Academics

Learning to play (Children 3-5 years old)

The main purpose of this class is to introduce vocabulary and work on fine motor skills to prepare children for the Russian alphabet. Each lesson begins with mimic exercises, phonetic or other games (for example ‘za za za and zaichik, bi-bi-bi and belochek’, etc.). Often, motions are included with the words to help enhance (using music and poems). Students also play games emphasizing ‘opposites’ (Day and Night, nest for the birds, wolves and goats), educational games (Guess what is in the bag, what is greater), listen to and memorize classic Russian nursery rhymes and songs. A variety of techniques are used to enrich vocabulary. Often in lessons, we use bingo cards, puzzles and more. Puppets and masks are used to help children acquaint with fairy tales, which contributes to a further enrichment of vocabulary and exploring themes. Finally, some work at the desk is always included to enhance finger motility and prepare students for writing.

Speech games (Children 3-5 years old)

This class focuses on speech games during which children work on topics to gain thematic vocabulary. Children also learn to read syllables and words. The children work with the favorite ABC book – by Nadezhda Zhukova. During the classes the children learn phrases by describing pictures, voice samples, etc. The children also learn to distinguish objects by both gender and number. Many speech patterns are learned through: bingo, role-playing games (hospitals, shops, transport, reception at the desk) or short phrases and conversations (my name is Sasha, I’m 8 years old, I love the breakfast and dinner … I do not like…). Songs and finger games are also used to help Children remember various phrases and poems. Additionally, to vocabulary and speech practice is enhanced through crafts, images, and other applications … During specific activities the teacher involved and talking to each student about his or her work. The learning in the classroom is supported at home through printed letters, words and pictures, learning of songs or chants and words on the topic, description of pictures. Parents are given an explanation of what phrases to work on (for beginners), which questions to answer, and as children progress, puzzles and other riddles to solve for those who need more in-depth development.
Through the Speech Games class the following Russian language skills will be developed:

  • the ability to say hello, goodbye, introduce oneself, talk about themselves and their families;
  • the ability to ask questions, make suggestions, thank people;
  • the ability to say where they live, name the color of an object, count objects;
  • the ability to name the day of the week, time of year, the ability to describe the familiar images;
  • the ability to answer the questions: When? Where? What is it? Who is it? What? What is he doing?;
  • the ability to describe a face, name the animals, plants, birds, vegetables, fruits, objects in the home and clothes.

In a fairy tale (children 3-5 years old)

In this lesson each week, the children each week enter a journey into the magical and mysterious world of fairy tales, where they meet fantastic heroes. They are aided in this by reknown theater and film actress, and experienced teacher Lavrentiev Tatiana and her wonderful helper dolls.

Music and Singing (children 3-5 years old)

In this lesson children will learn singing, movement, miming, and improvisation to untap musical abilities, foster teamwork, and improve Russian communication with their peers. These lessons are available to all children, regardless of their abilities or prior experience with music. Classes are conducted in a fun playful way with fairy-tale characters such as Winnie the Pooh. The activities during the lesson are changing frequently, the children are involved in singing (choral and individual), and listening to music, and dance, and dance, and rhythmic exercises, and group games to music. All activities are focused on the development of listening and voice, the use of speech muscles, vocabulary, articulation and diction, as well as the coordination of voice, hearing, emotion and movement. There is no need to purchase any musical instruments for this class as all will be provided by the teacher.

In our music class children are exposed to other fun musical skills including:

  • the elementary technique of playing various musical instruments (individually and as a “band”);
  • knowledge of musical terms and music;
  • solo and group singing;
  • the correct pronunciation of Russian words of songs;
  • listening to and analyzing music and songs.

Children in the youngest group (3 years) learn to play with sounds, rhymes and verses, to move as a group to the rhythm of the music, to make different sounds to the rhythm of the music (clapping, stomping, pounding, rattling, humming), to characterize the music of gesture or movement, to express their emotions through singing and music to stop and calm down after an active movement to control the body, work together and communicate with their peers in Russian. At the end of the semester there is a mini-concert for parents. Children in the older groups deepen the skills acquired, as the rhythm and melody of songs becomes more complicated, and rhythmic movements are combined into more complex dance with the expansion of range of motion (added whirling, jumping, walking, running), as well as sounds, expressing emotions (clapping, stomping, knock, etc.), which are woven into the dance and song. Children increase their fluency in Russian to help communicate and to express emotions, showing growing confidence with performances.

Russian Language, 1st year (children 5-6 years old)

The main objective of this class is to allow children to transition from the younger years and to develop basic skills in the Russian alphabet. The ability to read and write the Cyrillic alphabet is necessary for the next stages of learning Russian. The training materials are chosen by our teachers so that the tasks are interesting and manageable for the children.

Russian Language (children 5-17 years old)

Our Russian language program is a progressive program designed for children who speak Russian. Teaching is conducted fully in Russian using course materials that are specially selected for the appropriate age group. The goal of the Russian language program in Russian School is to teach children familiarity with the rules of Russian grammar for successful writing and prepare older children for GCSE exams in Russian language. The understanding is that the students in this Russian Language stream are hearing and speaking some Russian at home.

The Russian Language program consists of short courses, each of which is designed for one academic year, and corresponds to the age of students. The younger children begin to learn the Russian language through the basic elements, such as vowel and consonant sounds and letters of the Russian alphabet, syllables, etc. As their study progresses the children become increasingly acquainted with various aspects of Russian grammar: spelling, morphology, syntax and punctuation, and the use this knowledge in practice through workbook exercises. Furthermore, children learn to write essays.
Finally, pupils in our Russian Language program can participate in annual competitions of writing in Russian, which is held throughout the UK. Students write essays on various categories and levels. In addition, each fall the children are involved in the Russian competition on the Russian language – the “Russian bear”.

Reading and Speech development (children 5-11 years old)

Our lessons on reading and speech development serve primarily to aid the consolidation of reading skills in Russian. Teachers are directly involved in the development of the reading and vocabulary of the students in the classes. Our lessons use tried and tested instructional techniques: conversations with kids about their interests, experiences, discussion and retelling of reading, expressive reciting poems, games.

Literature Classes (children 11-17 years old)

Our literature course is a reading and contextual study of literary works (or portions of literary works) in Russian. Students become familiar with the facts of life of Russian writers and learn to analyze and discuss the literature. Particular attention is paid to the selection of books to be read.

Russian as a foreign language – Year 1 (children 5-6 years old)

This item is offered to elementary school students as they look to embark on learning Russian language.
In the lesson children learn to write Russian capital letters, focusing particularly on spelling and penmanship. Students are further introduced to the basic grammar of the Russian language. Grammatical material is presented as models, based on which students learn how to choose the end of words. We use the latest teaching methods for exploring Russian as a foreign language.

Children also will begin to explore much new vocabulary, as they encounter many new Russian words.

Russian as a foreign language (children 5-17 years old)

We offer Russian as a foreign language classes for students who are between 5 and 17 years old and have had little exposure to the language previously. It is understood in this stream that students are not necessarily hearing any Russian outside Russian School.

In these lessons children learn the grammar of the Russian language. Grammatical material is often presented in the form of models, through which students build their ideas and conceptual understanding, as well as in tables, from which they choose the end of words. We employ the latest methods of teaching Russian as a foreign language.

Students work through exercises in their notebooks. Spelling words and penmanship are also key components of this course. For older children are encouraged to write essays. Students who work exceptionally hard to master the Russian language may transfer in the final years to study for the GCSE course in Russian with the native Russian speakers. Those who wish to stay in this stream will build on their knowledge and will end the course with the ability to understand, speak, and write in Russian.

Reading – Russian as a foreign language (children 5-17 years old)

At the primary school children are taught to read in Russian. This process is split into stages. First, the learners master separate syllables, then simple words, short sentences and joined up texts, and finally larger pieces of prose.

The well-developed strategies of teaching Russian as a foreign language are used. The classes are supplied with special teaching materials which aid the learning process – they make a good use of pictures, and also take particular care of the vocabulary, ensuring that only most common words and phrases appear in texts.

In these lessons, children also enrich their vocabulary and develop their conversational skills. At each level, they are presented with an interesting topic which they have an opportunity to discuss and learn the relevant new words.

At the secondary school, the learners encounter larger and more complex pieces of prose. A special attention is paid to the pronunciation, the speed and expression of reading. Students work on engaging tasks on reading comprehension, including general understanding of the story, understanding of particular details, and also exploring some meaningful grammar (taken from to the text), and practising the new vocabulary. Children have an opportunity to express their opinions and thoughts regarding the context of the story and occasionally produce a written response.

Children are provided with textbooks and exercise-books which are especially created for those who study Russian as a foreign language. All the texts and stories are adapted to the right level and age group, and are followed by a set of carefully designed exercises and tasks to help the learners to consolidate their vocabulary.

Classes are interactive, with an individual approach to the students.
As a result, leaners are able to consistently extend their vocabulary and elaborate their conversational skills.

The World Around Us, Classes 1-3 (children 5-9 years old)

This is neither writing nor reading… but a very interesting and extremely useful subject – also known as “Global Studies”.

We welcome children to these exciting lessons, which offer the first steps on a long journey exploring the world around us, the vast stretches of Russia and the stories of its peoples, most interesting snippets from Russian history and culture as well as stories from around the world… The lessons are taught in a fun, interactive way – the children will follow characters from Russian fairy tales, myths and legends and unveil their tantalising secrets. Not only will this subject enrich the learners’ understanding of the world, but it will also help to extend their vocabulary. In ordinary reading lessons, children often come across unfamiliar words, and may get stuck. Who are the boyards, the landlords, and the serfs? What exactly is ‘Shrove Week’ or Easter? Where do mermaids, goblins and water spirits live? It is not often easy to explain to six- or seven-year-olds what we mean when we talk about ‘old Slavic pagan gods’. This is why these lessons prove very useful and educational, as they expand the children’s horizons and improve their understanding of history and geography in an entertaining and accessible way, taking notice of their age and individual needs, and gradually increasing the complexity of the material.

Join us at the lessons “The World Around Us” – you will learn your way around a geographical map. You will know how to find the Isle of Sakhalin, Lake Baikal, large cities and mighty rivers of Russia. You will hear inspiring stories about great Russians of the past, as well as about our contemporaries who bravely conquer new summits in the realms of science, culture, literature, art and sport.
The variety of interesting topics awaiting the students in the new academic year is very rich: the wealth of flora and fauna, historical and architectural monuments, masterpieces of folk craftsmen…

Global Studies, Classes 4-6 (children 8-11 years old)

Geography and Culture of the people of Russia, Bielarus and Ukraine.

This course is designed for 8-11 year-olds who can speak and read in Russian. No prior subject knowledge is required. Moreover, 12-year-old students who have not covered these topics before are also welcome to join. The syllabus includes exploring some ‘physical geography’ (e.g. rivers, lakes, volcanoes, mountains and plains), as well as folk arts and crafts, folk dress, and traditional cuisine of various regions of Russia, Ukraine and Bielarus. We shall have lots of fun with contour maps and small DIY projects, as well as with creative presentations on different regions, where the students or their parents were born or brought up.

Global Studies based on Russian GCSE topics (Russian as a foreign language)

It is hard to master a foreign language without understanding the country of origin and its culture. Besides, in order to succeed in their Russian GCSE examination, students need to enrich their vocabulary on such topics as “famous Russians”, “Russian media”, “holidays and festivals”, “environmental issues”, “jobs and professions”, “travelling and vacations”. These lessons will be very helpful and valuable.

The teacher works at many different levels, using texts that have been especially adapted to match the students’ knowledge and level, and encouraging their independent, creative work on projects. Thus, children get involved in designing and presenting their own talks and written responses to a selection of inspiring topics.

Drama Studies (children 12-17 years old)

Life is theatre, so be a good actor!

The aims of these lessons are to introduce the art of theatre and acting to the students, encourage them to reflect on the actions of fictional characters, inspire their empathy towards the character they are portraying on stage, expand and deepen their understanding of Russian literature and its historical context, help to develop freedom of expression, and hone their skills of communicating with their peers in Russian.

Materials used for drama lessons include poetry and prose by Russian writers (such as Pushkin, Chekhov, Gogol, Ostrovksy, Grin, and Shvartz) and international writers who have become ‘old Russian favourites’ (Dumas, Saint-Exupery, Perrault et al.) as well as Russian folk tales, nursery rhymes, and proverbs.
During lessons children master the skills of theatrical speaking, pronunciation and articulation; they discover how to convey different feelings with their voice, facial expressions and body movements; they elaborate the coordination of movements and words, pitch of voice and gesture, and unveil the secrets of professional ‘tricks’ on stage and in the cinema.

Students’ memory, focus and imagination are hugely involved in every lesson, and gradually develop. Children and teenagers learn to interact with their partner(s). They build up their self-confidence, relaxed demeanour and artistic zest, and also improve and enrich the grammar of their spoken Russian.
Classes are held in the format of rehearsals for mini-shows, or larger theatre productions, which are later performed for other members of the school, on the main stage or in a classroom.

Preparation for Russian GCSE (Basic level)

In schools in England, GCSE is usually taken at the end of Year 11. For bilingual Russian students, it may be tempting to try to take this exam much earlier, to ‘get it out of the way’. However, we do not recommend to rush it, even though there have been cases when students took it at the age of 11 or 12, and it was a smooth and easy success. Still, some exam topics are designed with 16-year-olds in mind, e.g. e.g. work practice and personal reflections about it. Moreover, there is always a slight risk that an exam taken too early may be deemed invalid as the results may become out of date or cause a suspicion that the students in question may have been tested on their first and not their second language. From our experience, we recommend that the optimal time for taking Russian GCSE for our cohort of students is just a year or two prior to ordinary English GCSEs, i.e. in Year 9 or in Year 10 of an English school. This way, the students will have the best of both worlds, as they will still be taking it early but not too early, and, by doing so, will be able to release some time for other subjects in their final year at secondary school.

Russian GCSE consists of 4 different modules: Reading Comprehension, Writing (short essays on a given topic), Listening, and Speaking.

The lessons will familiarise the students with the format of the exams and teach them important skills and techniques how to prepare, revise and take the actual examinations. We shall be working with specific exam topics and practise completing oral and written tasks. One of the aims of this course is to teach the learners to engage in communications in a chosen context, employing relevant vocabulary and grammatical structures, developing their appreciation of grammar, and referring fluently in practice to all the study materials.

Preparation for A-level Russian

AS – 1st stage of A-level (usually taken at the end of Year 12 in English schools).
A2 – 2nd stage of A-level (usually taken at the end of Year 13 in English schools).

In order to be admitted to a good university in the UK, one needs to achieve high scores in 3 or 4 A-level subjects. With more A-levels and higher grades, one tends to stand a higher chance of securing a place in a reputable university or finding a suitable job.

A-level Russian examinations require fairly profound knowledge of the language. They include written questions on all sorts of topics linked with Russia, its history, literature and culture. The syllabus includes reading and analysing works of literature, writing essays about films or plays seen by the students, and building up their awareness and understanding of realities and problems in contemporary Russia. What is to be assessed at the end is the students’ knowledge and familiarity with their chosen topics, their fluency at creative writing, their ability to analyse given texts and facts, and justify and defend their views.

As a rule, we do not recommend taking A-level too early, since a student, no matter how capable he or she is, may not be mentally ready to absorb the content of the course, including, for instance, a dispute on such topics as drug addiction or prostitution. From our experience, the optimal time for studying this course is in Years 12 and/or 13 of a mainstream English school. The exams consist of 4 expanded modules which vary in character, with two focused on the spoken and two on the written word.
The main aim of A-level lessons is to prepare the students for a successful AS and A2 Russian examination.

This course is designed for the students who have successfully taken Russian GCSE and are mature enough to be able to engage in a serious discussion on a variety of topics, to hold their own opinion, and to be able to support it with meaningful arguments. The course implies a substantial amount of independent work with a range of materials (including books, magazines, and internet resources) whilst preparing for the oral and written exams. Findings from the students’ independent research are discussed in class. There are also one-to-one consultations with individual students, during which their chosen topics are discussed in more detail.

The learners also offered a wide range of practice exercises based on past papers from previous years.

The duration of the course is 1 year.