Choosing from the maze of education options can be bewildering for both parents and children. RT has examined the variety of Moscow’s international schools.
Kat Malenchenko, an expat form the US, told RT she wants her little one to have a choice. Her daughter Kamilla is still in kindergarten.
“I really like the Russian education,” Malenchenko told RT. “It is really strong and they go really deep into each topic and they demand a lot from each student. So by the time they come out, with just a high-school education, they’re really smart. You can go anywhere with it.”
If a foreign university is your goal, however, it may be worth to consider other options.
“To get a child into a UK university thorough using Russian system will be quite difficult,” Damien Butters, vice-principal of “Atlantic” school, told RT. “I think these days the children need more and more ammunition to take with them. The more qualifications and experience they have, the better it is. Children in international schools have an advantage, as they are exposed to more languages, smaller classes.”
An international school is the obvious answer. “Atlantic” is one of them, offering full range of education on one site, from kindergarten to a secondary school.
They are a certified Cambridge Examination Center, but with some Saturday studying, kids can get a Russian diploma too. It is quite pricey, though, with fees in secondary school reaching $28,000 per year. Still, this investment into your child could prove invaluable.
“Many of our children are from all over the world,” Jenny Yang, teacher at the “Atlantic” school, told RT. “We have students from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Taiwan, Poland, Spain, and France. This really gives the children here the opportunity to meet kids from other cultures and those speaking different languages. It teaches them to learn more about the world, their surroundings and be more accepting of one another.”
“International school Moscow” is another English national curriculum school in the West of the capital. To ensure the international title, no class can have more than 25% of any nationality that is not native speaker.
“Every child has to pass an assessment,” Paul Seedhouse, headmaster at the International School Moscow, told RT. “We are a relatively small school and we are selective.”
Despite ambitious expansion plans, so far it is not a full secondary school, so after grade 9 you will have to seek another one. But there they might accept your offspring just for being a first-class athlete.
“One subject that we are developing is golf,” Seedhouse told RT. “It’s missing in Moscow, our students are going to become prominent businessmen and golf is a nice tool for that.”
The English International School also prides itself on sports, football in particular. They regularly compete with Russian schools on the playfield to keep the spirits high.
The school also has a thriving arts and drama department and a summer club to keep kids busy during holidays. It is a friendly school of just over 150 pupils which, despite its young age, already won reputation of one of the best in the city.
“You are lucky in Moscow, as there is a good choice of reputable international schools,” Ross Hunter, headmaster at English International school, told RT. “There is no way you can classify the difference. All I would say to parents, trust your instincts, they will find the right school for you.”
Another school with a difference is Seymour House School located in the Village of Artists near the Sokol metro. This is the case of a creative school located in a creative neighborhood, where pupils can lie in hammock with a favorite book between the classes.
Seymour combines atmosphere of a country-house with that of an elite boarding school. That is exactly where these kids are going to go in just a year or two – that is how much they need to cover standard school curriculum.
Seymour’s founder Dina Karpova is confident that regular schooling is hopelessly outdated.
“As soon as you change the angle of a child, from ‘OMG, this is so boring!’ to ‘You’re doing this because you’re interested in the result and the process,’” the child starts understands that’s interesting,” Dina Karpova, director at Seymour House School, told RT. “And then you could put five years into one year of academic program, and we’ve done it.”
They achieve impressive results with a combination of non-mainstream psychological methods.
“I’ve been to so many schools for gifted children, because what works for them and kids with dyslexia works for everyone else,” Karpova told RT.
The owner did not disclose the price of a schooling year, saying it is more than one will pay for a regular international school. If your child aims as high as Westminster or Eaton, chances are, you will have to spend that money anyway.
When selecting a perfect school for your child, it is important to ask questions. What you should also pay attention to is whether to kids look happy, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. After all, each school has its own personality, and it could literally be love at first sight.