View Full Version : School for a 5-year old

07-06-2004, 21:54
Hi everybody!
I'm about to move to Moscow from the US. My 5-year old daughter would be going to kindergarten if we'd still be here. I thought it'd be no problem to get her into the age appropriate program in Moscow. However, AAS is currently having a huge waiting list with a little, if any, possibility to get into the school this September. I checked with BIS but didn't get an answer from them yet. I'm aware of the prices but my biggest concern is not to stress my kid more that she'll be stressed anyway by moving to another country. I'm wondering about how many English NATIVE speakers are in BIS among students as well as teachers so she would fit as much as it'd be possible into the program. My daughter doesn't speak Russian. Any experience of dealing with such a problem? Suggestions/advices are welcomed and highly appreciated.

07-06-2004, 22:09
The Montessori groups have a bi-lingual programme (phone: 108 20 88, 786 67 11), I've never been there but I have a couple of friends who have taken their children their and were satisfied. It should also be, from what I understood, pretty close to the "original theory" (much disputed, but this is not relevant here...) meaning that they make sure that children feel comfortable and integrated. I'd give it a try, they also only want $120 per month, which is a bit more comfortable than BIS or the American school. Good luck!

07-06-2004, 23:35
Thanks! I'll definetely give it a try. Actually, my daughter has been attending the Montessori school for a year now and we are quite happy with it. So, I wouldn't mind to continue in this direction if their kindergarten program complies with the American one, at least to the satisfactory degree :).

08-06-2004, 08:07
OK, something is wrong here! The bilingual Montessori that I talked to charges $900!! I don't know about $120 for a bilingual programme, seems waaaay below the average tuition. I hope I am wrong!

08-06-2004, 11:31
I signed my four-year old up for Playschool Moscow, which I visited last year and liked very much, although we haven't any practical experience with it yet. It works out to be about 1000US a month, I think. It seemed, at least, much more down to earth than AAS.


Leninsky Prospekt 87a
Moscow 117261
tel 134 2006

08-06-2004, 12:04
Well, if you call the numbers that I posted (lifted from Vash Dosug) you can find out what they offer. There is a playgroup/nursery school at the American Embassy too, I can't remember how much they charge, but it is certainly more than $120 and less than $1000.

14-06-2004, 22:29
the american embassy charges 5$ an hour, it works out by blocks of time but figure it out for half day about $400 a month, full day up to $800...

21-06-2004, 18:33
Thanks for the numbers and references!
The latest update from BIS situation. The number of English native speakers in their kindergarten, or 1st grade, program is very low, about 1 english speaking kid to 3 russians. So, I doubt that this kind of proportion would work in the way they want it to work, i.e. russian kids picking up english from the native speakers... The teachers are English speaking but no Americans. Some British, Australian, Cnandian, Indian... Very diverse if to talk about accents and everything. I like diversity but not that much.
So, I guess, I'll be looking for alternatives.

21-06-2004, 20:33
and whats wrong with Canadians? Don't you know we don't have any accent, lol? :)
I agree with you on the proportions though, it will work better if you have a Russian speaking kid and want him/her to learn English.

22-06-2004, 23:42
Oh, common, I meant nothing against anybody! I love the sound of Canadian English if to talk about accents and everything. What I meant exactly was the exposion of a 5-year old for a half a day 5 days a week to such different versions of the same language... In addition to Russian language everywhere... My kid, I believe, is still too young to be able to maintain her English well enough, not to mention further development, in the conditions like these.

22-06-2004, 23:49
My father is from Brooklyn and has a strong NYC accent; my mother is Canadian. I grew up in NY and later in the NY suburbs.

I had no problem whatsoever with the discrepancy between their speech patterns, or with any of my teachers including one from the deep South - however, my own accent is closer to my mother's and does not match my passport ;).

No insult to Indians, but they indeed do speak with a completely different accent, and that could be very confusing to a child. Ditto for Australians - a friend of mine from Oz once spoke to me about his work with an E-mail service that to me sounded like MILE.ru - it is of course mail.ru!

23-06-2004, 09:28
The teachers at the Anglo-American school may be on the whole native English speakers but they have varying accents - American, Canadian, South African, varying English accents (Manchester and Cambridge do NOT have the same accents!!!!) - and they have a few Indians there as well. I have not noticed any problem with my children, either with speaking or with comprehension - and their accent veers towards a mild north American, which is apparently the most common there.

24-06-2004, 16:46
About accents. I really have some issues here to worry about. I am Russian and English is not my first language although for some years I has been using it as much, or even more, as Russian. And no matter how hard I try my accent is as heavy as it could be. Recently, my friend told me that a year ago, when her and my kid started to play together, she could tell right away that my kid had Russian parents because she HAD some Russian accent. After 1 year at school, her accent is a history now. However, this is something I'm still thinking about, i.e. the susceptibility of a young child to different accents. One more thing: we live in NY surburb, in a very homogeneous community where, fortunately or unfortunately, live almost none of first generation immigrants. So, there is no exposure to so called 'NY language diversity' whatsoever. I am the only diversity here... My kid has no experience of dealing with other than Russian accents, that's what I mean... And again, the only thing I have in mind is keeping the level of the stress for my kid as low as possible. If you say I may be exaggerating here, I would 100% agree with you because I'm stressed already to my very bottom with all that moving stuff and everything and probably lost the ability to judge my life fairly and reasonably :).

24-06-2004, 17:42
An accent! Goodness! Receptiveness to accents as well as to languages varies to an extreme. Most people I know grew up moving around a lot and kids in one family even when exposed to same accents ended up with different ones, the same in my family. What's more nowadays and even more in the future neither you nor your child are going to be exposed to "accent free" English. Please, free yourself from the burden of worrying about it, she might even enjoy it...... we did (and still do)!!!

25-06-2004, 10:53
Are you both Russian and speak English at home?

My POV is a bit different from yours.

I am Russian and husband is Canadian, so we speak English at home and I speak English 99.9% of the time. My 4yo does not speak Russian other than a few phrases and words.
I thought that moving to Moscow from Canada this summer would be an excellent opportunity for him to learn Russian (which I tried here and he is not learning from *just* me).
I am considering putting him in a bi-lingual (something similar to UNESCO) kindergarten (=preschool in North American terms) so that he learns Russian and then for Grade 1 put him in BIS. I son't worry about accents at all. I even think its a good thing to be exposed to them. Just my opinion though :)

27-06-2004, 02:50
Do come on with the accent thing!
I have been in Russia for a year so far, with my now-almost-5 year old and my now-10 year old who both arrived last year speaking not a single word of Russian.
However, in the US we moved about a lot and travelled even more, and my kids had exposure to the full variety of accents, from NJ to Louisiana to California, where we had some quite exotic babysitters, including a woman who spoke only Chinese (which none of us do)
During this year here, my daughters had very different experiences.
My older one went to the BIS (year 5, school 2 in the BIS, which is Key Stage 2 school in the NOrthern Campus).
My general (and dissapointing at that) observation with the BIS has been, that it is dominated by Russian kids. Nothing against Russians -- I am Russian myself -- but my daughter didn't really get a 100-percent adequate level of communication with anyone among her classmates. Sure, they all could speak English quite well, but one could tell easily that it was not their native language, and many of them were brought to school by parents who didn't speak a word of English at all.
The 30-40 percent of none-Russian kids there were, however, largely also ESL's -- people from Korea, China, all over the place. I considere that wonderful and I have nothing to say against diversity, but these were all children for whom English was not the first language - not the language they preferred, not the language they dreamt their dreams in. THAT was somewhat of a problem for my daughter, and in that landscape anyone who is a native speaker, whatever accent they had, was a godsend to her. On the 1st of September, there were no other people from the US in our class. One girl from Alaska arrived later and they became best friends -- she was a lovely girl, but I thought how ironic that was. Under average circumstances in the US< a child from Alaska and one from San Francisco woul have a harder time finding that much in common, but here little was needed -- hey, they both knew what N'SYNC was!
However, I discovered -- mainly in search for alternatives -- that it is most important, at least for an older kid, that they can adequately communicate with teachers and staff. Sire, there are no amerians at teh BIS< they are all British and Australian. But hey, the British invented the language and my daughter listened to hours of Harry POtter CD recordings.... Her homeroom teacher was Australian this year. I had, I admit it, some trouble understanding everything he says, but she didn't seem to have any. I guess it takes getting used to.... I mean, in all it is much better that a Russian teacher would be for a girl who doesn';t know a word of Russian, which is what she would have gotten elsewhere.
I heard there are tons of Russian kids at the AAS as well.
As far as my younger daughter, I was -- and still am -- very concerned that she will lose her English now. We speak only English at home, but she has been attending a Russian preschool and picked up quite some Russian (although she is making very funny mistakes, speaking like a real tourist). I stopped worrying, however - I am now convinced that so long as she keeps talking in English only with her mother and sister, the language won;t be lost. At the same time, there is virtually no hope that it would be preserved in an original state, with full- scale dictionary she'd be acquiring in the Englishlanguage environment...
I do believe as does another poster, that in the BIS she'd be in the 5 percent of English speakers at best, or less. Most real native English speakers living in MOscow try to get their kids to learn Russian instead and send them to Russian schools to become bilingual, especially with kids that young.
If you are here for a short time, consider the BIS, butid only out of concern that a child should be able to comfortably communicate with staff. There won;t be tons of English speaking kids there.
And forget the accent thing -- it really will change as long as you move about. Hey, we lived in Louisiana when my daughter was in 1st grade, and I was terrified at the accent she started showing there! Ever since that time, I cant stand people complaining about British accent. They do not know their luck!

27-06-2004, 06:37
If you want a "least change" situation then you'll need to choose Hinkson Christian Academy or the Anglo-American. Your child will feel as though he/she is in an American school. The accents will tend towards "television english."

Ned Kelly
30-06-2004, 11:14
my mum said when she was in refugee camps after the war (aged 5ish) she was speaking around 6-7 languages - some similar to russian (her native language), polish, ukrainian etc, some like the baltic languages that weren't at all.

i think kids should be exposed to the maximum number of languages when young - the supposed slowing of thinking is more than compensated in it opening lots of new doors (in ned's humble opinion).

30-06-2004, 20:01
I agree with this. Especially when you have such a wonderful opportunity to have an international experince!

02-07-2004, 17:37
OK, guys, I guess I have to calm down about the accents now :). Want to add some words about language development. Me and my husband are both Russian, and we've been speaking Russian at home exclusively. However, my 5-year-old doesn't speak Russian at all and, as you can understand, there is very little possibility we can really force her to do it. She understands Russian perfectly but there is no speaking it whatsoever. I accepted the situation long ago and just decided to move along with what we have here and deal with it later :).
Because we're going to spend 2-3 years in Moscow, I was, and still, wondering about the ways how to preserve, at least, and to develop further, as my aim, my kid's English as if she would do by herself naturally here in the US. That's why I was so concerned about number of Russian kids in BIS or elsewhere. My husband visited BIS, btw, and told me that for the money they charge it looked more like a fraud. Never been there but I tend to trust him on this matter. So, we signed our kid into Playschool Moscow school and the teacher in her class will be a Canadian guy :). I hope they are as good as they seem to be :).
Again, I'll try to relax about the accent problem now and start preparing myself to meet some other problems I've already very well forgotten while living abroad for so many years :). Thanks for involvement!

02-07-2004, 19:30
Hey Libra,
Glad to see you signed your child up at Playschool Moscow - I don't know how it will turn out in terms of native Russian vs. English speaking kids, but at least there'll be one four year old boy who's a native English (American) speaker - my son! It occurs to me that it might be helpful for language development, too, to work out some kind of play group arrangement - I know that was posted on the site before, but I have yet to hear the response. Anyway, something to think about. Contact me off-list any time if you like: mmiller@brandeis.edu