Childcare and Pre-school Education

Understand the choices available for childcare and pre-school education in Russia...

After a child reaches the age of 18 months, working Russian mothers usually return to their job and arrange some kind of childcare. The most common form of this is nurseries, where toddlers can stay for a half-day, full day or sometimes even at night, if necessary. Alternatively, if grandparents are available to look after a child, this is the second most popular option.

As far as organised childcare is concerned, there are both state and private-run facilities. State-run nurseries and kindergartens accommodate as many toddlers as possible, regardless of the status and aspirations of the parents. Particularly in Moscow, this means that these environments provide a generous mix of nationalities, cultures and accents, but may overlook the child’s individual needs or cause the development of certain inhibitions.

Private nurseries, however, may offer a more homogenous environment, with other children most likely being from similar social backgrounds. There is also more focus more on the development of children and on preparing them for school.

The biggest problem an expatriate family may encounter is finding a place at nursery for their child. For Russian parents it is common to sign up for a place in the chosen nursery soon after the child is born. Particularly in Moscow, preference is given to Russian citizens and permanent residents.

The English-language website Children in Moscow has lots of useful information and advice on bringing up a child in Moscow. In particular, it provides a list of expatriate-friendly nurseries in various Moscow districts with contact information.

Nannies

In recent years, the employing of nannies and babysitters has become more popular, usually by well-off Russians families and of some foreign nationals. A nanny essentially spends most of the day with the child, takes care of meals, going out for walks and entertainment, and also partakes in education. It is not uncommon for such a nanny to speak one or two foreign languages.

To find out more about nannies, babysitters and housekeepers and to advertise vacancies, see the websites below:

Babysitting services can also be found through word-of-mouth.