May 27, 2011, Washington, D.C. – Building on our successful efforts to pass the Nowruz Resolution through both Chambers of Congress in 2010, in mid-March 2011, PAAIA launched its Nowruz Project. Spearheaded and developed by PAAIA Washington D.C. Chapter Leader, Saghi Agha-Khan, in collaboration with Nahal Iravani-Sani, the project aimed at providing parents of elementary school children with resources and information they could use to present on the joyous celebration of Nowruz at their children’s schools.
The resources included a PowerPoint presentation that provided information on Iran and Nowruz, which could be used as either a handout or displayed on an overhead projector. It also included different activity sheets that were aimed at enhancing a child’s understanding and retention of the information about Nowruz.
The PowerPoint and activity sheets were met with great enthusiasm by PAAIA members. Comments such as “I really appreciate the efforts that have gone into making these resources,” “Thank you for sharing the terrific Nowruz Powerpoint presentation,” and “What a great resource! It is much needed and appreciated,” flooded the PAAIA inbox.
Parents used the resources to present to elementary school children (kindergarten through sixth grade). At last count, Iranian American parents throughout the country had presented to and used the resources with over 750 children and 200 parents and teachers. Many combined the presentation and activity sheets with other unique gestures, such as adding traditional Iranian sweets, setting up a haft-seen, dressing up in traditional Iranian costumes, and giving out small gifts. Every parent commented on the enthusiasm and excitement with which the presentation and activity sheets were received and how much they had helped enhance an understanding of our culture and image within their communities. Many provided feedback on how the program and its components could be further enhanced for Nowruz 2012.
Following are just a few of the comments received by PAAIA from parents who used the presentation and activity sheets:
“I just wanted to thank you again for providing such important and efficient Eid presentation. I did mine today in front of 75 kids from ages 3 to 6 and they were all glued!!!…They loved it and so much fun with it.”
“After the presentation, the kids worked on some of the worksheets that were provided (learning to write their names in Persian was a big hit!) and ate Persian sweets. The resounding feedback from the three kindergarten teachers was that the presentation was very interesting and informative for both the kids, and, in fact, the teachers themselves. We also heard back from some of the kid’s parents saying how much their child enjoyed the presentation.”
“I used part of the slide deck that was pertinent to eid and also took miniature samples of what we set up for haft-sin. At the end I gave each of them a shirini and a ‘mobarak bad’ sekkeh. They totally got into it and loved it.”
“This was an amazing tool to have. The children could not take their eyes off the presentation and had question after question about Iran and Eid. The activity sheets were God-send and really emphasized what we had talked about. I had parents who came up to me the next day to thank me for giving their children a glimpse of our culture and teaching them something they would not learn otherwise. Thank you!”
“Thanks again for all your hard work and effort. It sure represent us better in this community.”