Children stay with their families until they are three, at which time they go to the community kindergarten, which usually lasts from seven or eight in the morning to four in the afternoon. Throughout their six-day-a-week program, the children are separated from the rest of the colony, including parents and siblings, from early in the morning to mid- or late afternoon. The children sing together, memorize together, eat together, and even take their mid-morning and mid-afternoon naps together.
Young children are considered to be willful, and strict punishment, including strapping, is used. They are expected to learn to obey, pray, share, and sit properly. The three Leuts have different practices in the area of toys. For the most conservative Lehrerleut, none are permitted. The Dariusleut will tolerate small toys brought from home, and the Schmiedeleut provide them in the school (Hostetler 1974).
However, many Dariusleut colonies have stopped running kindergartens. Although the kindergartens have been a key element in the philosophy of putting the community over the family in the raising of children throughout most of Hutterite history, these colonies are simply not organizing them. This means that small children are now spending those years with their families (Ingoldsby 2001).