Cabbage Soup and Skating in the Park

Most schoolchildren in Moscow attend public schools that are within walking distance of their homes, and school buses are almost nonexistent.

The school day in most Moscow schools begins at 8:30 a.m. and lasts until anywhere from 1 until 3:30 p.m. In some schools, however, children attend in two shifts because of overcrowding.

All children are required to take a base core of subjects including Russian language and literature, history, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, physical education, and art. One foreign language is also required, usually English, French, or German, and many schools offer computer courses.

In the winter, children ski and skate as part of their required physical education program, usually in forest areas and parks.

Lunch is the most important meal of the day. Kids eat big lunches after school, not during school, where they bring sandwiches and buy tea and cakes.

The first luncheon course is always borscht or soup made from cabbage, meat, or fish. That is followed by either fish or meat, or a breaded cutlet made from chicken, pork, or beef. Then either fruit compote or tea tops the meal off. Bread is mandatory, and salads are sometimes served with the meat, usually marinated beets, cabbage, or pickles.

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