Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Rainbow: play and training

Charity takes one step and looks to next

Last September the Rainbow Centre opened the gardens around its new building. These include specialised play areas developed in conjunction with the company Hand Made Places.

This month’s issue of the magazine Special Children includes an article by conductor Magdi Kovács on how these play areas are used.

Outdoor learning plays a fundamental role in normalising a child’s development within very challenging circumstances. By taking the classroom outside, children confront an environment that potentially presents more risks…

All five conductors at Rainbow took part in the design. Individual play pieces, the ‘turnaround’ for example, were designed and made by Hand Made Places for specific learning purposes and the periscope was designed specifically to develop motor skills.

Magdi points out that the design of play equipment is often manufacturer-led, with little available straight off the shelf for children with movement problems:

However, with the Rainbow Centre innovation is the starting point… the conductors have looked at what they are trying to achieve throughout their teaching process, and what they are hoping the children will achieve.

Such play areas are a frequent enough feature of pre-school settings, including places that provide conductive services. Pictures accompanying Magdi's article show sculptured play and garden furniture that is more attractive and imaginative than is often met in such contexts.

This is the first published report about incorporating such facilities into conductive practice.

‘CEDAT’ – the Conductive Education Development and Training project

The Rainbow Centre has a five-year programme aimed at becoming a centre of excellence for the motor-disordered, recognised as the leader in its field. As well as a range of services for children with cerebral palsies it has extended into providing for conditions such as dyspraxia and aphasia in children and for adults with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and strokes.

Rainbow already runs short courses for professionals, and intends to develop these into a series of accredited training programmes in Conductive Education for health professionals, carers, parents, members of the public and others.

Rainbow’s training project is called the Conductive Education Development and Training project, CEDAT for short

Rainbow is a voluntary (charitable) centre. It is now raising money to finance its plan to set up and run a degree course in Conductive Education in collaboration with a university, to help meet the national conductor-shortage, based at the Rainbow Centre but in collaboration with other organisations and accessible to anyone in the United Kingdom.


Special Children, now under new ownership, has no Internet edition. If you want a copy of the article on play at the Rainbow Centreyou will either have go through the library system, or contact the magazine:

Magdi Kovács, Learning through play, Special Children, no 180, December/January 2008, pp. 37-9

Find out more about the Rainbow Centre at:

To read about the Rainbow Centre’s plans for conductor-training, go to:


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