from Latvian into English of an eclectic mix of publications of different genres.

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