Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Administrative Information

Historical Note

Scope & Content Note

Organization & Arrangement

Index Terms

Related Items

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Series Arrangement & Description

Series 1: Administrative Records

Series 2: Board Meetings

Series 3: Correspondence

Series 4: Subject Files

Container Listing

 

 

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Children of the Rainbow Records,
[
1972-2003]



Finding aid written and encoded by Sarah Hull in May 2009; collection processed in May 2009 by Sarah Hull.


Descriptive Summary

Title:

Children of the Rainbow Records, 1972-2003.

Creator: Children of the Rainbow

Size:

5 linear feet of records
Comprised of one 12”x15”x10” storage box containing 21 legal-sized folders
Repository:

Plainfield Public Library, Local History Department, 800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060

Abstract:

The records of Children of the Rainbow document the creation and history of the school from 1972 to 2003, with bulk dates from 1975 to 1979.  The collection includes descriptive organizational documents, board and committee meeting minutes, blank forms, correspondence, publications, newspaper clippings, and ephemera.

Language:

The records are in English.


Administrative Information
Access & Restrictions

The records of the Children of the Rainbow are available for research.

Access is restricted to materials prepared by the Local History department staff. All materials must be viewed in the Plainfield Room and may not be removed to another area of the library without permission of the Library Director or designee. Materials must be handled carefully and kept in order. Materials must not be leaned upon, altered, folded, ripped, or traced upon. Marks may not be added or erased from materials. Materials must be returned directly to Local History department staff and inspected before the researcher leaves the Plainfield Room.

One photocopy may be made (by Plainfield Public Library staff) of each document for the purpose of research; official Local History departmental reproduction fees may apply. Permission to publish must be obtained by the Plainfield Public Library Board of Trustees as delegated to the Library Director. Permission to publish does not constitute a copyright clearance. The researcher is responsible for further copyright restrictions. The Plainfield Public Library is not responsible for the misuse of copyrighted material.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item; Date (if noted); "The Records of the Children of the Rainbow,” collection, Box and Folder Number; Local History Department, Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield, New Jersey.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated in 2007 by Patty and Bob Bender on behalf of the Children of the Rainbow.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sarah Hull in May 2009. The finding aid was written by Sarah Hull in May 2009. Finding aid content follows the guidelines suggested by Describing Archives: A Content Standard.

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Historical Note

Children of the Rainbow was founded in 1972 by a small group of parents who sought a stimulating educational environment for their kids.  The school promoted an environment where children, ages 5 to 12, could develop intellectually, emotionally, and physically at their individual paces.  There were no grades, and students learned through discovery and non-traditional classes.  The founders wanted to create a school where children of all races, religions, and economic classes could work together and cooperate, rather than compete, in an atmosphere that encouraged independence and self-confidence.

The Rainbow School was governed by a board comprised of all parents, staff, and elected members of the community.  The parents did more than just drive on field trips; they helped to set policy, select books, and were responsible for cleaning and maintaining the building.  Rainbow was a cooperative school, financed through tuition and outside fundraising.  Parents’ involvement at all levels included fundraising, which was regarded as important a requirement as tuition payments.

During the 1975-76 school year, there were 40 children from 31 families enrolled in the school.  Tuition ranged from $400 to $800 depending on income; a few scholarships were available.  There was a student-teacher ratio of ten to one, which was supplemented with teaching interns and "competent" parents.  In addition, the School had a working relationship with Antioch College, which sent student volunteers for work experience.  The School was licensed by the State of New Jersey, and incorporated as a non-profit organization.  It followed the Plainfield public school calendar.

As a note, the Children of the Rainbow school predated New York City’s “Children of the Rainbow” educational curriculum in the 1990s.  This  grade-school curriculum developed by NYC School Chancellor Joseph Fernandez underwent a bitter controversy because it included lessons of tolerance for parents of the same sex.

The Children of the Rainbow school is no longer in operation.

[Source: Children of the Rainbow brochure (box 1, folder 5)]

 

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Scope and Content Note

The Records of Children of the Rainbow include a variety of historical material spanning from 1972 to 2003, with the bulk of records dating between 1975 to1979. The bulk dates reflect the years that the donors’ son Nathan attended the school.  Record types include: board and committee meeting minutes, financial records, descriptive organizational documents, blank forms, correspondence, internal publications including brochures and newsletters, newspaper clippings, and ephemera.  Ephemera include artwork by Nathan Bender, co-op membership cards, and special fundraising enclosures.

There is a series of records documenting the Children of the Rainbow’s Natural Foods Cooperative, called the Children of the Rainbow Food Co-op or the Rainbow Food Co-op.  The Co-op opened in 1978 to satisfy a need for greater awareness in nutrition and natural food.  It originally operated out of the Rainbow School, and strove to provide low-cost, high quality, nutritional food to its members and the public at-large.  A non-profit organization, the Co-op was funded through Union County Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) and membership dues, and was associated with the George Street Co-op in New Brunswick.  Members were also required to volunteer four hours a month.  This series dates from 1978 to 1981 and contains meeting minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and ephemera.

 

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Organization and Arrangement

The Records of the Children of the Rainbow are arranged into four series:

Series 1: Administrative records
Series 2: Board meetings
Series 3: Correspondence
Series 4: Subject Files, A to Z

 

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Index Terms

People:

Bender, Patricia (Patty)
Bender, Robert (Bob)

Organizations:

Children of the Rainbow, Plainfield, NJ
Children of the Rainbow Natural Food Cooperative, Plainfield, NJ

Places:

Plainfield (N.J.)

Subjects:

Plainfield, NJ - Education
Plainfield, NJ - Food Cooperatives
Plainfield, NJ - History
Plainfield, NJ - Organizations
Plainfield, NJ - Schools

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Related Items

No related items.

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection consists of paper documents that do not require any additional technology for access.

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Series Description

Series 1: Administrative Records [1972 -- 1979]

Series Arrangement

Series 1 is arranged chronologically by subject and fills six folders.

Description

Series 1 contains administrative records of the Rainbow School. It includes general organizational documents that explain the structure, function, and goals of the School.  This series also contains contact information for staff and parents, blank forms and letterhead, publications, and staffing information.  It is composed solely of paper documents. Some materials are undated.

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Series 2: Board Meetings [1975--1980]

Series Arrangement

Series 2 is arranged chronologically by subject, and fills 5 folders.

Description

Series 2 contains meeting minutes from the boards and committees of the school, including general board meetings, the business board, the communicating committee, the education board, and the finance committee.  Record types include meeting minutes, budget structures and expenses, letters and memoranda, and children’s school work (in education folder).  It is composed solely of paper documents that are typed, mimeographed, and handwritten.  Some materials are undated.

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Series 3: Correspondence [1975-1981]

Series Arrangement

Series 3 is predominantly arranged chronologically by subject, and fills two folders.

Description

Series 3 contains correspondence of the Rainbow School. It includes general correspondence to the parents and community, as well as letters from board members and other individuals.  There are letters regarding the NJ SEED program, as well as unemployment benefits for the staff.  Record types include letters, note cards, and post cards. Documents are typed and handwritten.

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Series 4: Subject Files [1972--2003]

Series Arrangement

Series 4 is arranged chronologically by subject and record type, and fills seven folders.

Description

Series 4 contains miscellaneous records of the School.  Topics include: the Rainbow Food Co-op, fundraising, reunion information, newspaper clippings, drawings by Nat Bender, miscellaneous handwritten notes, and publications from outside organizations.  It is composed solely of paper documents that are typed, mimeographed, and handwritten.

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Container Listing

Series I: Administrative Records [1972--1979]

Box

Folder

Title Date

1

1

Administration – General

1972, 1975-1978, undated

2

Administration – Contact Info

1975-1978, undated

3

Administration – Contact Info from Patty Bender

1975-1979, undated

4

Administration – Forms and Letterhead

1977, undated

5

Administration – Publications

1976-1979, undated

6

Administration – Staffing

1978, undated

Series 2: Board Meetings [1975--1980]

Box

Folder

Title Date
1

7

Board Minutes – General

1976-1979

8

Board Minutes – Business

1975-1979

9

Board Minutes – Communicating Committee

1976-1979

10

Board Minutes – Education Board

1976-1979, undated

11

Board Minutes – Finance

1975-1977, 1980, undated

Series 3: Correspondence [1975--1981]

Box

Folder

Title Date

1

12

Correspondence

1975-1978, undated

 

13

Correspondence

1976--1981

Series 4: Subject Files [1972--2003]

Box

Folder

Title Date

1

14

Food Co-op

1978-1980, undated

 

15

Food Co-op

1978-1981, undated

 

16

Fundraising

1973-1979, undated

 

17

Reunion

1989, 2003

 

18

Clippings

1972-1975

 

19

Drawings by Nat Bender & Danny’s reader

Undated

 

20

Handwritten notes

Undated

 

21

Publications from outside organizations

Undated

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