Besides going to classes every day and doing their homework, Sasha Shapiro’15, Danielle Collette’15, Mackenzie King’15 and Caroline Elkin’15 are studying the everyday life of Muscovites. Last week the students visited a Moscow kindergarten, where they talked to the children about Russia and America, played with them, and taught them some English words.
Mackenzie King observed, “When we went to visit the kindergarten, I was just expecting a typical kindergarten. In fact, I was shocked by the differences between American and Russian kindergartens. Although many kindergartens closed after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the historical focus on early childhood education created a strong foundation on which to continue. Not only are meals served to all the children (as opposed to lunch boxes) and not only do the children nap in actual beds (instead of mats on the floor), the cost is so much cheaper than pre-school in the U.S! I also had the privilege of watching a group of 5-year olds perform several folk songs and dances. All in all, it was a great time!”
For Caroline Elkin, “There were many differences (the age range is more like preschool plus kindergarten; they eat freshly cooked breakfast, lunch, and snack; naps are taken on actual beds in a separate room), but the overall impression was of similarities. All of the children were excited to see us; just like in the US, some were visibly shy, and some just wanted to show that they could count in English. My favorite part of the experience was observing the children’s personalities. I still feel like Russian adults have markedly different personalities from American adults, but the children, like kids everywhere, were just enjoying themselves.”