Should I Send My Child to Kindergarten, and Should I Pay the Teacher? Parenting, Gender, and Preschool Educational Institutions in Internet Forums

Yulia Gradskova

Abstract


Using discussions in the online forums of the Russian parenting web sites materinstvo.ru, mamka.ru, and nanya.ru, the paper analyzes gender aspects of parental attitudes toward institutions of preschool education and communication between parents regarding their interaction with such institutions. The forums show that, widespread criticism of state-run collective preschool education notwithstanding, contemporary Russian views of involved motherhood and child welfare assume that children should be enrolled in kindergartens for long periods of time. Mothers view such institutions as crucial for their children’s everyday welfare. They are expected not only to ensure supervision, but also to foster children’s development, teach them to communicate with peers, and familiarize them with societal norms. The forums also show that child-rearing continues to be viewed as a female task, and mothers often feel the need to justify their decision to send their child to preschool.


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