Extracurricular Institutions

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Extracurricular Institutions


in the USSR, state and public organizations and instruction methodology institutions for extracurricular work with children and adolescents (students of all grades of the secondary school). Extracurricular institutions work closely with the schools and Pioneer and komsomol organizations; together they solve the problems of a communist upbringing for the new generation.

Extracurricular institutions are divided into two types: general and specialized. General extracurricular institutions work with children and adolescents in different fields of science, technology, culture, sports, and tourism. They include Pioneers’ and pupils’ palaces and houses, children’s sectors of trade-union palaces of culture and clubs, and children’s parks. Among the specialized extracurricular institutions are young technicians’ stations, young naturalists’ stations, children’s excursion and tourist stations, children’s and adolescents’ sport schools, young automobile drivers’ clubs, young sailors’ clubs, Pioneers’ camps, and children’s rail-roads, steamships, and automobile roads. In the broad sense of the term extracurricular institutions also include children’s libraries, theaters, and motion picture theaters. Extracurricular institutions are under the jurisdiction of the ministries of education, culture, transportation, river transport, and mer-chant marine, as well as of the trade unions, physical culture and sport committees, and other organizations. They work under the direction of departmental organizations and komsomol committees.

The first extracurricular institutions in the USSR were organized in 1918 (the Young Nature Lovers’ Biology Station in Moscow and the Art School for Working People’s Children in Leningrad), and Pioneers’ houses were established beginning in 1923. In 1935 the first Pioneers’ palace was opened in Kharkov, the first children’s railroad in Tbilisi, and the first children’s playroom in Odessa. In 1970 the extracurricular institutions functioning in the USSR included 3,780 Pioneers’ and pupils’ palaces and houses, with about 2 million children and adolescents, 6,400 children’s sectors of palaces and houses of culture, 8,400 pupils’ rooms, 175 children’s parks, 553 young technicans’ stations, 327 young naturalists’ stations, 168 children’s excursion and tourist stations, 33 children’s railroads, and 1,100 young technicans’ clubs. In addition, there were 4,166 children’s museums and art schools, 3,581 children’s and adolescents’ sports schools, 172,000 children’s and school libraries, and 142 theaters for children.

Extracurricular institutions function all year. Their activities include mass organizational work—rallies, festivities, lectures, film festivals, contests, shows, meetings, exhibitions, and games. They also do work in instructional-methodology with active members of the Pioneers and komsomol and Pioneer instructors, elders, and detachment leaders, as well as with teachers and leaders of various circles and clubs. Extracurricular institutions generalize and disseminate the best experience of extracurricular work with children. They teach through various circles, clubs, societies, song and dance ensembles, theaters, and orchestras. Extracurricular work may be civic and political, including detachments of Red Pathfinders; museums of local lore, military and labor glory, and the history of the komsomol and Pioneer organizations; international friendship clubs; and agitation brigades. It may be educational—circles, clubs, students’ scientific societies, and exhibitions of children’s art. Extracurricular work may involve socially useful activities, including help to construction projects, kolkhozes, and sovkhozes, as well as landscaping of settlements and cities, student production brigades, labor “commandos,” and the fulfillment of assignments for museums and scientific research institutes. It may involve physical culture and sports—sport and tourist clubs, sections, and societies; physical culture festivals; military sport games; pioneers quartathalon; and contests for the prize of the news-paper Pionerskaia pravda. Extracurricular work may be artistic, including art studios, orchestras, ensembles, choreographic groups, puppet theaters, music clubs, Olympic Games, shows, and festivals.

Extracurricular work is organized on the basis of extracurricular institutions themselves, as well as outside their framework—according to place of residence, in children’s parks and Pioneer camps, and so forth. It is conducted according to model programs confirmed by the Ministry of Education.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.