Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Vuipusknitsa! (Kindergarten Graduate)

Katya graduated from her kindergarten on Friday, June 1st. Graduation from kindergarten is actually a very big deal in Russia; children start first grade a year later here than in the United States. In order to enter first grade, children have to be seven-years-old and are expected to already know how to read, write and do basic addition and subtraction. Her curriculum in kindergarten also included basic geometry. Katya and Natalia have been at a special private kindergarten where the older children are prepared to enter first grade in either Russian or English.

It seems not that long ago that she arrived here in Russia not knowing a single word of the language... When she came home from school after four months of living here and declared that we "had ruined her life" and that she wanted to "throw it out the window" because it was so hard to learn Russian. Now she aced the entry tests to her Russian private school and can win spelling bees against her native-speaker friends!

All of the younger children recited kind and humorous poems about the graduating students. Here is Natalia reciting her line about one of the boys: "Kak londonsky dandy odet', vidyot sibya kak djentelmen." ("Dressed like a London dandy, he acts like a gentleman.") Natalia was so proud to be a "big kid" with a speaking part! She sure has come a long way in the past year; I remember when she cried, "Mama!" and pointed at me the whole time when she appeared in her first school play 1 1/2 years ago! Now she relishes her time in the spotlight and doesn't want it to end.

The poem about Katya basically said how kind she is to everyone and that one day her fashion creations will appear in the store windows of the city's most exclusive boutiques. Katya's fashion sense certainly made an impression on everyone at the school... I long ago gave up fighting with Katya over what to wear. She has very clear and original ideas about her attire! Interspersed with her colorful ensembles would be days of historic attire as she dressed as her favorite "American Girl" characters--most often as an 1854 pioneer...

These shoes were fitting for the occasion. I made them to match her dress out of cloth ballet slippers and sequins after refusing to pay $100 for the only white dressy shoes left in the city (every girl needs dressy white shoes for end-of-the-year school performances and I had been beaten to the punch by other moms). I must have spent four whole days searching all over the city for white shoes... At times like that I really miss the ease of shopping in the USA!

(Editorial note: I had to add the picture below in order to have it appear as a photo in my profile. The picture had to be uploaded to a "page" on the blog in order to remain in my profile.)


Rachael said...

Congratulations, Katya!!!

Awesome shoes, by the way.

Annie said...

You are a wonderful photographer - I have noticed that before!

I am going to settle back and, over time, read all your posts... I hope that isn't too voyeuristic!