institutions for the social upbringing of infants (from one to three years of age) and children of preschool age (three to seven years of age). In the USSR the system of preschool institutions includes créches, créche-kindergartens, and kindergartens. V. I. Lenin ascribed enormous importance to the development of pre-school institutions, which he called the “shoots of communism.” In the article “A Great Beginning” he wrote: “Public catering establishments, nurseries, kindergartens—here we have examples of these shoots, here we have the simple, everyday means, involving nothing pompous, grandiloquent, or ceremonial, which can really emancipate women, really lessen and abolish their inequality with men as regards their role in social production and public life”(Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 39, p. 24).
In the USSR, social preschool upbringing, an organic part of the public education system, enjoys the attention and concern of the Communist Party and the Soviet government. The upbringing of children in preschool institutions is based on a single scientific program worked out by Soviet preschool pedagogy. As of Jan. 1, 1971, there were 83,000 kindergartens and créche-kindergartens with a combined enrollment of 8.1 million children. There are special preschool institutions under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Health of the USSR for children with physical and mental handicaps. Specialists who work in preschool institutions are trained at pedagogical colleges and institutes. The Doshkol’noe vospitanie (Preschool Upbringing) deals with work experiences obtained in preschool institutions and methods and theories of social preschool upbringing.
In foreign countries preschool institutions are known by various names, including kindergarten, maternal school, infant school, Montessori school, play centers for young children, and day care centers.
M. V. ZALUZHSKAIA