Setting the Standard: EXCELLENCE BREEDS EXCELLENCE

Since its beginning in 1989, Rainbow Station has consistently defined itself as a leader in early education and school-age recreation. With unique concepts like PLAYWORKS©, The Village, Camp Blue Sky, and the Get Well Place, we have created initiatives that continually raise the bar for preschools on a national level. It all started with one novel idea and a focus on excellence.

The First Idea: Emergency Backup Care

It all started with one novel idea called The Get Well Place at Rainbow Station, which provides valuable assistance for working parents with mildly ill or chronically ill children. Rainbow Station and its founder, Gail W. Johnson, RN, MSN, both got their start in nursing. While on the faculty of the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, Gail saw firsthand how families struggled and went into crisis mode when their children had acute or chronic health conditions. A major crisis contributor was the lack of support services for these children when parents had to return to work.

As a solution, Gail created the Get Well PlaceTM at Rainbow Station to provide valuable assistance for working parents with mildly or chronically ill children — a support for the entire community, regardless of whether children are enrolled in Rainbow Station. Here, a full-time nurse cares for children so parents can be productive at work. As an additional benefit, nurses are always there should children need care during the school day. Even more than 20 years later, the idea of full-time, on-site nursing care at a preschool remains exceptional.

The Second Idea: A School-Age Recreation Program

In 1996, Gail and her team conceived The Village, a unique school-age recreation program. In years past, children played freely in their neighborhoods and safely participated in various recreational options after school and on summer break. The Village at Rainbow Station is reminiscent of these days. Children can go to the Village Green for town meetings, the Café for snacks, the Library to study, or the Theatre for dramatic play. It’s a complete village within a building!

The Village creates an atmosphere in which children are free to choose age appropriate activities in a safe, fun, and stimulating environment staffed by professional teachers. The Village was an exciting breakthrough — it’s the all-encompassing afterschool and summer recreation program today’s families need!

The Third Idea: Becoming the First Leadership Preschool

We are excited to introduce INSPIRED, Rainbow Station’s new, and proprietary, leadership program!

Teaching leadership skills to young children is not new to Rainbow Station.  However, this program has been designed to better integrate with, and enhance, the existing play and values based curriculum, PLAYWORKS.

Within all children exists a wealth of POTENTIAL. As educators, our goal is to provide them with the tools to refine their natural gifts and a roadmap to guide them down a productive path. Through this leadership program, we hope to INSPIRE their curiosity. We want to INSPIRE them to be good citizens.  We want them to be INSPIRED to reach their fullest potential.

How does it work?

The INSPIRED curriculum consists of 6 literacies, or areas of study:

Social Literacy, Health Literacy, Environmental Literacy, Civic Literacy, Entrepreneurial Literacy, and Financial Literacy.

  1. Within each literacy, students will begin by understanding how the literacy pertains to themselves and to others around them. This subtopic is referred to as “Self and Others.”
  2. Then, the lessons will expand to incorporate relationships with family, friends and teachers: “Home and School.”
  3. Lastly, the lessons will broaden to focus on community and world relationships: “Community.”

Realistic applications of the literacies are a vital part of the program.  We will read stories for each literacy and explore real world applications within each lesson.

How will a small child understand these literacies?

The language used to help children understand is very simple and will evolve as they mature and grow.

Your Rainbow Station teachers and staff are happy to provide further explanation of how this new program will integrate into your child’s day.  We are excited to take this journey with you and your child, and we look forward to our continued partnership in raising tomorrow’s leaders!

Yet Another Idea: Camp Blue Sky

Summer camp has always been a part of the Rainbow Station Experience. In 2013, we took that experience to a new level and developed Camp Blue Sky—a fast and furious day camp with an away camp feel. Camp Blue Sky offers the perfect summer solution. Kids 5-13 get an age-appropriate Summer Camp program where they can do all the things they want and learn all the things you want them to learn.

And, there is more: Rainbow Station, International

In 2013, Rainbow Station opened its first International School in Shenzhen, China. This opportunity created a curriculum enhancement—developmentally appropriate enrichment classes that can be taught in 60 to 75 minute blocks of time. The possibilities for these classes are many, both domestically and abroad.

The growth of the middle and professional classes in many countries around the world has resulted in a dramatic increase in disposable incomes. When combined with a strong focus on education and children in many cultures, this has led to robust demand for new and innovative early education options. To meet this demand Rainbow Station has flexibly adapted its version of the preschool classroom and early learning experience while still maintaining its core emphasis on creativity and leadership development. Foreign markets value our unique curriculum delivered in English in the American way of interactive teaching.

We opened our first school in China in January 2013. We are now implementing plans to open dozens of new schools this year and in the years ahead. Rainbow Station also anticipates entering another country in 2014 and is pursuing an international strategy to open schools in a new country every year.

No other school for early education and school-age recreation offers Rainbow Station’s full spectrum of care for the whole child — from academics and healthcare by an onsite nurse to leading-edge leadership development initiatives.

And the standard of excellence continues. . . .

Hazel Mariano and her husband, Rob, learned about Rainbow Station through a family member who had started working at the Three Chopt location. As a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Hazel was intrigued by the concept of a preschool that also offered mildly ill childcare—a service, as she was well aware, that was desperately needed by families that she cared for. After they learned they were expecting their first child, they began to research childcare options and realized that Rainbow Station was exactly what they were looking for—as healthcare professionals they saw that Rainbow Station was the perfect “marriage” of health and education! Obviously, the 100+ mile distance was a hindrance, so they decided to open one closer to home. They signed a franchise agreement in 2003 and opened Rainbow Station at Virginia Beach in 2007.

Along their journey, they have added to their family, with a total of five children, so they are personally aware of Rainbow Station and all of the programs it has to offer. They are proud to provide essential services and support to the families in the community!