chapter  7
3 Pages

The psychoanalytic kindergarten project in Soviet Russia 1921–1930

ByYordanka Valkanova

Ideas about the transformative power of education were nurtured by modern psychological and pedagogical theories. Psychologists such as Ivan Ermakov, Mosche Wulff, Tatiana Rozental and Alexander Luria were among the founders of the psychoanalytic movement. In 1921, in an attempt to pursue the political implications of Sigmund Freud's thoughts, the Soviet educational authorities initiated a psychoanalytic kindergarten project known as the Children's Home Laboratory. The project remains perhaps the best known single contribution to psychoanalytic early childhood pedagogy, an object in questioning how Freud's framework could be incorporated into socialist preschools. The kindergarten project was closely monitored by the Russian Psychoanalytic Society, the People's Commissariat for Education, the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party and the German mine workers' trade union organisation, 'Union'. The 'scientific' work of Vera Schmidt drew on a normative construct of a child. Scientisation was perceived as having a special form of social power in defining pedagogy.