So our 3 year old daughter started preschool this week. She’s been excited about going to “school” since the spring. In fact, it was a huge motivating factor in getting her potty trained. We are three days in right now and things are going fairly well.
Here, preschools are called детский сад, literally children’s garden. This particular детский сад accepts children ages 3-6. At 6 they go on to school. There are daycares that will accept children under 3. 2 years seems to be the younger end of acceptance in Kyrgyzstan. I think I remember that in Almaty, Kazakhstan many parents would have their children in daycare at 1 year old. It seems in Central Asia you will definitely not find a daycare that would take children under 1.
Kirsten’s детский сад starts the first Monday of September and goes through the end of May. Most are closed during the summer months. We took Kirsten to her детский сад on Tuesday to let her see the place again and for us to get specific instructions for her to start on Wednesday. Most of the kids started on Monday but we had just gotten back in town Sunday evening so we all needed a few days to recoup from our trip. The director told us that we could drop her off as early as 8:20am, most kids arrived around 9am, and things really started at 9:30am with breakfast. They serve lunch at 12:30pm and nap from 1-3pm. The day ends at 5pm. Kirsten has only been doing mornings so far. Kirsten’s class has 13 3-4 year olds and one teacher. (What a brave young woman!)
We asked what Kirsten needed to bring. Number one for the kids to have….тапочки! (slippers) Scott and I hadn’t predicted that one so we made a quick bazaar run Tuesday evening for some slippers. The kids take their shoes off at the door and then wear their slippers inside. Kirsten loves her slippers! We also brought a change of clothes for her and we are still on the lookout for a small backpack.
Kirsten is struggling with understanding the Russian spoken by her teacher, and the Russian and Kyrgyz spoken by the other kids, but I think she is proud to be at school. Language learning is a huge undertaking for all of us, her included, but we know that in this preschool environment she’ll be more motivated to learn Russian and use it with the kids around her. Hang in there Kirsten!