Kids are kids

Students at the Kindergarten are excited to see one of my balloon creations, a buzzing bee.

No matter where you go, kids are kids.  Today, we spent more time at Zaporizhia Classical Lyceum, and we also visited a “kindergarten,” which is the word that they use here for a nursery school.

Kindergartens here are public and officially they are free for any child age two to six.  I use the word “officially” because I get the impression that sometimes parents are asked to donate money or need to give bribes to get students in.  The one we visited today is one of the better ones in the area.  Like in the United States, parents need to get on a waiting list when the baby is born to get them into the kindergarten of their choice.

A classroom at the Kindergarten. As you can see, they have lots of resources.

The school we visited is open for many hours — from 6:30 am until the evening. From two years old, they have structured classes to attend. We observed classes of gymnastics, painting, English language, music, writing, and more.  The students have class from 8:30 until lunch, and then there’s a nap room they sleep in.  The school appears to have many resources, from stuffed animals and other toys to a swimming pool and sauna. Class size is approximately one teacher for every ten children.

A young student plays on an obstacle course with her mother.


We also spent more time at Zaporizhia Classical Lyceum.  In the English classes that we’ve visited, they use multiple methods of instruction.

Students in 2nd Form say hello

They have workbooks for grammar exercises and CDs to listen to songs and readings.  They also ask students to share opinions and information about themselves.
The teachers here also value games and activities that get students moving.  For example, we observed our host teacher, Lydia, leading a quiz game where teams of first grade students competed against each other to remember English vocabulary. Like in the United States, the game made students excited and they had a hard time controlling their enthusiasm:

Lydia and Lumilla with their 10th form students

Overall, the students are very formal in the classroom. They dress in button down shirts and nice slacks and skirts. They stand when the teacher enters and are very polite.  They are taught to recite answers, poems, and songs. However, when we see the way that the teachers here interact with the students outside of class, it’s clear the relationship is warm and anything but formal. Our host teacher, Lydia, gets phone calls on her cell phone from parents of her students, and she follows their growth from when they are very little until they are adults. It’s clear that the relationship is personal and she knows her students well.

The Classical Lyceum "Couch Area"

Tonight we had a traditional dinner with Lydia, the principal, and two other teachers. We had a grand time!  The kindness and warmth make Zaporizhya feel like home.  Soon, I will post photos of our wonderful evening.

Categories: Ukraine

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13 replies »

  1. whoa! it’s cool that Zaporizhya holds many nice people! just thinking about it makes me want to go there myself!
    the schools look nice, too. when i saw the picture of the swimming pool (at least, i THINK it was a swimming pool), i wondered if the children would be safe in it, and thought about how fun it would be to go there myself!
    i thought the video was really funny (the good kind of funny)! it made me laugh a lot!
    Enjoy your stay!

  2. Tagging on to Anna’s comment I think that the people looked really nice. The picture of the kindergarten classroom looks a bit like my preschool. I like your buzzing bee too. 🙂 From the blog posts it looks like you are having a lot of fun in Ukraine. Have fun!

  3. The caption under the picture of the 10th form confused me what does “form” mean is it some sort of grade like we use in America?

  4. It’s really cool to see all the difference and similarities from the US. It’s really cool how they have a pool for kindergarten. They have so many resources and they seem to keep the students very active. The video was really funny and kind of a smart idea. Every one seems so friendly and the kids are really formal it’s probably really nice.

  5. Schools in the U.S. are pretty different from this one in Ukraine, I can tell that they are due to this passage.

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