ISSN 2409-2274

Adaptation of migrant children in the schools of Moscow and the Moscow region

Ekaterina Demintseva 1,2, Daria Zelenova 1, Elizaveta Kosmidis 1, Dmitriy Oparin 1,2

  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation
  • 2 National Research University Higher School of Economics

2017, no4, pp. 80–109


The paper presents the results of a study of the adaptation of migrant children in schools in Moscow and the Moscow region. We analyze the obstacles that migrant families face when enrolling a child in school and the situations they deal with in schools with a “socially challenging environment”. We argue that in the eyes of teachers the ethnic origins of children are more important than their citizenship for defining what a “migrant student” is. Both the migrant children themselves and their teachers consider the students’ low proficiency in Russian to be the key obstacle to their adaptation during their first year at school. The lack of classes of Russian as a foreign language, as well as of special training for teachers working in an ethnically diverse classroom also hamper assimilation. Given the significant inflows of migrant children, some schools are currently experiencing changes in the school environment. Extracurricular activities are becoming more diverse and often ethnically oriented. The enthnicization of the school environment is an extension of the ethnicization of the urban environment.

Keywords: migrant children; schools; assimilation; adaptation; ethnization