Women in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With Marina Belykh From Russia by Mike Prochaska
Marina Belykh is a Montessori director at the Fly High Kids Academy in Moscow, Russia. It was hard to find men or women in the Early Childhood Education field to talk with me, so I thank her for this interview.
Q. What’s Russia like?
“Oh, it’s huge, cold and soulful.”
Q. How did you get into Early Childhood Education Field?
“Because of my younger son. I was looking for some methodic [way] for helping me to communicate with him. So, I got professional international pedagogical diploma.”
Q. What do men bring to the classroom?
“Now I am working with a man as the second teacher! It is very positive experience. Harmony. The children can be in the natural environment, where both parts of life are presented: male and female together.”
Q. What’s it like teaching in Russia?
“Grateful parents (almost), good salary, two-month vacation, strong pedagogical community, appreciation of the teacher(s).”
Q. Why is play important for children?
“Play is the work of the child, and they like to play both real life and with abstract material. [Play] has true child interest in the base of it. Repetition, imitation, self-perfection and others human tendencies reflect in the games.”
Q. Why is it important to introduce children to nature?
“Kids of the young age know nothing about the world. They can get only what the adults can give them. I now some kids, who thinks that cows live in supermarket, dragons and aliens fly near … the children easily can go to the fantasy world. Some call it creativity, but not for the young age. Kids need strong base of understanding cause and facts, nature laws. And interaction with real life, nature can help children to be grounded to the reality. And such kids have great level of creativity!”
Q. What’s your favorite memory working with kids?
“Once, a little boy of 4 years old come to our kindergarten from the vacation [his] parents went for work. And he was sitting in the hall and crying. I asked him if I can sit near. He said OK. He was telling me that he wants to go to his mum, wants to swim in the sea, and he was really upset being here in the kindergarten. I was sitting near, and I felt his deep sorrow. I didn't depreciate it, but started talking with the child about how I understand his situation. And the tears appear in my eyes. The child told me, ‘You need to wipe your eyes, let’s go to the classroom.’ Being with children is about being friends.”
Q. What your favorite activities to do with kids?
“I like to play silence games, where children start to hear the silence and to appreciate it. Children start to control their impulses, etc. For example, take a basket with scissors, paper, rocks, seeds in the box, glass, jar with water and cover the basket with cloth. Ask the child to keep silence and listen to the sounds, which an adult makes under the cloth (cut the paper, pour the water and so on). Children try to guess where the sound comes from.”
Q. Anything inspiring to tell anyone thinking of going into this field?
“Living the life among the children is about being in the real life, in the present.”