Modelling the Socialist Kindergarten in the Early Soviet Picture Book

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Abstract

After the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks aimed to create a modern socialist society which would be populated by a ‘new Soviet man’, who would take control of his own destiny and build a communist future. The first generation of Soviet children were perfect modelling material for this new type of citizen and the kindergarten was marked out as one of the institutions which would foster revolutionary transformation. Picture books for young children which featured the kindergarten acted as a guidebook for the rational, socialist education which was envisaged by progressive educators. Story book kindergartens were exemplary institutions where children engaged in a collective daily routine. Stories taught the reader how play was training for work and that pre-schoolers were capable of learning to work for the good of the group. They modelled political activism with children taking part in communist festivals and spending time with Pioneers. Authors and illustrators also realized that children were still children and embedded even the most political picture books with humour, brightly coloured pictures and easy-to-grasp imagery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-458
JournalHistory
Volume104
Issue number361
Early online date28 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

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