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Rainbow School

5918 Taft Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618

(510) 658-2034

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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

We consider children as strong, resourceful, and capable. All children are born with the potential, curiosity and interest to be the protagonists of their own learning. Teachers see themselves as partners and facilitators as children research and construct knowledge while experimenting with many ways to express their ideas. Parents play an active part in their children's learning experiences and we encourage the exchange of ideas between parents and teachers as a way enriching our program with diverse skills and wisdoms. We value an aesthetically pleasing and intellectually rich and complex environment as the third vital component of the learning process.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • Tactile letters, stamps and stamp pads, templates, etc
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • counting materials of all kinds, number materials, etc.
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
  • many manipulative materials that incorporate math and space skills.
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • science experiments; long term research projects.
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • Special Music teacher, circle time singing
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • wire, clay, wood, beads, feathers, etc..
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
  • Creative Movement Specialist, walks in the neighborhood
Other subjects taught Our school program is enriched by the visit, once a week, of our Creative Movement Specialist. She works with our children in small groups in which they explore together space and motion while letting their creativity and imagination soar. Also, once a week our extraordinary Music Specialist introduces children to basic musical concepts while singing songs and discovering rich musical traditions. Once a month we welcome our storyteller who delights us all with stories belonging to peoples from all over the world.

From the Director:

The curriculum is based on close observation of the children's ideas and interests. Teachers will help children focus and structure an emergent topic and work on short- and long-term topics. Teachers listen to children's questions, discover their ideas, hypotheses, and theories and guide experiences of discovery and problem solving. Teachers document the children's research with the goal to provide parents with information about their children's learning processes.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The Rainbow School is committed to providing young children with a quality, all-day, year round educational program. We are a learning community defined by a close collaboration of parents, teachers, and students. <p>Our Goals: <p>To provide children with an environment in which they have opportunities to feel valued and form meaningful relationships with peers and adults. <p>To offer children thoughtful experiences that support their language as well as their cognitive, social, aesthetic, emotional, and physical development. <p>To create a community of learners in which parents, children, and teachers support and enrich each others experiences.

A Typical Day

The morning begins with a warm welcome and the various exciting possibilities the school room offers. There is always an art activity set up by the teacher ready to be tried, or children may prefer to explore the many art materials to be used independently readily accesible in the art area. Some children will be listening to stories read by a parent or a teacher in the book corner, while others will build with blocks, playing dress-up, or working with puzzles, Legos, and other manipulative materials. Later some children will play outside riding bikes, climbing , running. <br><br>After a nourishing morning snack, every day will offer a different teacher-planned activity : circle time, a nature walk, time with our Specialists, or small or large group work. Now it is time for lunch and after a little time for play children get ready for a much needed nap.
The afternoon begins with snack and then children have again a choice to play and work inside or outside. There is again an opportunity for easel painting, clay work, sand box or rice table. Many children will prefer listening to a teacher reading stories in the gazebo while others might be inside working in the art area with another teacher. The day comes to gentle end when parents gradually arrive and we all share a brief report of how our day went.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We communicate on a daily basis with parents and schedule parent-teacher meetings when teachers and/or parents request them. Frequent documentation keeps parents informed about the activities at school. Parents often schedule a parent-teacher meeting during their child's last preschool year to discuss which school might be the best choice.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

Children in their last preschool year work in small groups on beginning writing and reading in order to open up the conversation about Kindergarten. Older children (former Rainbow students) visit regularly and act informally as mentor for the future transition.