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Kindergarten in the USA: how much it costs and what is remarkable

Kindergartens in the USA are famous not only for their high cost, but also for the quality of services provided. Russian-speaking immigrant in his blog "Notes of an Immigrant" on "Yandex.Zen" shared his impressions about the American kindergarten.

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Next - from the first person.

At the end of October 2018, our youngest son went to kindergarten. He attended it until August 2019, when he transferred to school. Today I will write about what a kindergarten in the USA is.

I think people interested in life in the United States have already heard about the high cost of kindergartens in the country. It really is. Kindergarten is a very serious expense item. Most American families try to do without it if possible.

A woman who works in an ordinary, not very well-paid job, such as a shop assistant, will give at least half of her salary for kindergarten for one child. If the family has two or more children, then it is easier for a woman to sit with them at home.

On the other hand, if a woman is building a serious career, a baby can be sent to a kindergarten, or rather to a nursery, within a couple of months after birth, and the mother returns to work. There is no three-year maternity leave in the country in any case.

Associated with these factors is one sensible feature of the typical American family - birth planning. A middle-class family may have two or four children, but these are always children of the same age, well, or with an age of a couple of years difference.

When I told the Americans that I have two children, between whom they are 13 years apart, they were certainly amazed, here it is extremely atypical. However, the most perceptive immediately specified, children from one marriage or two. Having learned that from two, they immediately exhaled with relief. This situation fits into the normal picture of the American world.

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Typical Americans don't get married early, they get their education first, they start building professional careers, they earn money. Then they get married and move to a quiet suburb, where they raise their children. Married XNUMX-year-old students sitting around their parents' necks is nonsense.

As I wrote above, a typical young American family who has moved to the suburbs begins to give birth to children in bulk. Very often in all kinds of children's sections, playgrounds, and just in stores, you can see a typical American mother, hung with two or three children of almost the same age. The mother raises the children at home until at least primary school, grade 1-2, when children start going to school for a long time, hours until 14: 00-15: 00.

Only then can the young mother return to work. In the future, the woman works without interruptions on "maternity leave", until retirement.

It is rare to see several children from the same family in a kindergarten, although this also happens. This should be a family with a very good income.

So what is a kindergarten in the USA? As far as I can tell, here it is not included in the education system, as in the post-Soviet countries. This is a pure babysitting business. Sometimes on his own, sometimes in a church or some organization. Of course, kindergarten is not as compulsory as school.

There is a bit of confusion about terminology. What we call kindergarten is called preschool in the United States. But the preparatory, "zero" class of an elementary American school, where children go at the age of 5, is called kindergarten, that is. Kindergarten. In this article I am talking about preschool.

That kindergarten (I will call it as usual, in Russian), where we sent our son, is ten minutes away from home by car. This is a former private two-storey house with a plot, slightly rebuilt as a kindergarten, in the middle of an ordinary residential suburb. However, there are also kindergartens in the district, located in purpose-built commercial buildings.

There are only two “groups” in the kindergarten, for children 2-3 years old and 4-5 years old. Specifically in our kindergarten there is no nursery with babies. The kindergarten also serves as an extension for the surrounding primary schools. In the schools themselves, there may not be an extended period, and children under 12 should not be left alone at home.

Usually children go to school at 9:00, and the kindergarten is open from 7:00. Those parents who go to work early can drop their child into kindergarten, from where they will take him by bus to school by nine. After lessons, if the parents cannot pick up the child, the same bus takes him back to the kindergarten, where he is on the "extended" until the evening.

A full extension, that is, the time before and after school, costs $ 400 per month, if only in the morning or only after school, then $ 250. And, in fact, a full-day kindergarten for preschoolers costs $ 880 per month.

During the summer months there is a summer camp in the kindergarten, $ 55 per day. A child can walk for at least one day, at least five a week. The camp differs from the kindergarten in that there is no study in it, only games and entertainment, and the children spend most of the time on the street, where they have a playground, a swimming pool, a shed. Also, every week on one of the days they are taken to different excursions - to the zoo, museums, parks.

There is no three-course feeding habitual in the Soviet kindergarten in the American kindergarten. So, milk and some kind of snacks, such as cereals, nuggets, and even chips. Usually, parents give their children some food to take with them. No one will force the child to eat everything, and indeed will not force him to eat.

There are no bedrooms, beds and “quiet hours” either, although children can lie down and relax somewhere on the carpet. There are always 2-3 teachers in the group, and if there is any child with autism or with another disability, a separate teacher is assigned to him.

They do not leave their own children, they constantly come up with something for everyone. Children are constantly drawing something, gluing, sculpting, building, playing something, or learning something.

Why did we decide to send the child to kindergarten, despite the high cost? So that he has time to adapt to local realities, to the English language in front of the school, which was less than a year away at the time of the move. American children generally behave differently. It is enough to watch them somewhere in an amusement park or zoo. Children follow the line, do not push forward, pushing others with their elbows, show politeness. All this is learned not only in families, but also in kindergarten and elementary school.

At the time of the move, the youngest son was four years old, in Ukraine he went to kindergarten only a few months before leaving, however, there he did not have a relationship with the kindergarten. I went there every morning with tears, screams, screams, resisted as best I could. There were days when he could not be persuaded to go to kindergarten.

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It was an ordinary old “Soviet”, almost free kindergarten, smelling of milk porridge with old teachers. On the very first day, he went eagerly, and then he was offended, either by the teacher or by the children. In short, it began and did not end. Moreover, he went there for only half a day. The teacher assured that she would get used to it in a week, in the end, she never got used to it.

We were expecting problems with the American kindergarten. On the first day, everything was the same: hysteria, screams, screams. The teacher grabbed him in her arms, then waved to us to leave. Even at the first meeting, we outlined the situation to her, she immediately said that no “half a day”, only for the whole day, that she would cry for three days, like everyone else, then she would get used to it. As a result, in the evening they took him away happy - for more than a month he did not play with other children, and in the morning his son went to the kindergarten with great pleasure. Surprisingly, he liked completely alien aunts, speaking an incomprehensible language, children whom he could not understand, much more than his own, dear and understandable ones.

It is believed that at this age the child easily “picks up” a foreign language from others. Several months passed in kindergarten, but no progress was visible. We haven't heard a single English word from the small. He still went to the kindergarten willingly. One day the teacher told us that he speaks English with the children. But as soon as he noticed a teacher nearby, he immediately fell silent. Apparently, the child has formed such a funny stereotype - all his acquaintances children speak English, and most adults speak Russian. Therefore, he instantly switched languages ​​in different situations. However, soon the son began to talk freely with the teachers.

When in April we went to take the school entrance test, which determined the level of knowledge of the English language, as well as the level of knowledge (letters, numbers), it turned out that the son lacked only half a point to the local “native” level. We were even offered to leave it in a regular school, where there is no advanced English for foreigners (ESL). However, we could choose and chose to play it safe. In addition, our ESL school is closer and considered better.

This summer, the son again went to his kindergarten, to the summer camp. No matter how much it costs, in our current situation it is a real salvation. Schools were closed back in March due to the coronavirus, children stay at home and naturally run wild without communicating with their own kind. And ours also loses the ability to communicate in English. When I received a message that the camp was opening in mid-June, I immediately ran to negotiate. True, all because of the same virus, this year they do not have any excursions, but they are already good, after three months of staying at home without leaving.

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