A genealogical study of the emergence of kindergartens in Iran: an intersectional approach

Narges Sadat Sajjadieh, Zsuzsanna Millei

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There are histories describing in detail the development of early childhood education (ECE) around the world, yet not enough is known about this in the Middle East and the information on the origins of ECE in Iran is scarce and fragmentary. This article is the first of its kind to present an overview of the main developments rendering possible the establishment of the first kindergartens in Iran. In our account, we connect this genealogy of early childhood education in Iran to various trajectories: 1) the work of intellectual reformers; 2) the Iranian feminist movement; 3) the Constitutional Revolution in Iran (1906–1911); 4) religious reformist beliefs in Shia; 5) the missionaries’ schools; 6) the Armenians’ schools and 7) the age of girls’ marriage. As we demonstrate, early childhood education in Iran emerged before the industrial revolution. It was mainly provided for intellectual and influential families, focused on physical education accompanied by music, while religious education was marginal. Our genealogical explorations indicate that compared to kindergartens in Britain and Europe, Iranian early childhood education has been an instrument for intellectual societal reform. It was the fruits of a transplanted tree nourished by various local cultural-socio-political trends and religious beliefs. The paper concludes with an assessment of the importance of local and international influences on the emergence of early childhood education and the need to explore this history with an intersectional approach.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Dec 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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