Preschool options in Moscow include both local Russian schools and international alternatives.
The influx of expats has inspired an expansion of the preschool services offered, so there are many options for expats looking for preschools in Russia.
The Russian schooling system begins at the age of six when children attend primary school, but many parents choose to send their youngsters to preschools, nurseries or kindergartens to prepare them for the education system.
Preschools in Moscow tend to accept children from the age of two and a half and some nurseries and kindergartens from a younger age – around 18 months old. There are many Russian municipal preschools in Moscow but are traditionally heavily oversubscribed. As a result there are now many private international preschools, a popular option for expats.
Selecting a preschool in Moscow
If you want your child to attend one of the municipal preschools and learn in a Russian environment, you will need to attend the school in question and enroll. If a place is available your child will be accepted, but you will most likely need to go onto a waiting list until a place becomes available.
If one of the international schools is your preferred choice there are several to choose from, all of which teach an English and American curriculum. The majority of international preschools have “baby clubs” for children aged around two and a half years to help their development through the early years of schooling.
There are childcare facilities and schools for children up to the age of 17 that are provided by The English International School. This has a choice of two locations, one in the east of Moscow and the other in the west. Rosinka, meanwhile, is another option with a kindergarten and after-school clubs available in addition to a Cambridge School style education. There are many others and a comprehensive list is featured at www.childreninmoscow.ru or www.evans.com.ru/rent/school. Contact details are included.
The British and American embassies offer links to several institutions that offer full schooling facilities as well as day care for children aged between 18 months and four years old. Children of embassy staff can avail childcare from as young as 6 weeks. There are also half-day preschooling options for those aged three and four to prepare them for the demands of full-time education.
Sad Sam’s and Busy Bees are two of the most popular private kindergartens with children taught in both English and Russian, while at Little Angel’s the teaching is more oriented around Russian language. The English Nursery School, Children of the World preschool and English Playschool Moscow are other English preschools popular with parents. The latter runs a Baby Club for children aged between 1–3 and international school for those aged between 3–9. Smilik is a preschool offered by the Montessori School in the heart of Moscow that is open all year round and is ideal for parents seeking to balance childcare arrangements with work.
Typical day at school
Most preschools in Moscow are open from 8.30am until 5.00pm or 6.00pm. In addition, some will offer a late pick-up service up to 7.00pm to help accommodate the needs of working parents.
Teaching is predominantly in English but some lessons will be in Russian. These will typically include counting, words, drawing, painting, music and other educational tasks aimed at preparing the children for the beginning of their formal schooling.