Choosing a school for a child in Moscow can be a very difficult decision for parents, whether they are Russian, foreign or from a mixed-nationality family. Schoolteachers, administrators and parents shared some questions parents should ask to help them choose the right school for their child.
• Where will your child attend university? If you think your child will eventually attend a college or university in the U.S., Britain, Europe or Russia, you need to make sure he or she is on the right academic track to graduate with the appropriate degree or certificate. While it is possible to switch programs or combine them, it is easier for the child to start one program and stick with it.
• What subjects is your child most interested in? While every school provides a full range of academic subjects, many schools tend to excel in particular areas. Some parents recommend Russian schools for children interested in math and science, private Moscow schools for the humanities and languages, and specialized schools abroad for the arts. See if the school you are considering offers intensive programs in the subjects your child likes, and ask if graduates go on to study that subject at the university level.
• What is the student body like? Do you want your child to socialize with children from other countries or your Russian neighbors? When you and your child visit potential schools, make sure your child sees kids he or she would like to be friends with.
• How independent is your child? Some kids are thrilled to go to school abroad and do not miss their parents for a moment. Other children are homesick, find it difficult to adjust and make friends. Try sending your child abroad for a short summer program before committing to a private school abroad. Be sure that your academic plans for your child fit his or her psychological profile.
• Where is the school located? When choosing a school, it seems that the last issue is its location in Moscow. But when you are running out the door at 5 a.m. every morning to beat the rush hour or sitting in traffic for three hours every evening, you will not care about academic excellence or a supportive environment. Make sure you have a reliable and convenient plan to get your child to and from school every day.
After School at the Museum
Almost all of Moscow's museums offer special programs for kids — everything from interactive tours to hands-on learning. If your child shows an aptitude for the arts or a passion for science, consider spending afternoons at a museum.
For Young Naturalists
The Darwin Museum offers two programs for children — one for kids who want to tramp around in the great outdoors and the other is for kids who want to draw what they see. The BioGroup is for children who are at least 11 years old and eager to head outside to make discoveries. Call 499-134-6124 for more information. For children who are more interested in depicting nature through art, there is a studio for preschool and young schoolchildren up to seven years old that provides drawing, painting, composition and art history. For more information call 499-763-2254 or visit darwin.museum.ru. The museum is located at 57/1 Vavilova Ulitsa.
A Teaching Museum Keeps Teaching
The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts was originally conceived by its founder, Ivan Tsvetayev, as a place where Russians could see and experience the world of art from ancient times up to modernity. Today it still emphasizes its educational mission with dozens of group activities for children as young as 5 years old. There are classes that explore ancient civilizations of the world, the arts of the Renaissance, archeology, and numismatics. There are family groups for parents and their preschoolers that introduce tykes to art and music and encourage creativity. And there are groups where preschoolers divide their time between the glorious art in the museum halls and the masterpieces they create at their own easels. Most of the groups and classes begin in September, so be sure to sign up your children during the summer. More information can be found at the website arts-museum.ru or by telephone 495-697-7496. The museum is located at 12 Ulitsa Volkhonka.
Creating Among Masterpieces
The Tretyakov Gallery on Lavrushinsky Pereulok has offered a children's art class for more than 20 years. The class for preschool and young schoolchildren is limited in size, so getting accepted is not easy. Every fall, 15 talented youngsters learn how to become artists in a classroom nestled in the center of one of the world's finest museums. For more information, visit tretyakovgallery.ru or call 495-957-0728. The museum is located at 12 Lavrushinsky Pereulok.
The New Tretyakov Gallery has more classes for kids and their parents. The littlest Kandinskys-in-training can attend creative workshops with their parents. Older budding Goncharovas can take classes in art history or creativity. Classes begin at various times during the year and are held either after school or on the weekends. For more information, vidit tretyakovgallery.ru or call 499-230-0313. The New Tretyakov is located at 10 Krymsky Val.
For Little History Buffs
The Museum of Moscow offer a variety of classes for kids and their parents. Kids interested in the history of Moscow might enjoy the Sunny Capital studio at the Moscow Museum, where they can learn about how the city was built, what Muscovites wore in the Middle Ages, and how they defended themselves against unfriendly neighbors. For more information, call 495-739-0008 (ex.1060). The Moscow Museum also runs classes on medieval math, trade, and navigation based on artifacts from the Old English Court. For more information, call 495-739-0008 (ex 1035). The Archeological Museum has a number of classes for Indiana Jones wannabes. For more information, call 495-739-0008 (ex 1091). The museum also conducts parent-child classes in painting and sculpture for kids aged 5 and older. To sign up, call 985-113-4233. And there are also free hour-long classes in painting every Thursday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Call 985-113-4233 to register ahead of time. For more information about these and other museum programs see mosmuseum.ru. The Museum of Moscow and children's center is located at 2 Zubovsky Bulvar.