Old Photos: Soviet Kindergartens

When I was growing up© , the original political and ideological reasons for organizing preschools in the USSR were long gone and kindergartens became what they are in the rest of the world – places to drop off children while adults work. Soviet kindergartens had various quality levels – some were owned by money-rich companies with new buildings, nice personnel and good food; others were for everyone else – with cramped quarters, frustrated overworked teachers and always-present smell of burnt milk (the milk was always boiled and if you smelled burnt milk once you’ll never forget it). I was lucky to spend a few years in the former kind of kindergarten, it was very nice and not easy to get into, especially since my parents didn’t work for the company which owned it. I don’t remember much from that time, so this set of photos was a nice reminder what the kindergartens of my childhood looked like, they are taken in 1960 but little has changed when I was attending one in 1975.

Performance dedicated to the International Women's Day

I am pretty sure the girl on the left did something to break my wrist, starting off my streak of bad relationships with women.

©Time Carl Mydans

©Time Carl Mydans

©Time Carl Mydans

Older kids hated mandatory nap-time.©Time Carl Mydans

©Time Carl Mydans

©Time Carl Mydans

©Time Carl Mydans

©Time Carl Mydans

©Time Carl Mydans

©Time Carl Mydans

Karl Marx is overlooking the room where the future of socialism is being molded.©Time Carl Mydans

  • International Woman

    Way to rock that flowered kerchief! If your shorts were pulled up any higher you would have lost all movement in your arms. Ho, you’re a brave man, posting these!!!

  • I still wear a babushka at home when nobody is looking

  • I love the way you sneak a picture of yourself amongst the Life photos. I’m pretty sure I would recognize any of your childhood photos now.

  • That’s why they caught my eye, they look exactly like mine, although I only have a few.

  • You were certainly a cute little fellow… what the hell happened?

  • Миша, ты ничуть не изменился 😉

  • и ростом такой же

  • Hey, no fair!

  • Donna, after reading this for so long and meeting me in person I was pretty sure you are fluent in Russian.:-) He said that I haven’t changed a bit and I replied that even my height is the same.

  • Meeting you would certainly not help me learn Russian, since you don’t even have enough accent to notice. I’m relieved to know that you guys weren’t talking dirty in Russian.

  • Rick

    I found the washroom photo interesting. Everyone has his or her own towel for hand-washing, eh? No paper towels back in 1960, I guess …

  • I didn’t catch your photo until I read the comments. You did pretty well in drag back in the day. Have you considered it now? I mean by your own admission you really can’t grow a mustache.

    I keed, I keed. We grew up around the same time, but the pictures you post (your own and others) really paint a difference in our experiences tho. Thanks again for sharing with us.

  • Anti Iggy

    You went to school at the same time as Igor, the little Russian who vomits on the Bill Tammeus Blog several times a day!

    These pictures explain why he is so vehement a Militant Atheist.


    They are PRICELESS!

  • midtown miscreant

    First time I met Meesha he was wearing that exact same outfit, only with argyle socks.

  • Angie Reyes

    Thank you for posting all this!