Preschool comes of age

A PRESCHOOL scheme that has seen thousands of children prepare for their formative years has celebrated its 21st year.Gainsborough Sports Centre hosted a birthday party for Ipswich's Rainbow club - introduced to the town in 1987.

A PRESCHOOL scheme that has seen thousands of children prepare for their formative years has celebrated its 21st year.

Gainsborough Sports Centre hosted a birthday party for Ipswich's Rainbow club - introduced to the town in 1987.

Since day one children have been encouraged to work towards achieving their Rainbow Colour Awards and sessions have provided real quality time for parents and carers to spend with their child.

Billy Brennan, head of culture and leisure for Ipswich Borough Council was responsible for the introduction of the club and he attended the recent birthday celebrations along with the original play leaders, Trish and Mary and councillor Nadia Cenci.

Thousands of local children have been part of the innovative preschool scheme in Ipswich, designed to introduce youngsters to a structured, fun and active environment.

The scheme was tailored to develop both social and physical skills as well as establishing discipline and building friendships - and it's this recipe, still used today, which seems to have made the Rainbow club such a success.

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Mr Brennan can still recall what inspired him to start the club. He said: “My wife and I had a son, who is now 26, and we wondered how parents properly prepare their children for school. Were we supposed to teach them to read and write and to count before they got there?

“I met with several primary schools in the area and the response I got was that a teacher's life is made easier by parents teaching their children physical and social skills.

“Back then we didn't have the amount of preschools and nurseries we have today so I put together a report using the concept of the rainbow to help children develop those skills.”

The Rainbow club is as successful today as it always has been and the current crop of children recently enjoyed a special Christmas party, with face painting, a bouncy castle, and a visit from Santa.

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