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Soviet preschools

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Soviet preschools 1918-1921
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King, Kennard Z
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Education, Preschool -- Soviet Union ( lcsh )
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theses ( marcgt )
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 38-43).
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Department of History.
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by Kennard Z. King.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Full Text
SOVIET PRESCHOOLS : 1918-1921
by
Kennard Z. King
B.A. University of Denver, 1975
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Department of History
1989


This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by
Kennard Z. King
has been approved for the
Department of History
by
Date


King, Kennard Z. (M.A., History)
Soviet Preschools : 1918-1921
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Mary S. Conroy
This thesis is an examination of Soviet preschools
from 1918 to 1921. Its purpose is to understand what the
early Soviet communists wanted to create in the U.S.S.R.
To this end it considers : the effects of Western pre-
school theories on Soviet educators, the theories of
preschools themselves, and the extent to which preschool
education has been offered to Soviet citizens in the
U.S.S.R.
The conclusions are threefold : firstly, the West had
an astounding degree of influence on Soviet preschool
theories; secondly, the Soviet Union attached importance
to creating an "individual"; and, lastly, the U.S.S.R.
failed to provide universal free preschool education to
its citizens.
The form and content of this abstract are approved.
I recommend its publication.
Signed
ary
History)


iv
CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION ..................................... 1
II. THE WESTERN INFLUENCE ON SOVIET PEDAGOGICAL
THEORY............................................. 5
III. THE DREAM : THE THEORIES OF PRESCHOOL
EDUCATION ....................................... 20
IV. THE REALITY : WHERE HAVE ALL THE CHILDREN
GONE ? .......................................... 30
CONCLUSION .......................................... 36
BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................ 38
ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
40


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
This thesis focuses on the theories and practice of
preschool education during the incipient period of the
Soviet Russian state, 1918-1921. Why preschool education,
one may well ask. My answer : what the new Soviet
government wanted to do with children is essentially what
they wanted to do with their future. Through an examina-
tion of the theories of preschool education one can learn
a great deal more about what the early Soviet revolution-
aries hoped to create in their society. This is of
particular importance today in the midst of the Gorbachev
reform era. Obviously, officials in the Soviet government
today are painfully aware of the egregious errors of the
Stalin period. Only through a thorough re-examination of
the earliest periods of the Soviet state can we gain a
complete understanding of what Gorbachev might be hoping
for today.
This is not a new area of scholarship. Moshe Levin
in his Leninas Last Struggle (New York, 1968), and
T.H. Rigby in his Leninas Government : Sovnarkom 1917-1922
(London, 1979) are but two examples of recent re-examina-
tions of the early Soviet period. Both these works


2
attempted to determine what Lenin had truly envisioned for
the USSR. This thesis takes a broad look at early Soviet
educational theories which directly affected the popula-
tion of Soviet Russia. In this way it is hoped that
social history can complement political history and
provide a more complete picture of the intentions of early
Soviet communists.
From an American perspective, it time for a re-evalu-
ation of the revolutionary period in Russia, devoid of
the immediate political antagonisms of these two nations.
By looking at preschool education it is hoped that any
anti-communist stigma can be avoided. This examination of
preschools is especially valid given the high degree of
borrowing from the West employed by early Soviet educa-
tional theorists. Today one might not expect that early
communists accepted a number of Western theories in a
variety of areas, given the isolation of the Soviet Union
in the Stalin and Brezhnev periods. But my research
points to the opposite : early Soviet communists sought
out a great deal of information from the West.
Additionally, one wants to ascertain what happened to
the preschool as envisioned, given the remark of one
historian that : [a]lthough high by Western standards,
the provision of preschool institutions [in the 1980s] Is
still not sufficient, and their reputation for poor


3
quality care deters many women from using them."l When we
learn what happened to the dream of the preschool, we may
very well gain at least a partial understanding of why
Soviet communism is what it is today.
As a final note, it is amazing to consider that while
the members of the Department of Preschools were consider-
ing such things as the sizes of chairs and types of toys,
the Soviet government was engaged in a bloody civil war
whose outcome would determine whether or not a communist
preschool would ever exist in the first place.
Scholars of Soviet education have hitherto paid scant
attention to the preschool period. Shelia Fitzpatrick,
The Commissariat of Enlightenment, Soviet Organization of
Education and the Arts Under Lunacharsky October 1917-1921
(London, 1970), makes no mention of preschool education or
kindergartens. Nigel Grant Soviet Education (New York,
1979), refers to preschools only in the 1970's. Further
perusal of the secondary literature on Soviet education,
reveals that no in-depth study has ever been made of the
preschools in the incipient period of the Soviet Union.
This thesis is especially relevant to the study of early
Soviet communist theory since the preschool age is so
important in the formation of the personality and learning
styles of human beings.
1-Lynne Attwood, "Gender and Soviet Pedgogy"
in George Avis, (ed.), The Making of the Soviet Citizen
(New York : Croon Helm, 1987.)p. 130.


4
Narodnoe Prosveshchenie has been the main source of
information for this thesis for a number of reasons.
First it was difficult to gain access to Soviet sources
outside of the U.S.S.R.; for example, the newspaper
Petrograd skii Uchitel^ (Petrograd Teacher) was published
from 1918, but it is not available in North America or
Western Europe. Secondly, in this period Narodnoe
Prosveshchenie was the main journal of the Commissariat of
Enlightenment. Its contributors included the most
prestigious members of that Commissariat :
Lunacharsky--chief commissar, Krupskaya and Pokrovsky
deputy commissars, as well as Lazurkinathe head of the
Department of Preschools. Its stature as a source is,
therefore, beyond reproach. Lastly this journal contained
articles written by a very large number of people. In the
research for this thesis on preschools there were articles
signed by fifteen separate authors, as well as four
unsigned articles. This attests to the diversity of
opinions, and the stature of some of the authors substant-
iates that the views represented the theories of the most
important communists of this period.


CHAPTER II
THE WESTERN INFLUENCE ON EARLY SOVIET PEDAGOGICAL THEORY
I
The influence of Western literature and pedagogical
theories was pervasive in the very first years of Soviet
rule. In January, 1918, the Soviet government began
publication of an education journal, Narodnoe Prosveshche-
n i e which contained numerous references to foreign
literature. These citations took two forms : first,
American works were reviewed in the bibliographical and
foreign literature sections of the various issues of the
journal; second, articles specifically analyzed Western
pedagogical theorists and theories.
The first issue of Narodnoe Prosveshchenie contains
a reference to a book from Cornell University press in the
section entitled "Bibliography". The book, A_ Pamphlet for
the S tudy of Nature, was touted by the reviewer as "having
been written in lively and captivating language", and was
recommended to teachers who might want to learn more about
nature as teachers. Additionally, the reviewer noted that
the second section of the book contained material designed
to open the eyes of youth to the "wonders of nature". In


6
the next paragraph, the reviewer commended Americans and
Western Europeans for their attention to labor themes.*
Granted this is simply an innocuous publication by the
D.S. Department of Agriculture, but one notices not only a
desire among the early communists to take advantage of
Western publications which might prove helpful in building
the new Soviet educational system, but also a respect for
and a willingness to learn from the West. This clearly
demonstrates that from the first issue of Narodnoe
Prosveshchenie, a distinct, though minor, Western influ-
ence was present.
In the issue number 4-5, 1918, the authors turned to
an examination of the American public library system in
their "Bibliography section as they began to consider the
question of libraries in Soviet Russia.2 Among the books
received for review in the in the No. 6-7 issue are to be
found : Kipling, "The Recovery of Young Todd", and Jack
London, Son of Wolf" and "The Last Struggle".^ In
March, 1919, a new section was added to the journal: "Ap-
plications from Foreign Pedagogical Literature". This
section included translations of articles relating to
pedagogy from French, English, and German/ June-July of
^Narodnoe Prosveshchenie, Petrograd, No. 1-2,1918, p.56.
^Nar. Pros., Moscow, No. 4-5, 1918, pp.103-104.
^Nar. Pros., Moscow, No. 6-7, 1919, p. 194.
^Nar.Pros., Moscow, No. 8, 1919, pp. 80-98.


7
1919 saw an article on "Constructive work in the Maryland
Institute".^ In October, 1919, there were some interest-
ing book reviews pertaining to uniquely American themes.
In the section entitled "New Books for Children and
Youth" are to be found a biography of Alexander Hamilton
and a collection of stories by Jack London. The Life of
Alexander Hamilton by N. Almedingen is considered appro-
priate for youthful Soviet readers, because Hamilton
provides an example of the type of person who strove his
entire life to put his goals and duties before any
personal interests. It is recommended for a children's
library as "helpful"^. Here, then, we see none other than
the life of an American founder father as a fit example
for the new Soviet man.
Jack London's book Love for Life is reviewed in this
same section. London is offered as a writer who "wrote
not for children, however much of his work is accessible
and even advisable for older children". The reviewer
claims that while parts of the stories might be difficult
they are on the whole pedagogically correct for older
children?.
Perusing the tables of contents and briefly examin-
ing the relevant sections pertaining to foreign literature
^Nar. Pros., Moscow, No. 11-12, 1919, pp. 155-158.
^Nar. Pros., Moscow, No.15, 1919, p. 65.
?Nar. Pros., p.67


8
in Narodnoe Prosveshchenie yields a profound insight into
the Western influence on early Soviet pedagogues. This is
true because this journal was written by the leading
educational theorists of the day, and, further, it was
intended to instruct the teachers of the new Soviet
regime. Not only were the leaders of education interested
in what was going on in the West, they were also interest-
ed in disseminating their findings to their readers.
II
In 1928 the noted American educational theorist John
Dewey travelled to Soviet Russia and published his
Impressionss of Soviet Russia, attesting once again to
the Western influence on Soviet educators. Mr. Dewey was
given the opportunity to meet with educators and visit
schools in Leningrad and Moscow. Commenting on life in
Leningrad, Dewey remarked that "[t]he people go about as
if some mighty and oppressive load had been removed, as if
they were newly awakened to the consciousness of released
energies. Here was an American who was quite impressed
with the new Soviet regime.
When Dewey considered the role of preschool education
in this new regime, he saw that the expansion of this
facet of education was coupled with the undermining of
Dewey, John. Impressions of Soviet Russia. (New
York : New Republic, Inc., 1929.) pp.4-5.


9
family life^, a point not to be taken lightly : When we
consider what prevented preschool education from becoming
universal in the USSR, we shall not want to overlook the
impact the family might have had on the demise of the
preschool. This is a consideration which is beyond the
scope of this thesis, but one which must surely be
considered. If a majority of the families in a country do
not want their little ones taken from them, one must ask
whether the country in question can accomplish its goal
for preschool education, regardless of the economics
involved. In light of this one must not forget that
Khrushchev had envisioned an expansion of the boarding
school concept in the late 1950"sl0 which would have
accomplished much the same objective as a universal
preschool education program would have In the 1920's.
Dewey qualifies his remarks on the undermining of the
family by noting that "it would be too much to say that
these institutions are deliberately planned with sole
reference to their disintegrating effect on family life;
there are doubtless more conspicuous causes.With
^Dewey, pp.78-79.
lOjohn Dunstan, "Soviet Boarding Education: It's Rise
and Progress" in: Brine, Jenny et al Home School and
Leisure in the Soviet Union. (London, George Allen, &
Unwin, 1980). and: Mathews, Mervin. Education in the
Soviet Union, Policies and Institutions Since Stalin.
(London, George Allen & Unwin, 1982.) pp. 1-39.
l^Dewey, p.80


10
reference to the preschools themselves Dewey remarks that
there were summer colonies for children "and those visited
compare favorably with similar institutions anywhere, with
respect to food, hygiene, medical and daily nurture". *2
Between 1918 and 1928, then, progress had been made in the
setting up of preschools in the USSR.
Dewey noticed that this policy was designed to show
"special care for the laboring class in order to gain its
political support, and to give a working object lesson in
the value of a communistic scheme.Therefore the
educational theorists of the Soviet regime were attempting
to meet the needs of their citizenry in a pedagogically
and politically adept manner. The fact that they were
showing the schools off to Dewey also underscores the
reciprocal impact of educational theory between the
United States and the Soviet Union in the pre-Stalin
period.
Lastly, Dewey correctly notes that the new school
system in the Soviet Union was deliberately political in
nature. The new regime was using its schools in pursuit
of a specific social objective. What Dewey didn't notice
though, was that in pursuit of specifically communistic
social aims the new Soviet educational theorists were
^Dewey, p. 80
13
Dewey, p.80


11
intending to employ the ideas of notable Western pedagog-
ical theorists such as Pestalozzi, Froebel, and to a very
great degree, Maria Montessori. Therefore, when Dewey
quotes Lenin's remark "The school, apart from life, apart
from politics, is a lie, a hypocrisy" 1 ^ he makes a
statement which when examined closely is much less
obnoxious than Dewey envisioned when he wrote his book.15
III
In no less prestigious a place than the inaugural
issue of Narodnoe Prosveshchenle, and by no less prestigi-
ous an author than Madezhda Krupskaya, the ideas of Maria
Montessori make their first official appearance in Soviet
pedagogical literature. The ideas of Montessori are
specifically referred to more often than either Pestalozzi
or Froebel; Montessori is talked of in four of the twenty-
one articles which deal with pre-school education in the
period 1918-1921. Froebel, interestingly, is mentioned in
connection with some pre-revolutionary "Froebel societies"
in Petrograd.16 Pestalozzi is mentioned only a few
times, and while Froebel appears more than Pestalozzi,
l^Dewey, p.82.
In defence of Dewey it should be mentioned that he
realized the strong positive influence of American
theorists in the period up to 1922\23. But this was more
in connection with the so-called "school of work" which
would be more applicable to the education of children
af ter they have left the preschool period. (See: Dewey, pp. 89-91.)
16Nar. Pros. No. 9-10,1919, p.14. &No. 18,19,20, 1921, p.ll.


12
neither receive the attention that Montessori does.17
It is not altogether odd that Montessori should
receive so much attention in the educational press of the
burgeoning Soviet state. In her book The Absorbent Mind,
Montessori claims that the child comes into the world with
little or nothing, and has to create everything.1 She
speaks of a primitive culture in Patagonia which was
visited by a French missionary party which came into
possession of an infant from a "stone age" culture. The
missionaries brought the child to the West and this child
became a fully assimilated twentieth century inhabitant.
According to Montessori it was possible to make the leap
from "stone to atomic" ages precisely because the child
came into the world with nothing.19 This shows that
if a child is taken away from its natural parents at birth
it can be molded by the philosophy of its new parents even
if that philosophy is completely different from the
child's natural parents. It is quite logical, then, that
the ideas of Montessori would appeal to the early commun-
ist pedagogues. Were they not trying to create the "new
l^lt should be noted that especially between Montess-
ori and Froebel there are a number of similarities in
approach to preschool education. See: E.M. Standing, Marla
Montessori, Her Life and Work. (Fresno, Ca., Academy Guild
Press.,1962.)
18 Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind (New York :
Holt, Rhinehart, and Winston, 1967.) p.57.
1^Montessori, pp. 58-59.


13
Soviet man" ? What better way than to take the youth and
educate them in a new way for a new world a communist
world. And, according to Montessori, the period from
birth to age six is the most important; hence, the
emphasis on preschool education, and the validity of
Dewey's observation on the transformation of the family.
According to Montessori, while an adult may admire an
environment the child absorbs it, and this accounts for
a "love of country", which in the minds of those trying
to establish a new social order should have been very
appealing indeed. To Montessori "the hope of altering
adults is therefore in vain^O". "To influence society we
must turn our attention to childhood".21
The Montessori method involves the participation of
children in their own learning process. It is only
through practical work that children learn in the Montes-
sori system. An entire series of toys is designed
especially to lead the child to the understanding of basic
concepts through play. In his earliest years, the child
has the greatest capacity for learning and essentially
creates his own logic and reasoning processes through the
Montessorian concept of "absorption" of the world around
him. Therefore, the child is not instructed or "taught"
by a teacher but, rather, the teacher facilitates the
20Montessori, pp. 61-65.
2lMontessori, p.66.


14
learning process by explaining how "toys" are used so that
the child can learn independently. In this way the child
is not alienated through being forced to learn something
in which he is not interested and, further, a greater
degree of self-esteem is instilled in the child at an
early age. All these ideas combined should produce an
independent learner interested in the continuing learning
process, and convinced that cooperation with others is
essential.22 This is precisely what the communists
were looking for, and precisely what Krupskaya spoke of in
her article "For the Question Regarding the Socialist
School".23
IV
In 1918 Krupskaya observed that children learn not by
words, but through the selection of toys they will
teach themselves. She speaks specifically of the toys of
Montessori. These toys must be chosen and provided in
preschools with the purpose of developing all the senses
of the children. Here Krupskaya cites both Froebel and
Montessori to support her thesis. The specific types of
toys are not available in the home, hence the need to
22Krupskaya states : "After a child learns to express
the thoughts and feelings of others, then he will be
interested in the thoughts and feelings of someone
else." Nar.Pros. Petrograd, No. 1-2, 1919, p. 41.
23 Nadezhda Krupskaya, "For the Question Regarding
the Socialist School", Nar.Pros., Petrograd,
No.1-2, 1918, pp.40-41.


15
create a sufficient number of kindergartens throughout the
country to facilitate the proper learning atmosphere for
children of an early age.24
Krupskaya argues that in the bourgeois system
kindergartens for the children of workers are nothing more
than "Children's Barracks". In the socialist system the
kindergarten will be designed as a place for young
children to learn, but not through the "aping of teach-
ers. Rather, the kindergarten must allow for the expres-
sions and individual development of children. Only
after a child has learned to express his own thoughts and
feelings will he be interested in someone else's25. Here
an interesting concept emerges : only after a child
becomes an individual can he become a 'convinced collect-
ivist'. Only after the human is satisfied with his own
personal development and individuality can a collective
mentality be developed. If one were to visit a Montessori
classroom, one would notice the first rulea child may
not disturb another child who is "at work". Once the
child gains an appreciation for the need to complete his
own "work" uninterrupted can he have an appreciation of
another's need to do the same. Here we see the ides of
Maria Montessori being used logically to assist in the
development of a communistic state.
24Rrupskaya, pp.41-42.
25Krupskaya, pp.40-42.


16
In 1919 A.P. Vygotskaya^ wrote about the need to use
the Montessori method to teach reading in the kinder-
garten. Here she was arguing that reading should not only
be taught using the Montessori method but, further, that
it should be taught not in the primary school but in the
kindergarten. According to Vygotskaya children are
alienated and bored by the traditional approaches to
education, especially as regards the teaching of reading.
Her solution was to use independent learning techniques
which foster the child's desire to learn for himself.
This method she specifically attributes to Montessori.
She explains to her readers that she has operated a
kindergarten using the Montessori approach, that it works,
and that she would be happy to provide further, more
specific information to interested readers.27
Also writing in 1919, A. Kaientsev^ outlined the
theories of various preschool pedagogical thinkers. He
spoke highly of the Montessori school, especially for
2^The name Vygotskaya implies that she was a rela-
tive, and possibly the wife of L.S. Vygotsky a noted
Soviet psychologist who worked during this period. There
is, though, no reference for Vygotskaya in The Great
Soviet Encyclopedia (Ney York, Macmillan, Inc.,1981.).
For more about Vygotsky see: The Great Soviet Encyclopedia
(1981), and Andrew Sutton. Backward Children in the
USSR" in: Jenny Brine, et al. Home, School and Leisure in
the Soviet Union (London, George Allen, & Unwin. 1980 .)
27 A.P. Vygotskaya,in Nar. Pros. No. 6-7,1919, pp. 60-63.
28i could find no biographical information on this
writer.


17
its scientific approach to education. He admired Montes-
sori's "House of the Child" since it took in the children
of working proletarian mothers in the slums of Rome.
While noting that he had a personal preference for
the methods of Froebel, he went on to outline the develop-
ment of preschool education in the West as well as in
pre-revolutionary Russia. He discussed in positive terms
chi1d-centered educational theories dating back to
Rousseau's Emile He looked at preschool education in
Germany, France, Italy, and America. He spoke of Ameri-
cans as "bold, courageous, citizens, greedy for novelty",
and reported that in Chicago alone there were one hundred
twenty kindergartens, not counting other preschool
establishments. Here we see comparative education in its
finest light. A newly established state searches the
world to ascertain, without prejudice to nationality,
which theories of preschool education would best suit its
needs.
Not limiting himself to the West, though, Kamen-
tsev uncovers the very origins of preschool education in
tsarist Russia. Preschool education had existed in Russia
in sixty of the last hundred years. One professor
Legschaft in Petrograd had established a number of
training courses for preschool teachers and had thus
contributed greatly to the spread of preschool education
in Russia. In addition to the Petrograd Froebel society


18
there was a Froebel society In Kiev, and Stanislav Shatsky
had worked with children in Moscow. Offering his opinions
on the nature of the kindergarten in Soviet Russia,
Kamentsev concluded that the atmosphere of the kinder-
garten should be warm, loving, and nurturing. It should
enhance the independence, creativity, and physical well
being of the child.29 Here, then, once again the early
communists are touting Western theories of preschool
education for Soviet Russia.
As a final note attesting to the esteem in which
Western preschool theorists were held in the early years
of Soviet Russia, it is significant that in addition to
the prestigious Krupskaya, Lunacharskythe Commissar for
Public Enlightenment in this periodspoke highly of the
ideas of Froebel. Lunacharsky claimed, in glowing terms,
that Froebel was the first to systematize the concept of
labor and participation in the kindergarten. 30
V
The period 1918-1921 saw a great degree of influence
of the West on Soviet preschool thinkers. In this period
there were four specific references to Montessori (out of
twenty-one articles). In 1918-1919 the ratio was higher:
Montessori appeared in three of the first nine articles.
29a. Kamentsev, "Preschool Education", in Nar. Pros.
No. 9-10, 1919, pp. 9-14.
Lunacharsky, "The Fundamental Principles of the
United Labor School", in : Nar. Pros. No. 6-7, 1919, p. 4.


19
In the period after the summer of 1919, Western writers
showed up less often in Narodnoe Prosveshchenie, and there
was more of an emphasis on what was going on, or needed to
be achieved in Soviet Russia regarding the practical
establishment of kindergartens and preschools throughout
the country. Nonetheless, the ideas of individuality and
a self-motivated approach to learning in preschools
remained in force. Therefore, while Montessori, Froebel,
and Pestalozzi were mentioned less, their ideas still
remained prominent throughout the period 1918-1921.
It cannot be overstated that i t is astounding
how much concern these people had for their children
during the Russian Civil War. Certainly a large part was
practical : there were homeless children who needed to be
cared for, but the creation of a new social order was
never far from the minds of the Preschool Department
(Doshlol"nli Otdel) in this period.


CHAPTER III
THE DREAM : THE THEORIES OF PRESCHOOL EDUCATION
In 1919 a Preschool Department (Doshkolnll Otdel) was
established in Soviet Russia under the overall authority
of the Commissariat of Enlightenment. The head of this
department was Dora Abramovna Lazurkina. In the period
under scrutiny in this thesis, 1918-1921, numerous
articles appeared in the official organ of the pedagogical
sciences, Narodnoe Prosveshchenie, regarding the nature,
practice, and establishment of preschool education
throughout Soviet Russia. We have already looked at the
influence from the West, now it is time to turn our
attention to the actual hopes among the Soviets for their
preschools in the years to come. In the following chapter
we will look at the successes and failures of the dreams
outlined below.
I
The mechanics for establishing a network of pre-
schools were outlined in Narodnoe Prosveshchenie in an
article entitled "A Short Account of the Work of the
Preschool Department. There would be seven subdepart-


21
ments : Establishments, Preschool Workers, Editorial-Pub-
lication, Statistics, Equipment-Furniture, Finance, and an
"Office" to oversee the work of the whole department.
The "Establishment" subdepartment was to be involved
with the creation of a wide network of preschools through-
out the country. It was to coordinate activities with the
localities, to manage the setting up of new establish-
ments, and to supervise the taking over of any existing
preschools. Given the wide range of its activities it was
further subdivided into kindergartens, ochag i (child-
rent's "hearths" organized during World War I to take care
of children whose fathers were lost in the war^), colon-
ies, squares, museums, and libraries. Herein it was
stated that the kindergarten would hold a central place in
the establishment of a network of preschools.2 By placing
the emphasis on kindergartens the Preschool Department was
stating its preference for having education as the central
theme of preschools in the country. The existence of such
things as the o c h a g i demonstrated that part of the
attention of both the tsarist and the Soviet governments
had been focused simply on child care. Here, then, the
Department stated its preference for the dominant role of
education.
1 Stanislav Shatsky, A Teachers Experience (Moscow,
Progress Publishers, 1981) Note 1, pp. 321-322.
2"A Short Account of the Current Work of the Pre-
school Department", Nar. Pros, No. 6-7, 1919, pp. 81-84.


22
The reference to coordination with the localities
implied that centralization would be the order of the day
in preschool education. In this same article the authors
stated that they "will work out a whole series of theoret-
ical questions"^, meaning that control would be from the
center. Additionally, instructors would be sent to the
localities to organize preschools. This would solve a
twofold concern : one central control, twothe placement
of qualified personnel in the countryside. This aforemen-
tioned task was to be managed by the subdepartment for
workers.
The Editorial-Publishing subdepartment would coordin-
ate with Narodnoe Prosveshchenie, publish children's
books, and even search abroad for suitable materials to be
used in preschool education in Soviet Russia. The
Statistics department was designed to gather the necessary
information in order to expedite the process of establish-
ing preschools in the country, and once again, to assist
in the process of centralization.^
The subdepartment for equipment had not yet been
organized, but the budgetary depart presented a rather
detailed budget for the first half of 1919. This budget
included some twenty two million rubles for kindergartens,
sixty two million for ochagi, and even nine hundred
^Nar . Pros, No. 6-7, 1919, p. 81
^Nar. Pros, No. 6-7, 1919, p. 82.


23
seventy nine-thousand rubles for toys.5 The sum was
optimistic, considering the needs of the Soviet people in
1919.
Another interesting concept mentioned in this article
was the proposed establishment of a model kindergarten
attached to an Institute of Preschool Education ( the
Institute itself would be used to train preschool teachers
and workers; to "unite theory with practice")This
model kindergarten was designed to accommodate twenty
children; what a tremendous ideaattach the real thing to
the adult school so they can actually see that about which
they are being taught.
The final question tackled in this article was
whether or not the kindergarten should be attached to the
regular network of schools throughout the country. This
was the single most important problem this department
faced. Could preschools stand alone? Could they be
funded outside the "Unified Labor School"? At this
juncture the Preschool Department must have thought
that the answers to the above questions was yes.
Concerned more with the bastardization of preschool
education by its inclusion as a first step in the Unified
Labor School than with the possible demise of the idea of
universal preschool education, the authors here opted to
5Nar. Pros p. 83.
^Nar. Pros., p. 83.


24
leave the kindergarten separate. The writers at this
point, wanted the kindergarten to be an independent stage
of education. They feared the artificial grouping of
children by age, rather than by level of development. In
the final analysis the fate of preschool education may
have never been in the hands of the Preschool Department,
but nonetheless they stood up for their educational
principles 7
The question of including preschool education in the
scheme of the Unified Labor School is one which received
repeated attention in the early years of Soviet rule. The
Unified Labor School was envisioned to be a ladder in
which all stages of education would be linked together.
Additionally the Unified School was to always emphasize
the labor process in all of its components : from the
earliest stage through the university. Here the Soviets
were doing two things : first they were making 6ure that
any student from any school could always go into a higher
stage of education; second, early Soviet educators
wanted to make sure that education in a proletarian state
would emphasize the attributes of the labor process.
Eventually, the Preschool Department, while retaining
their own pedagogical preferences regarding teaching and
learning in kindergartens, petitioned to have the kinder-
garten be a part of the entire "learning ladder". In
^Nar. Pros., p. 84.


25
1919 in "The Regulations Regarding the Unified Labor
School" Article 2, Note 1 states : "To the Unified School
is joined a kindergarten for children ages 6-8."8
Krupskaya in her article on the socialist school implied
that the kindergarten should be a part of the entire
educational system.9 in 1919 Lunacharsky wrote that "the
entire system of normal schools from kindergarten to
university is one school, one uninterrupted ladder. "10
Writing in 1921, Department head Lazurkina states : "Thus
we proceed straight to the topic, that preschool education
must take a quite definite place in the overall system of
general education.H
II
Once the kindergartens and other forms of preschools
were established, what would life and learning be like
inside of them?
As stated over and over again, the kindergarten was
to allow for the independent activity and free creative
work of children. Initially, the children were to be from
Ya. Sverdlov, M.N. Pokrovskii, & A. Gnukidze, "The
Regulations Regarding the Unified Labor School," Nar.
Pros., No. 6-7, 1919, p. 12.
^Krupskaya, Nar. Pros., No. 1-2, 1918, Petrograd,
pp. 40-41.
^Lunacharsky, Nar. Pros. No. 6-7, 1919, p. 3.
H-D. Lazurkina, "About the New Tasks of Preschool
Education and of the New Forms of Social Life," Nar.
Pros., No. 18,19,20, 1921, p.10.


26
the ages of three to seven, but the school age varied
according to the author, with some even proposing that
provisions for education begin at birth.
The "Instructions for the Managing of an Ochag, or a
Kindergarten" in 1919 established the initial guidelines
for activities in Soviet preschools .12 The overall
educational emphasis was to be on the independent activity
of the child and free work and play.13 Given the socio-
economic conditions of the time, though, the primary
emphasis would not be education, but child care. This
can be corroborated by looking at the proposed budget for
the beginning of 1919, where one can see more outlay for
the ochagi than for the kindergartens. Nonetheless, it
was hoped that the following educational standards could
be met by all preschools.
"Scheduled activities [like in the regular] school,
are inadmissible in a kindergarten."^ Pedagogically, an
emphasis was to be placed on conditions which would
facilitate and enrich the child's outward feelings and
language formation. Activities were to include drawing,
handiwork, songs, play, rhythmic motions, stories, and
collecting otherwise worthless materials and utilizing
^"instructions for the Managing of an Ochag, or a
Kindergarten" Nar. Pros., No. 6-7, 1919, pp. 84-86.
13"instructions , Nar. Pros., No. 6-7, 1919, p. 84.
l^Nar. Pros p. 85.


27
them for work. Even the furniture was to be designed to
accommodate independent activity among the children. The
authors went so far as to list specific dimensions for the
furniture, in order that it would be adapted to the size
and strength of the children. This question was tackled
again in the same issue of Narodnoe Prosveshchehie in an
article entitled "Furniture for the Kindergarten.15 This
article was produced by Lazurkina and Vygotskaya, among
others, and they stated that the ultimate purpose of the
kindergarten is to promote activity and independence, and
complete freedom to develop; the furniture should not
inhibit this goal.16 It is interesting to note this
emphasis on the "individual" in the literature of this
period. Historians writing about this period in the
Soviet Union generally highlight the Soviet emphasis on
the collective^^. My research, however, points out that
at this time, while the collective was the ultimate goal,
the "individual" was not to be lost. People were expected
15"Furniture for the Kindergarten" Mar. Pros, ,
No. 6-7, 1919, pp. 73-74.
l^Nar. Pros., pp. 73-74.
17G.D. Andrusz, "Housing Ideals, Structural Con-
straints and the Emancipation of Women" in Brine, Jenny,
et al. Home, School,and Leisure in the Soviet Union.
(London, 1980 .) p. 5. F.V. Gladkov, Cement. (New York,
1974.) p. 39. Peter H. Juviler "Contradictions of
Revolution : Juvenile Crime and Rehabilitation" in
Gleason, Abbott, e t al. Bolshevik Culture ( Bloomington,
Indiana, 1985.) pp. 266-268. In the Soviet Union in the
early period there was a great debate over "individualism
versus "collectivism".


28
to retain their individuality and at the same time
willingly, albeit logically, become members of the
collective. The preschool was to teach the child : only
through the respect of the work of others can a collective
prosper.
Turning to aesthetics, the authors wrote : "ev-
everythlng [that surrounds the child in the kindergarten]
must bear its own stamp of individuality, there must be
nothing which is hackneyed."18
On the negative side : no child was to be compelled
to play a game. Gymnastics and insect collections were
thought to be out of the question for preschool age
children. Further, systematic training in reading,
writing, and numbers were to have no place in the kinder-
garten; it was to be the natural path".
As regards supplies, the appendix listed twenty
pounds of colored chalk, white paper, black and colored
pencils; additionally the following toys are mentioned :
balls of assorted sizes, and skipping ropes. This is
but a brief enumeration of the types of items listed in
this appendix; the entire list was quite long. The article
specifically mentioned the supplies of Montessori (nabor
posobii Montessori) .
Once again, then, one sees the consistency in the
approach to preschool education in early Soviet Russia :
*^Nar. Pros., pp. 73-74.


29
independent learning activities to enhance the indepen-
dence and self esteem of the child, a la Montessori. From
a communistic standpoint it was stated "first the indivi-
dual, then the collective."*9 The education of the child
was, though, not their only concern.
Given the effects of the civil war, other more basic
considerations were necessary. Therefore, a doctor was
supposed to be present to take care of the medical and
psychological well being of the children. Hot food was to
be provided in both kindergartens and ochag i. The
locations must satisfy all hygienic, sanitary, and
pedagogical demands; a room must be provided for rest. As
a matter of fact an exemplary location would have four to
five rooms, and it would not share an apartment with any
other establishment.20
These, then, were the basic considerations for the
establishment of a preschool facility in Soviet Russia.
The primary purpose was to take care of the child's health
needs, but very precise pedagogical guidelines tell us
much about what was hoped for the future of the Soviet
Union--adults who would have confidence in their own
abilities, and who would also work collectively toward the
betterment of society as a whole. This was the dream.
^Nar. Pros. No.6-7, 1919, pp. 85-86.
20Nar. Pros. pp.84-86.


CHAPTER IV
THE REALITY : WHERE HAVE ALL THE CHILDREN GONE ?
As stated in the introduction of this thesis, the
provision of preschool education in the Soviet Union is
far less today, both in number of institutions and in
quality of care, than would be hoped for by Soviet
citizens. The objective of this chapter will be to find
some indications in the period under study which will help
explain today's reality.
The first indication that there would be some
distance between theory and practice is found in "The
Regulations Regarding the Unified Labor School in 1919.*
This article, which was co-authored by Sverdlov, Pokrov-
skii, and Enukidze, hints at the future demise of univer-
sal preschool education in Soviet Russia. Article 2
states "The Unified School is divided into two stages:
Ifor children ages eight to thirteen; IIchildren ages
thirteen to seventeen. Note 1, as mentioned above,
claims that the unified school will be "joined by a
^Narodnoe Prosveshchenie., No. 6-7, 1919, pp. 12 -15.
^Nar. Pros., p. 12.


31
kindergarten for children ages six to eight.3 Article 3
states that education in stages I and II will be free;
Article 4 states that education for stages I and II will
be mandatory.^ An analysis of this document yields two
interesting conclusions : one the word "join"
(prisoedinyat^sya) in note 1 is vague, and given the
perspective of hindsight, demonstrates that preschool
education was always more of a dream than an attainable
goal; twothe absence of preschools in the universal,
obligatory, and free educational scheme portends the same
idea, namely, that the fate of the preschools was tied
more closely to future considerations than to the reality
of 1919.
Later in 1919 it was admitted that localities had to
provide supplies and equipment which under normal
conditions would be taken care of at the center.5 One
wonders how, if the central government could not afford to
supply kindergartens, the provinces could do so where the
ravages of civil war must have been great. In the same
issue of Narodnoe Prosveshchenle, it was admitted that the
full scale kindergarten could not be realized in Soviet
Russia at that time and that, therefore, the "garden
^Nar Pros,, p.12
^Nar. Pros., p.12.
^"The Project of the Organization of the Preschool
Subdepartment of Public Education, Nar. Pros,, No. 9-10,
1919, p. 20.


32
primitive" (sad-prlmi tiv) should be considered.6 At the
end of 1919, writing about the affairs of public education
in the provinces no mention was made of any preschools at
all. Charts provide detailed information regarding the
number of schools of the first and second stages, but
nowhere are preschools mentioned.7 Then in 1920 specific
data are provided outlining the sad state of affairs for
preschool education in Soviet Russia at the time.
At the end of 1918 there were 2615 preschool establ-
ishments in thirty one guberni i (provinces) servicing a
total of 155,443 childrencertainly an auspicious number
of children, but far fewer than the number of children who
were of preschool age in Soviet Russia at the tlrne.^ By
October, 1919 there were 1832 establishments servicing
109,189 children. But this was out of a total of 4,465,027
children of preschool age in the twenty-three guberni i
which were reporting information. In other words only 2.4
percent of the children were attending preschools. Moscow
served the greatest number of children with 279 establish-
^R. Prushitskaya, "Central Kindergartens", Nar.
Pros, No. 9-10, 1919, pp. 22-23. The sad-primitiv was an
abreviated version with shorter hours than the full
kindergarten.
7"In the Provinces : School Affairs in Olonets
Guberniya; 1918 to the begining of 1919", Nar. Pros,. No.
11-12, 1919, pp. 104-113.
E. Levitskaya, "A Survey of the Position of Prescho-
ol Education According to the Data in the Report for 1,
October 1918, Nar. Pros, No. 16-17 1920 p. 92.


33
meats servicing 13,366 children. The largest percent of
preschool age children serviced was in Ryazan at 57.4
percent^. While this was certainly an advance over the
situation in tsarist Russia where very few preschools seem
to have existed at all (and outside of the major cities
probably none), 2.4 percent of the total population of
preschool age children is minuscule. What could explain
such low enrollment ?
In 1921 Prushi tskaya from the Preschool Department
writes, "The Civil War has carried more and more fathers
into its bosom, and to a significant degree mothers have
been torn from their children, placing in front of us new
demands....[Further,] the complete absence of pedagogical
personnel and the impossibility from a technological-orga-
nizational perspective has proven that a shorter kinder-
garten is what will have to occur at this time.
Writing in 1921, Lazurkina also laments the lack of
qualified preschool workers ^ This shows us that
the effects of the Civil War upon the department of
Preschools were great. Pressure was being placed on
preschools to simply "care" for children, and qualified
^Nar. Pros., pp. 92-98.
10r. Prushitskaya, "The Development of the Pedagog-
ical Work of the Department of Preschool Education", Nar.
Pros., No. 18,19,20, 1921, p.25.
1 1 D Lazurkina, "About the Tasks of Preschool
Education and of the New Forms of Social Life", Nar
Pros., No. 18, 19. 20, 1921, p.ll.


34
preschool educators were hard to find. Therefore, if we
combine the ambiguity concerning funding, with lack of
trained personnel, and heightened demands on the pre-
schools, we begin to see the origins of the demise of
preschool education in the Soviet Union. Without proper
day care and preschool facilities the family was forced to
cope with a bad situation as best it could; care was
provided only to the most needythose without parents or
extended family. One could postulate that once the family
learned to cope with this dilemma, and once the precedent
for preschools without the emphasis on education had been
set, perhaps Soviet citizens and government alike began to
turn a policy of expediency into a policy of permanence.
Nor did the situation improve between 1921 and 1928.
John Dewey remarked in 1928 that only one-tenth of the
preschool age children in Moscow attended preschools.12
Reporting on the state of Soviet education in the 1920's
Nicholas Hans and Sergius Hessen noted that for 1927\1928
there were 2,086 kindergartens with 104,000 children*^ in
reality a slight drop from the number of children in
1919. It appears, then, that when faced with the diffi-
cult dilemma of whether to place more money into primary
and secondary education, or reserve a large sum for
l^Dewey. op. cit. p. 79
l^Hans, N. & Hessen, S., Educational Policy in Soviet
Russia, (London : P.S. King & son, 1930.)


35
preschools, the Soviet government has consistently chosen
the former option. Given the information published in
Narodnoe Prosveshchenie on preschool education this looks
rather hypocritical, but even the United States does not
provide universal free preschool education for three to
four year old children.


CONCLUSION
What is truly remarkable about the articles on
preschool education from Narodnoe Prosveshchenie in the
period 1918 to 1921 is the dream the early Soviets had for
their future. Too often we are painted a portrait of
brain-washing communists using only methods of terror to
accomplish their objectives. While the use of terror
existed in the 1920^s, and to an even greater extent in
the Stalin period, this study of preschools yields a much
more well-rounded picture of communism in the Soviet
Union.
Preschool educational theories from this period show
us that Russian communists were in fact interested in
independently thinking individuals in their society. This
also seems to be what Gorbachev is after in the 1980"s.
It shows that there is a greater link between the present
and the incipient periods in the Soviet Union, than
between the present and the immediate past. This study
also points out that a greater similarity exists between
the West and the Soviet Union than earlier thought.
To achieve communism, Russian communists were
interested in using Western theories of preschool educa-
tion. They were convinced that a child needed to grow as


37
an individual first, and as a convinced collectivist
second. This means that educational theories are more
closely linked between the different social systems than
might have been previously thought. By teaching our youth
to be individuals and to respect the work, needs, and
feelings of others, we all hope to create a similar type
of adult. In the Soviet Union that adult will seemingly
achieve his greatest potentialas well as the greatest
potential of the society in which he 1ives--through a
centrally planned economy. In the United States it is
seemingly a free market economy which yields the best
results for adults. The similarities in child rearing,
though, show us that we are closer together rather than
further apart from one another.
The final conclusion is much more typical in the
study of the Soviet Unionexpediency too often becomes
permanent policy. In spite of the high hopes of the
department of Preschools in the period 1918 to 1921, the
resources were simply not available on a short or a long
term basis to support universal, free, preschool education
in the Soviet Union. This coupled with the fact that
families may not have wanted very young children at this
age educated by the state seems to be the best explanation
for the failure of the preschool in the Soviet Union.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
PRIMARY SOURCES
Dewey, John. Impressions of Soviet Russia. New York : New
Republic, 1929.
Narodnoe Prosveshchenie. Petrograd. No. 1-2, 1918. Moscow.
No.3-22, 1918-1921.
Montessori, Maria. The Absorbent Mind. New York : Holt,
Rinehart, and Winston, 1967.
SECONDARY SOURCES
Andrusz, C.D., "Housing Ideals, Structural Constraints and
the Emancipation of Women" in Brine, Jenny et al., Home,
School and Leisure in the Soviet Union. London, George,
Allen and Unwin, 1980.
Attwood, Lynne. "Gender and Soviet Psychology." in: Avis,
George (ed.), The Making of the Soviet Citizen. London,
Croon Helm, 1987.
Brine, Jenny, Perrie, Maureen, and Sutton, Andrew, Home,
School and Leisure in the Soviet Union. London, 1980.
Dunston, John. "Soviet Boarding Education: It's Rise and
Progress." in: Brine, Jenny, et al. Home, School, and
Leisure in the Soviet Union. London : George, Allen, &
Unwin, 1980.
Fitzpatrick, Shelia, The Commissariat of Enlightenment.
London, 1970.
Gleason, Kenez, and Sites, (ed.) Bolshevik Culture. Bloom-
ington, Indiana, 1985.
Gladkov, F.V., Cement. New York, 1974.
Grant, Nigel, Soviet Education. New York, 1979.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia. New York : Macmillan Inc.,
1981.


39
Hans, Nicholas, & Hessen, Sergius. Educational Policy in
Soviet Russia. London : P.S. King & Son, Ltd., 1930.
Levin, Moshe, Leninas Last Struggle. New York, 1968.
Mathews, Mervin. Education in the Soviet Union, Policies
and Institutions Since Stalin. London : George, Allen, &
Unwin, 1982.
Rigby, T.H. Leninas Government, Sovnarkopm 1917-1922.
London, 1979.
Shatsky, Stanislav. A Teacher^s Experience. Moscow :
Progress Publishers, 1981.
Standing, E.M. Maria Montessori, Her Life and Work. New
York : Hollis & Carter, Ltd., 1957.


ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
The following is a listing of the sources available in
America to the researcher of Soviet Preschool Education :
PRIMARY SOURCES (IN RUSSIAN)
Doshkolnie Vospitanie (Preschool Education). This journal,
according to the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, "deals
broadly with questions of bringing up children in
nursery schools". It did not begin publication until
1928, and it is not available in North America or
Western Europe.
Na Putyak k Novoi Shkole (The Path to the New School)
began publication in 1922 and continued until 1933. Its
articles were, therefore, outside the scope of this
thesis.
Narodnoe Prosveshchenie (Public Education) This was the
official journal\organ of the Commissariat of Enlighten-
ment. It began publication in 1918, and is still in
publication today. It contains articles on a wide range
of topics relating to education in the Soviet Union.
The topic of preschool education was treated in depth by
this journal in the period 1918-1921.
Pedalogiya (Pedagogy) began publication in 1928. This
journal was also outside the scope of this thesis.
Petrogradskil Uchitel" This journal began publication in
1918, but is not available in North America or Western
Europe.
Rabotnik Prosveshchenie (Education Worker) This journal
began publication in 1920, but it had no specific
articles on preschool education.
Russkaya Shkola za Rubezhom (The Russian School from
Abroad) This began publication in Prague in 1923, but
was unavailable in America.
Uchitel"skaya Gazeta (The Teachers" Newspaper) This did
not begin publication until 1924.


41
PRIMARY SOURCES (IN ENGLISH)
Dewey, John. Impressions of Soviet Russia, New York, New
Republic, 1929. This book was the result of Dewey's
travels to Soviet Russia, Mexico, China, and Turkey. In
this book Dewey comments on various educational experi-
ments in the "revolutionary" countries of the 1920's.
Montessori, Maria. The Absorbent Mind, New York, Holt,
Rinehart, and Winston, 1967. In this book Montessori
outlines the "Montessori method", and gives reasons for
the use and success of her methods of teaching for early
childhood learning.
SECONDARY SOURCES (IN RUSSIAN)
Korolev, F.F. Ocherki po Istorii Sovetskoi Shkoli, i
Pedagogiki 1917-1920. Moscow, 1958. Korolev gives some
brief accounts of preschool education in this period,
but nothing extensive.
SECONDARY SOURCES (IN ENGLISH)
Alston, Patrick, Education and the State in Tsarist
Russia, Stanford, 1969. This Is one of the standard
works for the pre-Soviet period. It contains no
information on preschools in either the Russian or the
Soviet periods.
Brine, Jenny, e t al Home, School and Leisure in the
Soviet Union, London, 1980. Brief mention is made of
kindergartens, but nothing on their history for
1918-1921.
Brooks, Jeffrey. When Russia Learned to Read, Literacy and
Popular Literature 1861-1917. The focus of this book
is not formal education and, while some reference is
made to public education, there is no specific mention
of preschool education.
Chauncey, Henry, Soviet Preschool Education. New York,
1969. This work contains information on the practice of
Soviet preschools in the 1960's, but has no history of
the incipient period.


42
Dewitt, Nicholas, Education and Professional Employment in
the U.S.S.R., Washington, D.C., 1961. Dewitt gives
information on preschool education for the 1960's.
There is brief mention of the Commissariat of Enlighten-
ment taking over preschool education in 1918, but
nothing substantive for that period. It is interesting,
though, that in the 1960's the focus of preschool
education was "indoctrination, including patriotism and
obedience to Soviet leadership... [and to] give rudi-
mentary instruction in reading and arithmetic, (p.76)
Fitzpatrick, Shelia, The Commissariat of Enlightenment.
London, 1970. There is no mention of preschool educa-
tion in this work.
Grant, Nigel, Soviet Education. New York, Penguin Books,
1 9 79 This is a brief and introductory account of
Soviet Education for the 1970's. The section on pre-
schools gives no information for the period 1918-1921.
Hans, Nicholas, The Russian Tradition in Education.
London, 1963. This work contains no information on
preschool education.
Hans, N. and Hessen, N., Educational Policy in Soviet
Russia. London, 1930. This book contains a small amount
of information on preschools, mostly helpful charts with
enrollment data. The author's focus is on educational
policies in the early period of Soviet Russia in
secondary and post secondary education.
Holmes, Larry, "Soviet Schoolteachers and Moscow : Educa-
tional Policy and Classroom Practice, 1921-1928"
Washington, D.C., The Kennan Institute, 1984.
_____ "Soviet Schools : Policy Pursues Practice,
1921-1928." Manuscript to appear in Slavic Review.
Before speaking with Professor Holmes, and reading his
papers, my focus was on teachers in the period
1917-1930. I changed my topic at this point in search of
originality. These two papers have no specific informa-
tion on preschool education. They are very enlight-
ening, thoughthe teachers in the early Soviet period
balked at many of the reforms of the Commissariat of
Enlightenment resulting in their failure. Hence
Professor Holmes's title "Policy Pursues Practice".


43
Jacoby, Susan. Inside Soviet Schools. New York, 1975.
This book contains a chapter on kindergartens and how
they functioned in the 1970's. It offers interesting
insights since the author travelled to a number of
kindergartens throughout the Soviet Union. It does not,
however, contain any information on the origins of
preschools in Soviet Russia.
Jarausch, Konrad The Transformation of Higher Learning,
1860-1930 Chicago, 1979. McClelland, James,
(pp.180-195) "Diversification in Russian-Soviet
Education There is no specific information on preschool
education in this work.
Johnson, William, Russians Educational Heritage. New York,
1969. Johnson mentions Pestalozzi twice, but makes no
mention of preschool education in either the Russian or
the Soviet periods.
Mathews, Mervin, Education in the Soviet Union, Policies
and Institutions Since Stalin. London, 1982. Mathews
includes a brief section on preschools, but nothing on
the period 1918-1921.
Shatsky, S., A Teacher^s Experience. Moscow, 1981. This
volume contains translations of Shatsky^s writings on
education in Soviet Russia. It did have some articles
on kindergartens in the incipient period, but much of it
contradicted material found in the source Narodnoe
Prosveshchenie. Its reliability was, therefore in
doubt, and it was used sparingly in this thesis.
Tomiak, J.J. (ed.) Soviet Education in the 1980's, London,
1983.
_____ Western Perspectives on Soviet Education in the
19 8 0 ^ s London, 1986 Soviet Education contains three
sections which discuss preschools, but nothing substan-
tive on the incipient period. Western Perspectives
mentions kindergartens in one article, but again
nothing on the period 1918-1921.


Full Text

PAGE 1

SOVIET PRESCHOOLS 1918-1921 by Kennard z. King B.A. University of Denver, 1975 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of History 1989 [i\1]

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This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Kennard Z. King has been approved for the Department of History by Date J.-ft /Jr4 fl/f1

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King, Kennard Z. Ot.A., History) Soviet Preschools : 1918-1921 Thesis directed by Associate Professor Mary S. Conroy This thesis is an examination of Soviet preschools from 1918 to 1921. Its purpose is to understand what the early Soviet communists wanted to create in the U.S.S.R. To this end it considers the effects of Western preschool theories on Soviet educators, the theories of preschools themselves, and the extent to which preschool education has been offered to Soviet citizens in the U.S.S.R. The conclusions are threefold : firstly, the West had an astounding degree of influence on Soviet preschool theories; secondly, the Soviet Union attached importance to creating an "individual"; and, lastly, the U.S.S.R. failed to provide universal free preschool education to its citizens. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Signed History

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CHAPTER I. II. III. IV. CONTENTS INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . INFLUENCE ON SOVIET PEDAGOGICAL THE WESTERN THEORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . THE THEORIES OF PRESCHOOL THE DREAM EDUCATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . THE REALITY WHERE HAVE ALL THE CHILDREN GONE ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CONCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv 1 5 20 30 36 38 40

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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION This thesis focuses on the theories and practice of preschool education during the incipient period of the Soviet Russian state, 1918-1921. Why preschool education, one may well ask. My answer : what the new Soviet government wanted to do with children is essentially what they wanted to do with their future. Through an examina-tion of the theories of preschool education one can learn a great deal more about what the early Soviet revolutionaries hoped to create in their society. This is of particular importance today in the midst of the Gorbachev reform era. Obviously, officials in the Soviet government today are painfully aware of the egregious errors of the Stalin period. Only through a thorough re-examination of the earliest periods of the Soviet state can we gain a complete understanding of what Gorbachev might be hoping for today. This is not a new area of scholarship. Moshe Levin in his Lenin's Last Struggle (New York, 1968), and T.H. Rigby in his Lenin's Government : Sovnarkom 1917-1922 (London, 1979) are but two examples of recent re-examinations of the early Soviet period. Both these works

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2 attempted to determine what Lenin had truly envisioned for the USSR. This thesis takes a broad look at early Soviet educational theories which directly affected the population of Soviet Russia. In this loTay it is hoped that social history can complement political history and provide a more complete picture of the intentions of early Soviet communists. From an American perspective, it time for a re-evaluation of the revolutionary period in Russia, devoid of the immediate political antagonisms of these two nations. By looking at preschool education it is hoped that any anti-communist stigma can be avoided. This examination of preschools is especially valid given the high degree of borrowing from the West employed by early Soviet educa-tiona! theorists. Today one might not expect that early communists accepted a number of Western theories in a variety of areas, given the isolation of the Soviet Union in the Stalin and Brezhnev periods. But my research points to the opposite : early Soviet communists sought out a great deal of information from the West. Additionally, one wants to ascertain what happened to the preschool as envisioned, given the remark of one historian that [a]lthough high by Hestern standards, the provision of preschool institutions [in the 1980s] is still not sufficient, and their reputation for poor

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3 quality care deters many women from using them."l When we learn what happened to the dream of the preschool, we may very well gain at least a partial understanding of why Soviet communism is what it is today. As a final note, it is amazing to consider that while the members of the Department of Preschools were consider-ing such things as the sizes of chairs and types of toys, the Soviet government was engaged in a bloody civil war whose outcome would determine whether or not a communist preschool would ever exist in the first place. Scholars of Soviet education have hitherto paid scant attention to the preschool period. Shelia Fitzpatrick, The Commissariat of Enlightenment, Soviet Organization of Education and the Arts Under Lunacharsky October 1917-1921 (London, 1970), makes no mention of preschool education or kindergartens. Nigel Grant Soviet Education (New York, 1979), refers to preschools only in the 1970's. Further perusal of the secondary literature on Soviet education, reveals that no in-depth study has ever been made of the preschools in the incipient period of the Soviet Union. This thesis is especially relevant to the study of early Soviet communist theory since the preschool age is so important in the formation of the personality and learning styles of human beings. !Lynne Attwood, "Gender and Soviet Pedgogy" in George Avis, (ed.), The Making of the Soviet Citizen (New York : Croon Helm, 1987.)p. 130.

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4 Narodnoe Prosveshchenie has been the main source of information for this thesis for a number of reasons. First it was difficult to gain access to Soviet sources outside of the U.S.S.R.; for example, the newspaper Petrogradskii Uchitel' (Petrograd Teacher) was published from 1918, but it is not available in North America or Western Europe. Secondly, in this period Narodnoe Prosveshchenie was the main journal of the Commissariat of Enlightenment. Its contributors included the most prestigious members of that Commissariat : Lunacharsky--chief commissar, Krupskaya and Pokrovsky-deputy commissars, as well as Lazurkina--the head of the Department of Preschools. Its stature as a source is, therefore, beyond reproach. Lastly this journal contained articles written by a very large number of people. In the research for this thesis on preschools there were articles signed by fifteen separate authors, as well as four unsigned articles. This attests to the diversity of opinions, and the stature of some of the authors substantiates that the views represented the theories of the most important communists of this period.

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CHAPTER II THE WESTERN INFLUENCE ON EARLY SOVIET PEDAGOGICAL THEORY I The influence of Western literature and pedagogical theories was pervasive in the very first years of Soviet the Soviet government began rule. In January, 1918, publication of an education journal, Narodnoe Prosveshchen i e w h i c h c o n t a i n e d n u me r o u s r e f e r e n c e s t o f o r e i g n literature. These American works were citations took two forms : first, reviewed in the bibliographical and foreign literature sections of the various issues of the journal; second, articles specifically analyzed Western pedagogical theorists and theories. The first issue of Narodnoe Prosveshchenie contains a reference to a book from Cornell University press in the section entitled "Bibliography". The book, A Pamphlet for the Study of Nature, was touted by the reviewer as "having been written in lively and captivating language", and was recommended to teachers who might want to learn more about nature as teachers. Additionally, the reviewer no ted that the second section of the book contained material designed to open the eyes of youth to the "wonders of nature". In

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6 the next paragraph, the reviewer commended Americans and Western Europeans for their attention to labor themes.1 Granted this is simply an innocuous publication by the u.s. Department of Agriculture, but one notices not only a desire among the early communists to take advantage of Western publications which might prove helpful in building the new Soviet educational system, but also a respect for an d a w i 11 i n g n e s s to 1 earn from the tre s t T hi s c 1 ear 1 y demonstrates that from the first issue of Narodnoe Prosveshchenie, a distinct, though minor, Western influence was present. In the issue number 4-5, 1918, the authors turned to an examination of the American public library system in their "Bibliography" section as they began to consider the question of libraries in Soviet Russia.2 Among the books received for review in the in the No. 6-7 issue are to be found Kipling, "The Recovery of Young Todd", and Jack London, Son of Wolf" and "The Last Struggle".3 In March, 1919, a new section was added to the journal: "Applications from Foreign Pedagogical Literature". This section included translations of articles relating to pedagogy from French, English, and German.4 June-July of 1 Narodnoe Pro sveshchenie, Petro grad, No. 1-2, 1918, p. 56. 2Nar. Pros., Moscow, No. 4-5, 1918, pp.103-104. 3Nar. Pros., Moscow, No. 6-7, 1919, p. 194. 4Nar.Pros., Moscow, No. 8, 1919, pp. 80-98.

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7 1919 saw an article on "Constructive work in the Maryland Institute".5 In October, 1919, there were some interesting book reviews pertaining to uniquely American themes. In the section entitled "New Books for Children and Youth" are to be found a biography of Alexander Hamilton and a collection of stories by Jack London. The Life of Alexander Hamilton by N. Almedingen is considered appropriate for youthful Soviet readers, because Hamilton provides an example of the type of person who strove his entire life to put his goals and duties before any personal interests. It is recommended for a children's library as "helpful"6. Here, then, we see none other than the life of an American founder father as a fit example for the new Soviet man. Jack London's book Love for Life is reviewed in this same section. London is offered as a writer who "wrote not for children, however much of his work is accessible and even advisable for older children". The reviewer claims that while parts of the stories might be difficult they are on the whole pedagogically correct for older children7. Perusing the tables of contents and briefly examining the relevant sections pertaining to foreign literature 5Nar. Pros., Moscow, No. 11-12, 1919, pp. 155-158. 6Nar. Pros., Moscow, No.15, 1919, p. 65. 7Nar. Pros., p.67.

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8 in Narodnoe Prosveshchenie yields a profound insight into the Western influence on early Soviet pedagogues. This is true because this journal was written by the leading educational theorists of the day, and, further, it was intended to instruct the teachers of the new Soviet regime. Not only were the leaders of education interested in what was going on in the West, they were also interest-ed in disseminating their findings to their readers. II In 1928 the noted American educational theorist John Dewey travelled to Soviet Russia and published his Impressionss of Soviet attesting once again to the Western influence on Soviet educators. Mr. Dewey was given the opportunity to meet with educators and visit schools in Leningrad and Moscow. Commenting on life in Leningrad, Dewey remarked that [ t] he people go about as if some mighty and oppressive load had been removed, as if they were newly awakened to the consciousness of released energies."B Here was an American who was quite impressed with the new Soviet regime. When Dewey considered the role of preschool education in this new regime, he saw that the expansion of this facet of education was coupled with the undermining of Bnewey, John. Impressions of Soviet Russia. (New York : New Republic, Inc., 1929.) pp.4-5.

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9 family life9, a point not to be taken lightly When we consider what prevented preschool education from becoming universal in the USSR, we shall not want to overlook the impact the family might have had on the demise of the preschool. This is a consideration which is beyond the scope of this thesis, but one which must surely be considered. If a majority of the families in a country do not want their little ones taken from them, one must ask whether the country in question can accomplish its goal for preschool education, regardless of the economics involved. In light of this one must not forget that Khrushchev had envisioned an expansion of the boarding school concept in the late 1950"s10 which would have accomplished much the same objective as a universal education program would have in the 1920's. Dewey qualifies his remarks on the undermining of the family by noting that "it would be too much to say that these institutions are deliberately planned with sole reference to their disintegrating effect on family life; there are doubtless more conspicuous causes."11 With 9Dewey, pp.78-79. lOJohn Dunstan, "Soviet Boarding Education: It's Rise and Progress" in: Brine, Jenny et al. Home School and Leisure in the Soviet Union. (London, George Allen, & Unwin, 1980). and: Mathews, Mervin. Education in the Soviet Union, Policies and Institutions Since Stalin. (London, George Allen & Unwin, 1982.) pp. 1-39. lloewey, p.BO

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10 reference to the preschools themselves Dewey remarks that there were summer colonies for children "and those visited compare favorably with similar institutions anywhere, with respect to food, hygiene, medical and daily nurture".12 Between 1918 and 1928, then, progress had been made in the setting up of preschools in the USSR. Dewey noticed that this pol icy was designed to show "special care for the laboring class in order to gain its political support, and to give a working object lesson in the value of a communistic scheme."13 Therefore the educational theorists of the Soviet regime were attempting to meet the needs of their citizenry in a pedagog !call y and politically adept manner. The fact that they were showing the schools off to Dewey also underscores the reciprocal impact United States and period. of educational theory between the the Soviet Union in the pre-Stalin Lastly, Dewey correctly notes that the new school system in the Soviet Union was deliberately political in nature. The new regime was using its schools in pursuit of a specific social objective. What Dewey didn't notice though, was that in pursuit of specifically communistic social aims the new Soviet educational theorists were 12oewey, p. 80 13oewey, p.80

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11 intending to employ the ideas of notable Western pedagog-ical theorists such as Pestalozzi, Froebel, and to a very great degree, Maria Montessori. Therefore, when Dewey quotes Lenin's remark "The school, apart from life, apart from politics, is a lie, a hypocrisy"14 he makes a statement which--when examined closely--is much less obnoxious than Dewey envisioned when he wrote his book.15 III In no less prestigious a place than the inaugural issue of Narodnoe Prosveshchenie, and by no less prestigi-ous an author than Nadezhda Krupskaya, the ideas of Maria Montessori make their first official appearance in Soviet pedagogical literature. The ideas of Montessori are specifically referred to more often than either Pestalozzi or Froebel; Montessori is talked of in four of the twenty-one artlcles which deal with pre-school education in the period 1918-1921. Froebel, interestingly, is mentioned in connection with some pre-revolutionary "Froebel societies" in Petrograd .16 Pestalozzi is mentioned only a few times, and while Froebel appears more than Pestalozzi, 14oewey, p.82. 15 In defence of Dewey it should be mentioned that he realized the strong positive influence of American theorists in the period up to 1922\23. But this was more in connection with the so-called "school of work" which would be more applicable to the education of children aftertheyhaveleftthepreschoolperiod. (See: Dewey. pp. 89-91.) 16Nar. Pros., No. 9-10,1919, p.14. &No. 18,19,20, 1921, p.ll.

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12 neither receive the attention that Montessori does.17 It is not altogether odd that Montessori should receive so much attention in the educational press of the burgeoning Soviet state. In her book The Absorbent Mind, Montessori claims that the child comes into the world with little or nothing, and has to create everything.18 She speaks of a primitive culture in Patagonia which was visited by a French missionary party which came into possession of an infant from a "stone age" culture. The missionaries brought the child to the West and this child became a fully ass !mila ted twentieth century inhabitant. According to Montessori it was possible to make the leap from "stone to atomic" ages precisely because the child came into the world with nothing.19 This shows that if a child is taken away from its natural parents at birth it can be molded by the philosophy of its new parents even if that philosophy is completely different from the child" s natural parents. It is quite logical, then, that the ideas of Montessori would appeal to the early commun-ist pedagogues. Were they not trying to create the "new 17It should be noted that especially between Montessori and Fro e be 1 there are a number of s i m i 1 a r i ties in approach to preschool education. See: E.M. Standing, Maria Montessori, Her Life and Work. (Fresno, Ca., Academy Guild Press.,1962.) 18 Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind (New York Holt, Rhinehart, and Winston, 1967.) p.57. 19Montessori, pp. 58-59.

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13 Soviet man" ? What better way than to take the youth and educate them in a new way for a new world--a communist world. And, according to Montessori, the period from birth to age six is the most important; hence, the emphasis on preschool education, and the validity of Dewey's observation on the transformation of the family. According to Montessori, while an adult may admire an environment the child absorbs it, and this accounts for a "love of country", which in the minds of those trying to establish a new social order should have been very appealing indeed. To Montessori "the hope of altering adults is therefore in vain20". "To influence society we must turn our attention to childhood".21 The Montessori method involves the participation of children in their own learning process. It is only through practical work that children learn in the Montessori system. An entire series of toys is designed especially to lead the child to the understanding of basic concepts through play. In his earliest years, the child has the greatest capacity for learning and essentially creates his own logic and reasoning processes through the Montessorian concept of "absorption" of the t.rorld around him. Therefore, the child is not instructed or "taught" by a teacher but, rather, the teacher facilitates the 20Montessori, pp. 61-65. 21Montessori, p.66.

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14 learning process by explaining how "toys" are used so that the child can learn independently. In this way the child is not alienated through being forced to learn something in which he is not interested and, further, a greater degree of self-esteem is instilled in the child at an early age. All these ideas combined should produce an independent learner interested in the continuing learning process, and convinced that cooperation with others is essential.22 This is precisely what the communists were looking for, and precisely what Krupskaya spoke of in her article "For the Question Regarding the Socialist School".23 IV In 1918 Krupskaya observed that children learn not by words, but through the selection of toys they will teach themselves. She speaks specifically of the toys of Montessori. These toys must be chosen and provided in preschools with the purpose of developing all the senses of the children. Here Krupskaya cites both Froebel and Montessori to support her thesis. The specific types of toys are not available in the home, hence the need to 22Krupskaya states : "After a child learns to express the thoughts and feelings of others, then he will be interested in the thoughts and feelings of someone else." Nar.Pros. Petrograd, No. 1-2, 1919, p. 41. 23 Nadezhda Krupskaya, "For the Question Regarding the Socialist School", Nar.Pros., Petrograd, No.1-2, 1918, pp.40-41.

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15 create a sufficient number of kindergartens throughout the country to facilitate the proper learning atmosphere for children of an early age.24 Krupskaya argues that in the bourgeois system kindergartens for the children of workers are nothing more than "Children's Barracks". In the socialist system the kindergarten will be designed as a place for young children to learn, but not through the "aping" of teachers. Rather, the kindergarten must allow for the expressions and individual development of children. Only after a child has learned to express his own thoughts and feelings will he be interested in someone else's25. Here an interesting concept emerges only after a child becomes an individual can he become a 'convinced collectivist'. Only after the human is satisfied with his own personal development and individuality can a collective mentality be developed. If one were to visit a Montessori classroom, one would notice the first rule--a child may not disturb another child who is "at work". Once the child gains an appreciation for the need to complete his own "work" uninterrupted another's need to do the can he have same. Here an appreciation of we see the ides of Maria Montessori being used logically to assist in the development of a communistic state. 24Krupskaya, pp.41-42. 25Krupskaya, pp.40-42.

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16 In 1919 A.P. Vygotskaya26 wrote about the need to use the Montessori method to teach reading in the kinder-garten. Here she was arguing that reading should not only be taught using the Montessori method but, further, that it should be taught not in the primary school but in the kindergarten. According to Vygotskaya children are alienated and bored by the traditional approaches to education, especially as regards the teaching of reading. Her solution was to use independent learning techniques which foster the child's desire to learn for himself. This method she specifically attributes to Montessori. She explains to her readers that she has operated a kindergarten using the Montessori approach, that it works, and that she would be happy to provide further, more specific information to interested readers.27 Also writing in 1919, A. Kamentsev28 outlined the theories of various preschool pedagogical thinkers. He spoke highly of the Montessori school, especially for 2 6 The name Vy go tskaya implies that she was a relative, and possibly the wife of L.S. Vygotsky a noted Soviet psychologist who worked during this period. There is, though, no reference for Vygotskaya in The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (Ney York, Macmillan, Inc.,1981.). For more about Vygotsky see: The Great Soviet Encyclopedia ( 1981), and Andrew Sutton. Backward Children in the USSR" in: Jenny Brine, et al. Home, School and Leisure in the Soviet Union (London, George Allen, & Unwin. 1980.) 27 A.P. Vygotskaya,in Nar. Pros.No. 6-7,1919, pp. 60-63. 28r could find no biographical information on this writer.

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17 its scientific approach to education. He admired Montes sori's "House of the Child" since it took in the of working proletarian mothers in the slums of Rome. While noting that he had a personal preference for the methods of Froebel, he went on to outline the development of preschool education in the West as well as in pre-revolutionary Russia. He discussed in positive terms child-centered educational theories dating back to Rousseau's Emile. He looked at preschool education in Germany, France, Italy, and America. He spoke of Americans as "bold, courageous, citizens, greedy for novelty", and reported that in Chicago alone there were one hundred twenty kindergartens, not counting other preschool establishments. Here we see comparative education in its finest light. A newly established state searches the world to ascertain, without prejudice to nationality, which theories of preschool education would best suit its needs. Not limiting himself to the \Jest, though, Kamentsev uncovers the very origins of preschool education in tsarist Russia. Preschool education had existed in Russia in sixty of the last hundred years. One professor Legschaft in Petrograd had established a number of training courses for preschool teachers and had thus contributed greatly to the spread of preschool education in Russia. In addition to the Petrograd Froebel society

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18 there was a Froebel society in Kiev, and Stanislav Shatsky had worked with children in Moscow. Offering his opinions on the nature of the kindergarten in Soviet Russia, Kamentsev concluded that the atmosphere of the kinder-gar ten should be warm, loving, and nurturing. It should enhance the independence, creativity, and physical well being of the child.29 Here, then, once again the early communists are touting Western theories of preschool education for Soviet Russia. As a final note attesting to the esteem in ttlhich Western preschool theorists were held in the early years of Soviet Russia, it is significant that in addition to the prestigious Krupskaya, Lunacharsky--the Commissar for Public Enlightenment in this period--spoke highly of the ideas of Froebel. Lunacharsky claimed, in glowing terms, that Froebel was the first to systematize the concept of labor and participation in the kindergarten.30 v The period 1918-1921 saw a great degree of influence of the West on Soviet preschool thinkers. In this period there were four specific references to Montessori (out of twenty-one articles). In 1918-1919 the ratio was higher: Montessori appeared in three of the first nine articles. 29A. Kamentsev, "Preschool Education", in Nar. Pros. No. 9-10, 1919, pp. 9-14. 30A. Lunacharsky, "The Fundamental Principles of the United Labor School", in : Nar. Pros. No. 6-7, 1919, p. 4.

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19 In the period after the summer of 1919, Western writers showed up less often in Narodnoe Prosveshchenie, and there was more of an emphasis on what was going on, or needed to be achieved in Soviet Russia regarding the practical establishment of kindergartens and preschools throughout the country. Nonetheless, the ideas of individuality and a self-motivated approach to learning in preschools remained in force. Therefore, while Montessori, Froebel, and Pestalozzi were mentioned less, their ideas still remained promirient throughout the period 1918-1921. It cannot be overstated that it is astounding how much concern these people had for their children during the Russian Civil War. Certainly a large part was practical : there were homeless children who needed to be cared for, but the creation of a new social order was never far from the minds of the Preschool Department (Doshlol'nii Otdel) in this period.

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CHAPTER III THE DREAM THE THEORIES OF PRESCHOOL EDUCATION In 1919 a Preschool Department (Doshkolnii Otdel) was established in Soviet Russia under the overall authority of the Commissariat of Enlightenment. The head of this department was Dora Abramovna Lazurkina. In the period under scrutiny in this thesis, 1918-1921, numerous articles appeared in the official organ of the pedagogical sciences, Narodnoe Prosveshchenie, regarding the nature, practice, and establishment of preschool education throughout Soviet Russia. We have already looked at the influence from the West, now it is time to turn our attention to the actual hopes among the Soviets for their preschools in the years to come. In the following chapter we will look at the successes and failures of the dreams outlined below. I The mechanics for establishing a network of preschools were outlined in Narodnoe Prosveshchenie in an article entitled "A Short Account of the Work of the Preschool Department". There would be seven subdepart-

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21 ments: Establishments, Preschool Editorial-PubStatistics, Equipment-Furniture, Finance, and an "Office" to oversee the work of the whole department. The "Establishment" subdepartment was to be involved with the creation of a wide network of preschools through-out the country. It was to coordinate activities with the localities, to manage the setting up of new establish-ments, and to supervise the taking over of any existing preschools. Given the wide range of its activities it was further subdivided into kindergartens, ochagi (children's "hearths" organized during World War I to take care of children whose fathers were lost in the war1), colon-ies, squares, museums, and libraries. Herein it was stated that the kindergarten would hold a central place in the establishment of a network of preschools.2 By placing the emphasis on kindergartens the Preschool Department was stating its preference for having education as the central theme of preschools in the country. The existence of such things as the ochagi demonstrated that part of the attention of both the tsarist and the Soviet governments had been focused simply on child care. Here, then, the Department stated its preference for the dominant role of education. 1 Stanislav Shatsky, A Teachers Experience (MoscotoJ, Progress Publishers, 1981) Note 1, pp. 321-322. 2"A Short Account of the Current Work of the Pre school Department", Nar. Pros, No. 6-7, 1919, pp. 81-84.

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22 The reference to coordination with the localities implied that centralization would be the order of the day in preschool education. In this same article the authors stated that they "will work out a whole series of theoretical questions"3, meaning that control would be from the center. Additionally, instructors would be sent to the localities to organize preschools. This t.:rould solve a twofold concern : one--central control, two--the placement of qualified personnel in the countryside. This aforementioned task was to be managed by the subdepartment for workers. The Editorial-Publishing subdepartment would coordinate with Narodnoe Prosveshchenie, publish children's books, and even search abroad for suitable materials to be used in preschool education in Soviet Russia. The Statistics department was designed to gather the necessary information in order to expedite the process of establishing preschools in the country, and once again, to assist in the process of centralization.4 The subdepartment for equipment had not yet been organized, but the budgetary depart presented a rather detailed budget for the first half of 1919. This budget included some twenty two million rubles for kindergartens, sixty two million for ochagi, and even nine hundred 3Nar. Pros, No. 6-7, 1919, p. 81 4Nar. Pros, No. 6-7, 1919, p. 82.

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23 seventy nine-thousand rubles for toys.S The sum was optimistic, considering the needs of the Soviet people in 1919. Another interesting concept mentioned in this article was the proposed establishment of a model kindergarten attached to an Institute of Preschool Education ( the Institute itself would be used to train preschool teachers and workers; to "unite theory with practice").6 This model kindergarten was designed to accommodate twenty children; what a tremendous idea--attach the real thing to the adult school so they can actually see that about which they are being taught. The final question tackled in this article was whether or not the kindergarten should be attached to the regular network of schools throughout the country. This was the single most important problem this department faced. Could preschools stand alone? Could they be funded outside the "Unified Labor School"? At this juncture the Preschool Department must have thought that the answers to the above questions was--yes. Concerned more with the bastardization of preschool education by its inclusion as a first step in the Unified Labor School than with the possible demise of the idea of uni versa! preschool education, the authors here opted to 5Nar. Pros., p. 83. 6Nar. Pros., p. 83.

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leave the kindergarten separate. 24 The writers at this point, wanted the kindergarten to be an independent stage of education. They feared the artificial grouping of children by age, rather than by level of development. In the final analysis the fate of preschool education may have never been in the hands of the Preschool Department, but nonetheless they stood up for their educational principles.7 The question of including preschool education in the scheme of the Uni fled Labor School is one which received repeated attention in the early years of Soviet rule. The Unified Labor School was envisioned to be a ladder in together. emphasize : from the which all stages of education would be linked Additionally the Unified School was to always the labor process in all of its components earliest stage through the university. Here the Soviets were doing two things : first they were making sure that any student from any school could always go into a higher stage of education; second, early Soviet educators wanted to make sure that education in a proletarian state would emphasize the attributes of the labor process. Eventually, the Preschool Department, while retaining their own pedagogical preferences regarding and learning in kindergartens, petitioned to have the kindergarten be a part of the entire "learning ladder". In 7Nar. Pros., p. 84.

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25 1919 in "The Regulations Regarding the Unified Labor School" Article 2, Note 1 states : "To the Unified School is joined a kindergarten for children ages 6-8."8 Krupskaya in her article on the socialist school implied that the kindergarten should be a part of the entire educational system.9 In 1919 Lunacharsky wrote that "the entire system of normal schools from kindergarten to university is one school, one uninterrupted ladder."lO Writing in 1921, Department head Lazurkina states : "Thus we proceed straight to the topic, that preschool education must take a quite definite place in the overall system of general education."!! II Once the kindergartens and other forms of preschools were established, what would life and learning be like inside of them? As stated over and over again, the kindergarten was to allow for the independent activity and free creative work of children. Initially, the children were to be from 8ya. Sverdlov, M.N. Pokrovskii, & A. Enukidze, "The Regulations Regarding the Unified Labor School," Nar. Pros., No. 6-7, 1919, p. 12. 9Krupskaya, Nar. Pros., No. 1-2, 1918, Petrograd, pp. 40-41. 10Lunacharsky, Nar. Pros., No. 6-7, 1919, p. 3. lln. Lazurkina, "About the New Tasks of Preschool Education and of the New Forms of Social Life," Nar. Pros., No. 18,19,20, 1921, p.10.

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26 the ages of three to seven, but the school age varied according to the author, with some even proposing that provisions for education begin at birth. The "Instructions for the Managing of an Ochag, or a Kindergarten" in 1919 established the initial guidelines for activities in Soviet preschools.12 The overall educational emphasis was to be on the independent activity of the child and free work and play.13 Given the socio-economic conditions of the time, though, the primary emphasis would not be education, but child care. This can be corroborated by looking at the proposed budget for the beginning of 1919, where one can see more outlay for the ochagi than for the kindergartens Nonetheless, it was hoped that the following educational standards could be met by all preschools. "Scheduled activities [like in the regular] school, are inadmissible in a kindergarten. Pedagogically, an emphasis was to be placed on conditions which would facilitate and enrich the child's outward feelings and language formation. Activities were to include drawing, handiwork, songs, play, rhythmic motions, stories, and collecting otherwise worthless materials and utilizing 12rnstructions for Kindergarten" Nar. Pros., the Managing of an Ochag, No. 6-7, 1919, pp. 84-86. or a 13rnstructions ," Nar. Pros., No. 6-7, 1919, p. 84. 14Nar. Pros., p. 85.

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27 them for work. Even the furniture was to be designed to accommodate independent activity among the children. The authors went so far as to list specific dimensions for the furniture, in order that it would be adapted to the size and strength of the children. This question was tackled again in the same issue of Narodnoe Prosveshcheriie in an article entitled "Furniture for the Kindergarten".15 This article was produced by Lazurkina and Vygotskaya, among others, and they stated that the ultimate purpose of the kindergarten is to promote activity and independence, and complete freedom to develop; the furniture should not inhibit this goal.16 It is interesting to note this emphasis on the "individual" in the literature of this period. Historians writing about this period in the Soviet Union generally highlight th Soviet emphasis on the collective17. My research, however, points out that at this time, while the collective was the ultimate goal, the "individual" was not to be lost. People were expected 15"Furniture for the Kindergarten" Nar. Pros., No. 6-7, 1919, pp. 73-74. 16Nar. Pros., pp. 73-74. 17G.D. Andrusz, "Housing Ideals, Structural Con straints and the Emancipation of Women" in Brine, Jenny, et al. Home, School,and Leisure in the Soviet Union. (London, 1980.) p. 5. F.V. Gladkov, Cement. (New York, 1974.) p. 39. Peter H. Juviler "Contradictions of Revolution : Juvenile Crime and Rehabilitation" in Gleason, Abbott, et al. Bolshevik Culture ( Bloomington, Indiana, 1985.) pp. 266-268. In the Soviet Union in the early period there was a great debate over "individualism versus "collectivism".

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28 to retain their individuality and at the same time willingly, albeit logically, become members of the collective. The preschool was to teach the child only through the respect of the work of others can a collective prosper. Turning to aesthetics, the authors wrote : "ev everything [that surrounds the child in the kindergarten] must bear its own stamp of individuality, there must be nothing which is hackneyed."l8 On the negative side : no child was to be compelled to p 1 ay a game. Gymnastics and insect collections were thought to be out of the question for preschool age children. Further, systematic training in reading, writing, and numbers were to have no place in the kindergarten; it was to be the "natural path". As regards supplies, the appendix listed twenty pounds of colored chalk, white paper, black and colored pencils; additionally the following toys are mentioned : b a 11 s of assorted sizes and skipping ropes. This is but a brief enumeration of the types of items listed in this appendix; the entire list was quite long. The article specifically mentioned posobii Montessori). the supplies of Montessori (nabor Once again, then, one sees the consistency in the approach to preschool education in early Soviet Russia 18Nar. Pros., pp. 73-74.

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29 independent learning activities to enhance the independence and self esteem of the child, a la Montessori. From a communistic standpoint it was stated "first the indivi-dual, then the collective."19 The education of the child was, though, not their only concern. Given the effects of the civil war, other more basic considerations were necessary. Therefore, a doctor was supposed to be present to take care of the medical and psychological well being of the children. Hot food was to be provided in both kindergartens and ochagi. The locations must satisfy all hygienic, sanitary, and pedagogical demands; a room must be provided for rest. As a matter of fact an exemplary location would have four to five rooms, and it would not share an apartment with any other establishment.20 These, then, were the basic considerations for the establishment of a preschool facility in Soviet Russia. The primary purpose was to take care of the child's health needs, but very precise pedagogical guidelines tell us much about what was hoped for the future of the Soviet Union--adults who would have confidence in their own abilities, and who would also work collectively toward the betterment of society as a whole. This was the dream. 19Nar. Pros. No.6-7, 1919, pp. 85-86. 20Nar. Pros. pp.84-86.

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CHAPTER IV THE REALITY WHERE HAVE ALL THE CHILDREN GONE ? As stated in the introduction of this thesis, the provision of preschool education in the Soviet Union is far less today, both in number of institutions and in quality of care, than would be hoped for by Soviet citizens. The objective of this chapter will be to find some indications in the period under study which will help explain today's reality. The first indication that there would be some distance between theory and practice is found in "The Regulations Regarding the Unified Labor School" in 1919.1 This article, which was co-au tho red by Sverdlov, Pokrov skii, and Enukidze, hints at the future demise of universal preschool education in Soviet Russia. Article 2 states "The Unified School is divided into two stages: I--for children ages eight to thirteen; II--children ages thirteen to seventeen. n2 Note 1, as mentioned above, claims that the unified school will be "joined" by a 1Narodnoe Prosveshchenie., No. 6-7, 1919, pp. 12 -15. 2Nar. Pros., p. 12.

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31 kindergarten for children ages six to eight.3 Article 3 states that education in stages I and II will be free; Article 4 states that education for stages I and II will be mandatory.4 An analysis of this document yields two interesting conclusions one--the word "join" (prisoedinyat'sya) in note 1 is vague, and given the perspective of hindsight, demonstrates that preschool education was always more of a dream than an attainable goal; two--the absence of preschools in the universal, obligatory, and free educational scheme portends the same idea, namely, that the fate of the preschools was tied more closely to future considerations than to the real! ty of 1919. Later in 1919 it was admitted that localities had to provide supplies and equipment which under normal conditions would be taken care of at the center.5 One wonders how, if the central government could not afford to supply kindergartens, the provinces could do so where the ravages of civil war must have been great. In the same issue of Narodnoe Prosveshchenie, it was admitted that the full scale kindergarten could not be realized in Soviet Russia at that time and that, therefore, the "garden 3Nar. Pro s p.12 4Nar. P o r s., p. 12. 5"The Project of Subdepartment of Public 1919, p. 20. the Organization of the Preschool Education", Nar. Pros., No. 9-10,

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32 primitive" (sad-primitiv) should be considered.6 At the end of 1919, writing about the affairs of public education in the provinces no mention was made of any preschools at all. Charts provide detailed information regarding the number of schools of the first and second stages, but nowhere are preschools mentioned.? Then in 1920 specific data are provided outlining the sad state of affairs for preschool education in Soviet Russia at the time. At the end of 1918 there were 2615 preschool establ-ishments in thirty one gubernii (provinces) servicing a total of 155,443 an auspicious number of children, but far fewer than the number of children who were of preschool age in Soviet Russia at the time.8 By October, 1919 there were 1832 establishments servicing 109,189 children. But this was out of a total of 4,465,027 children of preschool age in the gubernii which were reporting information. In other words only 2.4 percent of the children were attending preschools. Moscow served the greatest number of children with 279 establish-6R. Prushitskaya, "Central Kindergartens", Nar. Pros., No. 9-10, 1919, pp. 22-23. The an abreviated version with shorter hours than the full kindergarten. 7"rn the Provinces School Affairs in Olonets Guberniya; 1918 to the begining of 1919", Nar. Pros,. No. 11-12, 1919, pp. 104-113. BE. Levitskaya, "A Survey of the Position of Preschool Education According to the Data in the Report for 1 October 1918", Nar. Pros,. No. 16-17, 1920, p. 92.

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33 ments servicing 13,366 children. The largest percent of preschool age children serviced was in Ryazan at 57.4 percent9. While this was certainly an advance over the situation in tsarist Russia where very few preschools seem to have existed at all (and outside of the major cities probably none), 2.4 percent of the total population of preschool age children is minuscule. What could explain such low enrollment ? In 1921 Prushitskaya from the Preschool Department writes, "The Civil War has carried more and more fathers into its bosom, and to a significant degree mothers have been torn from their children, placing in front of us new demands [Further,] the complete absence of pedagogical personnel and the impossibility from a technological-orga-nizational perspective has proven that a shorter kindergarten is what will have to occur at this time."10 Writing in 1921, Lazurkina also laments the lack of qualified preschool workers.11 This shotoJs us that the effects of the Civil War upon the department of Preschools were great. Pressure was being placed on preschools to simply "care" for children, and qualified 9Nar. Pros., pp. 92-98. 10 R. P r us hi tskaya, "The Development of the Pedagogical Work of the Department of Preschool Education", Nar. Pros., No. 18,19,20, 1921, p.25. 11D. Lazurkina, "About the Tasks of Preschool Education and of the New Forms of Social Life", Nar Pros., No. 18, 19. 20, 1921, p.l1.

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34 preschool ed uca tors were hard to find. Therefore, if we combine the ambiguity concerning funding, with lack of trained personnel, and heightened demands on the pre-schools, we begin to see the origins of the demise of preschool education in the Soviet Union. Without proper day care and preschool facilities the family was forced to cope with a bad situation as best it could; care was provided only to the most needy--those without parents or extended family. One could postulate that once the family learned to cope with this dilemma, and once the precedent for preschools without the emphasis on education had been set, perhaps Soviet citizens and government alike began to turn a policy of expediency into a policy of permanence. Nor did the situation improve between 1921 and 1928. John Dewey remarked in 1928 that only one-tenth of the preschool age children in Moscow attended preschools.l2 Reporting on the state of Soviet education in the 1920's Nicholas Hans and Sergius Hessen noted that for 1927\1928 there were 2,086 kindergartens with 104,000 childrenl3, in reality a slight drop from the number of children in 1919. It appears, then, that when faced with the diffi-cult dilemma of whether to place more money into primary and secondary education, or reserve a large sum for 12oewey. op. cit. p. 79 13Hans, N. & Hessen, s., Educational Policy in Soviet Russia, (London P.S. King & son, 1930.)

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35 preschools, the Soviet government has consistently chosen the former option. Given the information published in Narodnoe Prosveshchenie on preschool education this looks rather hypocritical, but even the United States does not provide universal free preschool education for three to four year old children.

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CONCLUSION \vhat is truly remarkable about the articles on preschool education from Narodnoe Prosveshchenie in the period 1918 to 1921 is the dream the early Soviets had for their future. Too often we are painted a portrait of brain-washing communists using only methods of terror to accomplish their While the use of terror existed in the 1920's, and to an even greater extent in the Stalin period, this study of preschools yields a much more well-rounded picture of communism in the Soviet Union. Preschool educational theories from this period show us that Russian communists were in fact interested in independently thinking individuals in their society. This also seems to be what Gorbachev is after in the 1980's. It shows that there is a greater link between the present and the incipient periods in the Soviet Union, than between the present and the immediate past. This study also points out that a greater similarity exists between the West and the Soviet Union than earlier thought. To achieve communism, Russian communists were interested in using Western theories of preschool educa-tion. They were convinced that a child needed to grow as

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37 an individual first, and as a convinced collectivist second. This means that educational theories are more closely linked between the different social systems than might have been previously thought. By teaching our youth to be individuals and to respect the work, needs, and feelings of others, we all hope to create a similar type of adult. In the Soviet Union that adult will seemingly a c hi eve hi s g r e a t e s t p o tent i a 1--as we 11 as the great e s t potential of the society in which he lives--through a centrally planned economy. In the United States it is seemingly a free market economy which yields the best results for adults. The similarities in child rearing, though, show us that we are closer together rather than further apart from one another. The final conclusion is much more typical in the study of the Soviet Union--expediency too often becomes permanent policy. In spite of the high hopes of the department of Preschools in the period 1918 to 1921, the resources were simply not available on a short or a long term basis to support universal, free, preschool education in the Soviet Union. This coupled with the fact that families may not have wanted very young children at this age educated by the state seems to be the best explanation for the failure of the preschool in the Soviet Union.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY PRIMARY SOURCES Dewey, John. Impressions of Soviet Russia. New York New Republic, 1929. Narodnoe Prosveshchenie. Petrograd. No. 1-2, 1918. Moscow. No.3-22, 1918-1921. Montessori, Maria. The Absorbent Mind. New York Rinehart, and Winston, 1967. SECONDARY SOURCES Holt, Andrusz, G.D., "Housing Ideals, Structural Constraints and the Emancipation of Women" in Brine, Jenny et al., Home, School and Leisure in the Soviet Union. London, George, Allen and Unwin, 1980. Attwood, Lynne. "Gender and Soviet Psychology." in: Avis, George (ed.), The Making of the Soviet Citizen. London, Croon Helm, 1987. Brine, Jenny, Ferrie, Maureen, and Sutton, Andrew, Home, School and Leisure in the Soviet Union. London, 1980. Dunston, John. "Soviet Boarding Education: It's Rise and Progress." in: Brine, Jenny, et al. Home, School, and Leisure in the Soviet Union. London George, Allen, & Unwin, 1980. Fitzpatrick, Shelia, The Commissariat of Enlightenment. London, 1970. Gleason, Kenez, and Sites, (ed.) Bolshevik Culture. Bloomington, Indiana, 1985. Gladkov, F.V., Cement. New York, 1974. Grant, Nigel, Soviet Education. New York, 1979. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia. New York : Macmillan Inc., 1981.

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39 Hans, Nicholas, & Hessen, Sergius. Educational Policy in Soviet Russia. London : P.S. King & Son, Ltd., 1930. Levin, Moshe, Lenin's Last Struggle. New York, 1968. Mathews, Mervin. Education in the Soviet Union, Policies and Institutions Since Stalin. London : George, Allen, & Unwin, 1982. Rigby, T.H. Lenin's Government, Sovnarkopm 1917-1922. London, 1979. Shatsky, Stanislav. A Teacher's Experience. Moscow Progress Publishers, 1981. Standing, E.M. Maria Montessori, Her Life and Work. New York : Hollis & Carter, Ltd., 1957.

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ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY The following is a listing of the sources available in America to the researcher of Soviet Preschool Education PRIMARY SOURCES (IN RUSSIAN) Doshkolnie Vospitanie (Preschool Education). This journal, according to the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, "deals broadly with questions of bringing up children in nursery schools". It did not begin publication until 1928, and it is not available in North America or Western Europe. Na Putyak k Novo! Shkole (The Path to the New School) began publication in 1922 and continued until 1933. Its articles were, therefore, outside the scope of this thesis. Narodnoe Prosveshchenie (Public Education) This was the official journal\organ of the Commissariat of Enlightenment. It began publication in 1918, and is still in publication today. It contains articles on a wide range of topics relating to education in the Soviet Union. The topic of preschool education was treated in depth by this journal in the period 1918-1921. Pedalogiya (Pedagogy) began publication in 1928. This journal was also outside the scope of this thesis. Petrogradskii Uchitel' This journal began publication in 1918, but is not available in North America or Western Europe. Rabotnik Prosveshchenie (Education Worker) This journal began publication in 1920, but it had no specific articles on preschool education. Russkaya Shkola za Rubezhom (The Russian School from Abroad) This began publication in Prague in 1923, but was unavailable in America. Uchitel'skaya Gazeta (The Teachers' Newspaper) This did not begin publication until 1924.

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41 PRIMARY SOURCES (IN ENGLISH) Dewey, John. Impressions of Soviet Russia, New York, New Republic, 1929. This book was the result of Dewey's travels to Soviet Russia, Mexico, China, and Turkey. In this book Dewey comments on various educational experiments in the "revolutionary" countries of the 1920's. Montessori, Maria. The Absorbent Mind, New York, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1967. In this book Montessori outlines the "Montessori method", and gives reasons for the use and success of her methods of teaching for early childhood learning. SECONDARY SOURCES (IN RUSSIAN) Korolev, F.F. Ocherki po Istorii Sovetskoi Shkoli, i Pedagogiki 1917-1920. Moscow, 1958. Korolev gives some brief accounts of preschool education in this period, but nothing extensive. SECONDARY SOURCES (IN ENGLISH) Alston, Patrick, Education and the State in Tsarist Russia, Stanford, 1969. This i.,.s one of the standard works for the pre-Soviet period. It contains no information on preschools in either the Russian or the Soviet periods. Brine, Jenny, et al., Home, School and Leisure in the Soviet Union, London, 1980. Brief mention is made of kindergartens, but nothing on their history for 1918-1921. Brooks, Jeffrey. When Russia Learned to Read, Literacy and Popular Literature 1861..:.1917. The focus of this book is not formal education and, while some reference is made to public education, there is no specific mention of preschool education. Chauncey, Henry, Soviet Preschool Education. New York, 1969. This work contains information on the practice of So v i e t p r. e s c h o o 1 s in the 19 6 0 ,. s b u t has no hi s to r y o f the incipient period.

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42 Dewitt, Nicholas, Education and Professional Employment in the U.S.S.R., Washington, D.C., 1961. Dewitt gives information on preschool education for the 1960's. There is brief mention of the Commissariat of Enlightenment taking over preschool education in 1918, but nothing substantive for that period. It is interesting, though, that in the 1960's the focus of preschool education was "indoctrination, including patriotism and obedience to Soviet leadership [and to] give rudimentary instruction in reading and arithmetic". (p.76) Fitzpatrick, Shelia, The Commissariat of Enlightenment. London, 1970. There is no mention of preschool education in this work. Grant, Nigel, Soviet Education. New York, Penguin Books, 1979. This is a brief and introductory account of Soviet Education for the 1970's. The section on preschools gives no information for the period 1918-1921. Hans, Nicholas, The Russian Tradition in Education. London, 1963. This work contains no information on preschool education. Hans, N. and Hessen, N., Educational Policy in Soviet Russia. London, 1930. This book contains a small amount of information on preschools, mostly helpful charts with enrollment data. The author's focus is on educational policies in the early period of Soviet Russia in secondary and post secondary education. Holmes, Larry, "Soviet Schoolteachers and Moscow : Educational Policy and Classroom Practice, 1921-1928" Washington, D.C., The Kennan Institute, 1984. "Soviet Schools : Policy Pursues Practice, 1921-1928." Manuscript to appear in Slavic Review. Before speaking with Professor Holmes, and reading his papers, my focus was on teachers in the period 1917-1930. I changed my topic at this point in search of originality. These two papers have no specific information on preschool education. They are very enlightening, though--the teachers in the early Soviet period balked at many of the reforms of the Commissariat of Enlightenment resulting in their failure. Hence Professor Holmes's title "Policy Pursues Practice".

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43 Jacoby, Susan. Inside Soviet Schools. New York, 1975. This book contains a chapter on kindergartens and how they fun c t ion e d in the 1 9 70's It offers inter e s tin g insights since the author travelled to a number of kindergartens throughout the Soviet Union. It does not, however, contain any information on the origins of preschools in Soviet Russia. Jarausch, Konrad The Transformation of Higher Learning, 1860-1930 Chicago, 1979. McClelland, James, (pp.180-195) "Diversification in Russian-Soviet Education" There is no specific information on preschool education in this work. Johnson, William, Russia's Educational Heritage. New York, 1969. Johnson mentions Pestalozzi twice, but makes no mention of preschool education in either the Russian or the Soviet periods. Mathews, Mervin, Education in the Soviet Union, Policies and Institutions Since Stalin. London, 1982. Mathews includes a brief section on preschools, but nothing on the period 1918-1921. Shatsky, S., A Teacher's Experience. Moscow, !'981. This volume contains translations of Shatsky's writings on education in Soviet Russia. It did have some articles on kindergartens in the incipient period, but much of it contradicted material found in the source Narodnoe Prosveshchenie. Its reliability was, therefore in doubt, and it was used sparingly in this thesis. Tomiak, J.J. (ed.) Soviet Education in the 1980's, London, 1983. Western Perspectives on Soviet Education in the 1980's, London, 1986. Soviet Education contains three sections which disc us s preschools, but nothing subs tantive on the incipient period. Western Perspectives mentions kindergartens in one article, but again nothing on the period 1918-1921.