Department of Children and Adolescents

By: Mehrdad Karimi

For years, thinkers have been trying to probe into and learn about the process of human growth and the factors affecting it. Naturally, there exist some disagreements among them as to how certain variables such as the environment, family characteristics, social, natural, climatic, and geographical conditions, historical changes, political events, access to or deprivation from educational facilities, and the quality of education might affect the different stages of human growth and the development of a person’s character. However, all of them unanimously agree that childhood is a very important period for gaining experience, physical and mental growth, character development, and, most importantly, granting meaning to one’s life.

On the other hand, the present period is so deeply immersed in the relentless waves of information and so obsessed with the speed of transfer of messages, news, and ideas, and the expansion of the mass media that it appears to be uncontrollable. Seemingly, it is only the occasional coordinated attention and activity of wise thinkers that can slow down these unceasing movements and invite the minds and hearts of the surfers of these waves to a more profound deliberation and thinking.

Under the aforementioned conditions, it happens that meanings become changed or even lost. This will lead to a kind of wandering or self-estrangement for "people searching for meaning", which is usually referred to as an identity crisis. Perhaps, that is why, during recent centuries, more attention has been paid to native culture and the characteristics of a nation’s civilization and its spiritual legacy, and an attempt has been made to familiarize a generation that has just begun to find its identity and the meaning of life with such precious goods. In order to accomplish these tasks in the best way possible, some related ideas, plans, projects, and programs have also been devised, which are realized following a systematic process of execution.

The need for this familiarity and knowledge is not limited to a specific geographical area or cultural field and, clearly, Iranian children also need such plans and related educational courses. This problem can be explored from different perspectives. The addressees of the Children and Adolescents Department of the Iranology Foundation, as its title suggests, are those who belong to this age group and have Iranian parents. More specifically, this Department also targets Iranian children and adolescents based on the cultural and environmental characteristics of their domicile, which may be within or beyond the political and geographical borders of present-day Iran. In more general terms, this Department also addresses those children and adolescents who share some cultural and linguistic features with the inhabitants of the land of Iran.

During the last few decades, some activities have been performed with the purpose of familiarizing children and adolescents with Iranian values, culture, and civilization. In line with this objective, various materials have been produced and presented to the members of this age group. At the same time, some organizations and communities, each according to its defined activities and responsibilities, have written some materials on Iranology for children and adolescents, or in relation to Iranology in general.

Nevertheless, the nature and name of the Iranology Foundation, which clearly defines its activities and main goals, introduce this Foundation as the leading authority for familiarizing all Iranians with this ancient land. Undoubtedly, here, Iranian children and adolescents comprise one of the most important groups addressed by Iranological activities. These activities are performed through various tools, methods, and activities, including instructional programs (particularly, indirect ones), online communication with the target audience, holding festivals and workshops, doing group work and cooperating with other related organizations and communities, publishing different works in various forms, and holding exhibitions.

  • 1. Definitions
    • 1.1. Iranology for Children and Adults:

      This Department is responsible for all the activities that result in increasing the knowledge of its target group about Iranology. Due to the vastness of the related domains, an attempt has been made to identify the priorities through consulting the members of the related committee and the authorities of the Iranology Foundation. Then, the different activities are defined and performed based on these priorities. In order to avoid repetition of similar activities both inside the country and abroad, and to benefit from past experiences, the Department always recommends that its members conduct a thorough study of previous research in related fields.

    • 1.2. Age group:

      The target group of the activities of this Department include pre-school and elementary school age children and adolescents at middle school. Therefore, those within the age range of 5-14 comprise the target group of the Department. However, based on the types of activity, it is also possible to consider some younger or older children and adolescents (between the ages of 4 and 17) as the audience for the activities of the Department.

    • 1.3. Contexts and subjects of activities:

      : Like the land and culture of Iran, the field of Iranology is extremely vast and versatile. Moreover, each branch of studies related to this field is itself divided into several subcategories, resulting in an immense variety by itself. Nevertheless, the main areas of study and activity within the realm of Iranology, in general, can be set out as follows:

      • a. Culture and art,including the language, religion, traditions, customs, feasts, special occasions, national and local sports and games, traditional and local arts of Iran, and Islamic-Iranian traditional architecture.
      • b. Science,including the history of empirical sciences in Iran, instruments and methods of research and classification of findings, various branches of natural sciences, and the biographies and achievements of well-known Iranian scientists.
      • c. History and geography, including the historical and geographical features of Iran, particularly, in ancient times; the borders of Iran and its realm in different periods, and Iran’s natural geography.
      • d. Economy, including Iran’s traditional economy and its underlying elements (such as the bazaar or market), the related tools, past methods of trade, valuable commodities, and different types and origins of money.
      • e. Literature, including Persian literature, biographies and works of great Iranian literary figures, colloquial literature, stories, myths, and poems for children.
      • f. Lifestyle, including the culture of urban life, social life, society and social problems, structures of urban and rural life, social laws, food culture, and methods of travelling in the past.
      • g. Education, including information about the pedagogical methods of the past and the related tools and frameworks.

    • 1.4. Types of activity:

      The works and products that the Iranology Foundation presents in order to introduce Iranian culture and civilization to children and adolescents include the following:

      • a. Publications: books, booklets, journals, collections, thematic periodicals, etc.
      • b. Internet: Presently, the related activities are performed using the official website of the Iranology Foundation.
      • c. Festivals and special occasions
      • d. Instructional workshops for student groups

  • 2. Structure

    The Research Department of Iranology for Children and Adolescents performs its activities under the supervision of the Iranology Foundation and as a sub-group of its Research Office. This Department consists of a scientific committee, a departmental manager, and some staff members.

    • 2.1. The Scientific Committee: Through holding regular meetings with the main departments of the Foundation, this Committee proposes programs and provides advice as to their efficient execution.
    • 2.2. Departmental supervisor: The supervisor is responsible for creating the necessary coordination among the members of the Scientific Committee and the other departments of the Foundation according to the proposed plans and projects, establishing the required contacts and relationships with other organizations and centers, and supervising and managing the programs under the guidance of the authorities of the Foundation.
    • 2.3. Department members: The members work under the supervision and guidance of the Departmental Supervisor. Their assignments are specified in their job description or in contracts concluded for specified duties.
  • 3. Methods of Implementation
    • 3.1. The proposed programs are defined and compiled by the Scientific Committee. After obtaining the approval of the majority of its members (half + 1), they are presented in the form of a written plan to the Vice President of the Research office. Finally, they are carried out after passing through some administrative stages and obtaining the necessary permissions.
    • 3.2. Activities of a purely research-oriented nature will be presented in an appropriate framework. For example, the results of research projects will be presented in the form of articles, books, or software.
    • 3.3. Given the distinctions drawn between the activities about and for children, this Department will choose them in accordance to the age and educational background of its target group (s).
    • 3.4. This Department takes account of the principle of cooperation at all times in order to fulfil its objectives and render its activities as productive as possible. Therefore, through inter- and intra-organizational forms of cooperation in different cases, the Department attempts to pave the way for establishing constructive communication with others and performing its activities efficiently.
    • 3.5. One of the other major concerns of the Department is to expand and promote its activities through optimizing the quality of implementing contexts, particularly, by publishing related news in the Department’s link in the website of the Iranology Foundation. It also tries to provide regular and up-to-date material for its web link by using expert personnel.
    • 3.6. The Department will use appropriate procedures in order to evaluate the efficiency of the activities undertaken in order to benefit from its findings in future activities.

Note: All the items suggested here will be defined and put into practice within the framework of the regulations, objectives, and strategies of the Iranology Foundation.