The connection between generations: how children are taught in one of the oldest schools in Moscow

September 7

School No. 354 named after D.M. Karbyshev in the Basmanny district welcomes on September 1, according to a long-established tradition — from the initiation of first grade pupils into “Young Karbyshevtsy”. And this is not the only rule of the old school. The educational institution has been operating since 1935, and everything related to its long history is carefully preserved. The director and teachers are sure: teaching modern technologies should be multiplied by the knowledge and experience of previous generations, then a comprehensive successful personality will be formed. Read about how and what they teach at this school in the report.

Keeping the memory of heroes alive

The school building was constructed in a classical style: with columns, a balcony, a figured roof and arched windows. This building was erected in 2001 on the site of the old one, which was no longer subject to repair.

The school museum exhibits remind of the building constructed in 1935: a brick in a showcase on the first floor and a photograph on the wall. Here the past generations of students and teachers are remembered and their traditions are continued.

Thus, after the Second World War, the basic military training was taught at the educational institution by the Hero of the Soviet Union Leonid Buber, who fought side by side with Dmitry Karbyshev, a brilliant scientist, military engineer and fortifier. Later, in 1975, the school was named after the Hero of the USSR Karbyshev, since one of its four educational profiles, along with natural science, socio-economic and socio-humanitarian, is a technological one. The graduates often enter the Bauman Moscow State Technical  University.

Photo by Y. Ivanko.


According to her, modern children perceive information in fragments: it is difficult for them to form a complete picture. And by touching real items in the museum, creating exhibits with their own hands, they learn to fold, connect one with another. “Military history, Karbyshev's path — these are our basics. The 16th fighter battalion was being formed within the walls of the former school building. One of the students received seven wounds and did not survive the eighth when she covered the fighter with herself... We want today's children not to forget about these feats. And our main tradition is initiation into Karbyshevtsy. First-grade pupils line up and read an oath, promising to take care of the school, family, Motherland. This tradition is already 62 years old,” the principal explains.

Lessons from the German Quarter

Each floor of the school is devoted to some topic, one way or another related to the history of the region, city, country. The first floor, where the Karbyshev Museum is located, is a military one. There are memorial plaques, an alley of heroes with photographs of participants in the war. 

The second floor is cultural. In the lobby a shabby wooden chest stands, a cracked hatbox, and a tarnished samovar. “Such items were in the houses in the German Quarter. Children can touch everything. I often take preschoolers and first graders to an antique closet, open the doors and ask them to name the items inside. Almost no one knows what it is. It was a revelation for them that they were ironing with heavy irons, and that this copper bowl was used for making jam. After all, even modern grandmothers often do not make preparations for the winter! Or this meat grinder from 1881: modern schoolchildren have no idea what kind of device it is,” Tatyana Rodionova comments.

On the same floor, there is a rack with pharmaceutical bottles and vials found during the construction of a new school building. Some of them, presumably, belonged to the famous doctor of German origin Fyodor Haas. “We also inherited a tradition from Haas: decorating the Christmas tree with oranges. The doctor arranged a charity event for children at Christmas, and we continue his work. In addition, each of our students writes a list of their good deeds for the year on a paper heart and hangs them on the Christmas tree. And in the living room, located on the third floor, literary evenings and real balls are held. And this is also a tradition,” the head of the school says.

One of the school floors is ecological. Climbing the stairs, we find ourselves in a garden where a willow ficus, a coffee tree and more than 300 species of exotic plants grow in tubs. Children grow them themselves. The Russian sovereigns had similar winter gardens.

Environmental education is among the main focus areas of the school. Children are taught according to the programs “Learning to think ecologically”, “Learning to manage myself” and “Learning to act”. Among the Karbyshev residents there are also eco-volunteers who annually participate in city events, such as garbage collection. One day, schoolchildren made a Christmas tree out of plastic bottles.

“In addition, they themselves raised peacocks from eggs in their own incubator. Now these birds live in an open-air cage, in the school “Garden of My Dreams”, which consists entirely of white flowers, also grown by our students,” Tatiana Rodionova says with pride.

There is also a space center on this floor. Within its walls, online meetings with astronauts are held. And recently, using microscopes the guys have been studied snails that had been in space. “The peculiarity of our school is that all these thematic zones are used for conducting classes, in addition to the usual classrooms equipped with interactive whiteboards and computers,” Tatyana Rodionova says.

According to her, vocational guidance for schoolchildren begins from the fifth grade. In parallel with the general education program, they attend circles — art, tourism and local history, socio-pedagogical, natural science, physical culture and sports, technical. “Although from the first grade it is usually clear who has a penchant for what,” the director assures.

Not the last call

In 2021, 126 children graduated from school number 354. By the way, the number of students is increasing every year. Thus, this year 220 kids went to the first grade.

“In our school, children not only receive a high-quality education, but also develop comprehensively,” Tatiana Rodionova emphasizes.

About 95 percent of graduates entered leading universities. Firstly, the school cooperates with colleges and universities, in particular with Railway College No. 52, Moscow Automobile and Highway College named after Nikolaev, College of Small Business No. 4, MEPhI, MAI, Moscow State University, Higher School of Economics and medical universities. High school students attend classes in these institutions, participate in various initiatives and are determined with their future profession.

Secondly, pre-professional classes are open at the school: engineering and medical. Their students can get to know their future profession more closely at the school desk, get the first knowledge and skills and finally decide on the university. In addition, a Kurchatov classroom has been opened at the school, where, together with the National Research Center “Kurchatov Institute”, future scientists are trained in the field of elementary particle physics and high-tech medicine. And the school plans to open IT classes. 

Pupils constantly participate in competitions, for example, the World Robotics Olympiad, the All-Russian Olympiad for Schoolchildren, the International Competition for Children's Engineering Teams, and the Young Technicians and Inventors competition. Almost the entire first floor is filled with diplomas and cups. The guys constantly speak at various scientific and practical conferences. According to Tatyana Rodionova, children from the first grade write projects on selected topics and learn to defend them.

The pupils themselves decide, in which competitions they participate. Self-government is developed in the school: children elect the president, ministers, deputies, arrange meetings and sessions. “And try to over-persuade them!” — the head of the school smiles.

When all the pages of school life have been turned over, each issue prepares its own bell to hang on a small belfry. This was the case 86 years ago. This will always be the case.

Photo by Yulia Ivanko,


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