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Crosscurrents

Golestan Kids: bringing Iran to west Berkeley

The Bay Area’s cultural diversity is translated in so many different ways; you can hear it in how many languages are spoken here.  For parents wanting their children to be immersed in another language, there are  50 immersion programs , mostly  teaching Mandarin, Spanish, and French, but there is one school in Berkeley that’s one of the first Persian immersion preschools. It’s called Golestan Kids, named after a province in Iran that was a vital Persian stop on the silk road, thousands of years ago. Golestan kids is not just a Farsi language school, it’s a full cultural immersion experience.

At the school, Iranian concepts of generosity and respect for elders are emphasized. The school’s decor, art, play space, and even the freshly cooked meals are made from Persian ingredients grown in the schoolyard. Former immunologist Yalda Modabber says she and her friends started the preschool when they realized their language and culture may be lost from their families if they didn’t find a way to preserve them in their children.

To hear the entire interview click the audio player above.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.