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Rainbow Schools are dedicated to the idea that learning is a natural accomplishment of living and should be a joyful process.  Positive learning experiences enable a child to build a strong feeling of self worth as well as to cope more effectively with the world.

Rainbow School's role is to focus the learning already taking place in a child's life by guiding the child toward four goals: basic skill development, a deeper awareness of the world and his place in it, creative expression, and the ability to make effective choices.   

Rainbow Schools individualizes instruction so that the child may develop at his own rate.  Children are expected to experience the consequences of positive decisions.  All of this is achieved in an atmosphere of positive support where each child's strengths and abilities are emphasized and tasks are broken into steps which are developmentally appropriate.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Age Appropriateness
Individual Appropriateness
How Children Learn

These are the competencies that are expected of children who have attended Rainbow School and will soon enter kindergarten :
Social Competencies
Cognitive Competencies
Language and Literacy Competencies
Physical Competencies

Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Rainbow School believes in a developmentally appropriate curriculum for all enrolled children as outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

In recent years a trend toward increased emphasis on academic skills has emerged in early childhood programs. The staff of Rainbow Schools believes that this trend toward a strictly academic approach is based on misconceptions about how young children learn. Research continues to emerge affirming that children learn most effectively through a concrete, play-oriented approach to early childhood education.

The concept of developmental appropriateness has two dimensions: age appropriateness and individual appropriateness.


Age Appropriateness

Human development research indicates that there are universal, predictable sequences of growth and change that occur in children during the first 9 years of life. These predictable changes occur in all domains of life: the physical, the emotional, the social and the cognitive.

Individual Appropriateness

Rainbow School believes that each child is a unique person with an individual pattern and timing of growth as well as individual personality, learning style, and family background. Teachers can use this individual developmental knowledge to identify the range of appropriate behaviors, activities, and materials for a specific age group. This knowledge is used in conjunction with understanding about individual children's growth patterns, strengths, interests, and experiences to design the most appropriate learning environment.

How Children Learn

Rainbow School believes in learning through play. Children's play is a primary vehicle for and an indicator of their mental growth. Play enables children to progress along the developmental sequence from the sensorimotor intelligence of infancy to pre-operational thought in the preschool years to the concrete operational thinking exhibited by primary children. In addition to its role in cognitive development, play also serves important functions in children's physical, emotional, and social development. Therefore, child-initiated, child-directed, teacher-supported play is an essential component of developmentally appropriate practice.


These are the competencies that are expected of children who have attended
Rainbow School and will soon enter kindergarten:

Social Competencies
The child:

  • initiates & sustains positive interactions with other children
  • makes friends (demonstrates social support and loyalty, maintains relationships over time, refers to particular children as friends)
  • is able to separate from parents with minimal difficulty
  • makes independent decisions about activities
  • is competent in self-help skills and requires minimal adult assistance
  • handles conflicts constructively and independently
  • is assertive when confrontations arise (e.g. stands up for themselves, does not avoid conflict)
  • interacts cooperatively with adults and children
  • participates in classroom routines and follows rules with minimal reminders
  • develops a variety of strategies for solving difficult problems with materials
  • develops a variety of strategies for solving problems with children and adults
  • shows persistence in solving problems
  • expresses a range of feelings in appropriate ways (e.g. cries when sad, smiles/laughs when happy, yells when angry)
  • expresses thoughts, ideas, preferences and needs
  • focuses on and sustains attention to self-initiated tasks
  • pays attention to directions and explanations
  • experiments freely with art and other open-ended materials

Cognitive Competencies
The child:

  • demonstrates a broad range of knowledge about the natural and man-made worlds
  • demonstrates a broad range of knowledge about the social world
  • engages in cooperative and elaborate dramatic play
  • is able to place events and experiences in time
  • demonstrates spatial awareness in play and language
  • has beginning understanding of counting and quantity
  • duplicates and extends simple patterns
  • places a set of 3-5 unfamiliar objects in graduated order.
  • classifies by sorting into groups and by noticing a range of classes to which things belong
  • knows physical features and functions of objects

Language and Literacy Competencies
The child:

  • talks with others about past, present and future events with considerable detail
  • retells a cohesive story including a variety of elements (e.g. characters, setting, main events, sequencing, endings, emotional states)
  • has an age-appropriate vocabulary including a range of word types
  • prints name and experiments with writing
  • has an emerging awareness of links between letters and sounds
  • identifies letters and common graphic symbols
  • understands that print conveys meaning and serves a function
  • knows book and basic reading conventions

Physical Competencies
The child:

  • demonstrates precision fine motor skills
  • uses pencil sharpener, paper clips correctly
  • folds paper with some direction and accuracy
  • draws / writes with moderate control
  • cuts precisely on a line (e.g. on a drawing, pictures out of a magazine)
  • performs precise actions involving opposing hand movements (e.g. buttoning, lacing)
  • pours liquids into a cup
  • demonstrates coordination in large motor movements and pursues physical challenges
  • climbs on climbing equipment
  • walks up and down stairs alternating feet
  • balances for a short time on one foot
  • rides tricycle around obstacles
  • hops on one foot
  • learns familiar songs and is able to move to the beat of music


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