Responding to the Covid Pandemic With Outdoor Classrooms for All Children
Millions of children around the country risk not being able to go to a physical school this fall. Golestan has invested significant time into supporting educators both locally and nationally to set up safe and healthy classrooms for children and their teachers. By creating a scalable model that educators and district decision makers can see in person, Golestan can set sail in unchartered territories much more easily than the larger ships in the same sea.
For a small sample of our work and to learn more about the incredible work this major collaboration is doing to respond to the covid crisis in education, click here.
BELOW: Golestan and collaborators from the National Covid-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative host one of three meetings for Berkeley Unified School District stakeholders, including School Board members, Principals, Teachers, Union Reps, Facilities, to name a few.
One of our latest collaborations is with the Women’s Initiative at Refugee Transits. The Women’s Initiative is based on Refugee Transitions’ innovative parent/tot class, which focuses on education for both mothers and their preschool-aged children. The class, which has been running for three years, improves women’s English skills and self-sufficiency, supports female community and leadership, and reduces childcare barriers to education. The Colab is collaborating with the program to help design the children’s space to help support the sensory needs of the children for physical, emotional, and cognitive well-being and provide teacher training for the children’s caregivers and host parenting workshops for the mothers at the center.
Siprosa School Kenya
Mary, the founder, grew up in a rural village in Kenya where education for girls was not considered a priority. Because of her grandmother’s mentor-ship and support, she not only finished school but also went on to excel academically and eventually earned her PhD in Education Planning. Her school will be named after her grandmother, Siprosa. The Colab is currently very active in supporting Siprosa in its startup and program development phases.
After school program in Nepal
In November of 2014, a team from Golestan traveled to Nepal to help a partner organization, Sunsar Maya, start an after school program for underprivileged children in the Kathmandu region. During their trip they held extensive teacher training workshops for the teachers and helped in the set up of the program. This was only the start of an ongoing collaboration with Sunsar Maya and the after school program in Nepal. Since then the Colab has been working closely with Sunsar Maya to maintain and grow the curriculum of the program and provide customized support and resources related to child development. In September of 2017, Sunsar Maya opened its second afterschool program and are now serving 110 orphaned and high need children.
Communities We Work With
- Communities that have worked with the Colab to develop (or have developed) Persian immersion schools include: Toronto, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Washington DC, Connecticut, Los Angeles, Irvine, Chicago, New York City and the Bay Area communities of Walnut Creek, San Mateo, Mountain View, Menlo Park, and Marin County.
- The Colab has also worked with other non-Persian communities including American, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, German, Russian, Ethiopian, Jewish, Armenian, Chinese, Spanish, Arab, Indian, and Afghan communities have also used our school as a model for their own emerging schools.
- In the past year, the Colab has been working with communities in developing countries to build schools for orphans and underprivileged children. These communities include Nepal, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Iran and most recently Kenya. See pictures of our project in Nepal here.
Organizations We Collaborate With
Green Schoolyards America
Green Schoolyards America is a national organization that expands and strengthens the green schoolyard movement and empowers Americans to become stewards of their school and neighborhood environments.
Ashoka is an international non profit organization that builds and cultivates a community of change leaders who see that the world now requires everyone to be a changemaker. Ashoka’s Start Empathy Initiative is mobilizing Ashoka’s network of social entrepreneurs, educators, and concerned citizens who are working with young people to make empathy a priority skill for all children.
We came to the Colab for advice on opening an after-school program for orphans in Nepal. What we received was far beyond anything we could have hoped for: guidance, support, curriculum development, and personalized training of our teachers in Nepal. What the Colab has done for us would have taken us years to create on our own. Most importantly, our children are growing and thriving thanks to the Golestan Colab.
With their support and constant guidance, my sister and I have launched our very own daily Persian immersion preschool and the response from our community has been rewarding, inspiring and beyond our wildest imagination.What Golestan has inspired is not just a language immersion program, but a movement, and a way of life; one that respects nature, promotes empathy and kindness, and above all, an affinity for our rich, and beautiful Iranian language and heritage.
What is amazing is their generosity in giving advice and sharing all their experiences with other emerging Schools, concentrating on the education of bicultural children, including their progressive curriculum. During my 2-day visit to the school, I was warmly greeted by both the director of the program and all the teachers at Golestan. Apart from observing their wonderful classes, I had a chance to have several thought provoking engaging conversations, through which I gained much insight and help in further improving my own work in teaching bicultural children.
I found this invaluable collaborative spirit, so encouraging and inspiring, and I’m sure it will eventually give rise to many more remarkable language immersion programs. Golestan is indeed an inspiration for other language immersion programs all across the country.