The rainbowtrekkers curriculum is a framework for learning rather than a list of contents. The children in our care want and deserve a learning structure that is predictable and balanced, but also flexible enough to be driven by student and teacher interests.
To achieve this, we have identified six broad Areas of Exploration (AOE) that we encourage our children to engage with in a playful manner. After all, play is the highest form of research. All areas of knowledge are addressed throughout the kindergarten year.
The AOEs are color-coded, in keeping with our name, around the colors of the rainbow:
Red AOE: Language
Orange AOE: Relationships and Identity
Yellow AOE: Expression
Green AOE: Nature and Science
Blue AOE: Numbers, Shape and Space
Purple AOE: Movement
Although the names of these AOEs might be suggestive of school subjects, they are much wider in scope and fundamentally connected (transdisciplinary).
During a lifetime of learning, we tend to move from being generalists to being specialists. For very young children, there are no single subjects, they perceive everything as one. For adults, the world tends to revolve around the specialist subject knowledge of one’s chosen profession. By cultivating transdisciplinary thinking from an early age, we encourage the children and staff at rainbowtrekkers to see connections between traditional subjects but also to recognize the value of specialist knowledge and everyone’s unique talents. This approach is not new. It is being pioneered by some of the most progressive learning institutions worldwide, making it an excellent inspiration for our work at rainbowtrekkers.
Our pedagogical work adheres to the standards set forth by the local German authorities. In early childhood education, Germany has a long tradition of progressive and experimental learning approaches, for instance in outdoor education, play-based learning, and open learning concepts. At Rainbowtrekkers, we incorporate this tradition into a global context of transdisciplinary and intercultural thinking. Our pedagogical work is inspired by constructivist thinking, as promoted, for instance, by the Reggio Emilia approach and the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).
We see our students as young world citizens who actively and curiously explore their environment, who form ideas and hypotheses about how the world works, and who reexamine and adjust their ideas based on newly acquired knowledge. Our pedagogical staff guide and support this process by constantly reconnecting it to our Areas of Exploration (AOEs).
Strong relationships between all stakeholders are the single most important foundation of learning. Our educators work tirelessly on building and maintaining relationships based on trust, respect, and care—not just with the children, but with everyone in the rainbowtrekkers community. This spirit permeates our entire learning framework and develops children who are confident, balanced, and knowledgeable.
Our daily work is driven by the children’s interests and curiosity. At the same time, we look at our students’ futures. If a group of children is interested in everything about dinosaurs, for example, our educators find meaningful learning experiences to connect this interest with our framework and the areas of knowledge we have identified. Such learning experiences could, for example, encourage children to use and expand their vocabulary when talking about dinosaurs. They could also encourage mathematical thinking, i.e. comparing sizes and shape or could give children the possibility to draw, enact, or mimic dinosaurs. There are countless other examples, of course, and these are made visible in each of our institutions.
Although at rainbowtrekkers we value our local roots, the world’s countries and people are moving together more and more closely at a rapid pace. We value the diversity of our children, their families, and our staff. With our customized curriculum framework, we allow both new and seasoned members of our community to explore a world of knowledge in a spirit of open-mindedness, truth, and courage.