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Rainbow Room, Kilcoona NS

Rainbow Room, Kilcoona NS


Feb 2020

Project Type:

Special School


Kilcoona, Co Galway



About the Project:

St. Cuana’s N.S. Kilcoona is a co-educational school which caters for 193 pupils. The school has fourteen teachers, nine special needs assistants, a secretary, a caretaker, a cleaner and two bus escorts. The current school was built in 1989 with extensions in 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The Rainbow classes in Kilcoona NS caters for children with special needs education within Kilcoona NS. The classes offer an Autism specific learning environment within the mainstream school.

Maria, the Junior Rainbow Room teacher, together with the parents of children attending the Rainbow rooms did extensive fundraising to create a special education environment for the children.

Over a few different phases as funds allowed, we added 2 Cosy Cocoons, a Junior Table and 4 Stools in one area and in the play area we added a Full Vertical Board, 10 Traverse Boards, a Bridge, an A Frame, a Balance Beam, a Target Board, some target discs and for extra safety surface mats were added for the vertical board, the A frame and Bridge.

This has been one of our main installations to date and was carried out in 3 phases.

Special thanks to Maria and the teachers in Kilcoona for the dedication and great work they carry out for the school and students.

Photos from the Installation:

(Click to Enlarge)
A word from...
Maria Ryder
(Rainbow Room Teacher)

I had been researching playground equipment for our ASD unit for a while but kept coming up against the huge issue of price. One piece of equipment was nearly our budget gone, then by chance I saw Smallwall on FB and the new tripod and apex boards… I had seen the main climbing boards locally, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I contacted Sean and he was fantastic to deal with. He put everything he had on display for me then I had a better idea what was required. Having chatted to Sean and explaining the needs of the children we worked together to provide a fantastic facility for the children. While we were chatting and looking at the equipment, I commented how the children may go under them to hide and cocoon and now Sean is in the process of devising a cocoon type piece of equipment too. I await this with anticipation.

The transverse climbing boards are super for co- ordination and giving deep pressure feed back to the children. Children with ASD have sensory issues and all of these pieces of equipment can provide them with the opportunity to self-regulate so that they are in a zone for learning. The children love the bridge. Some struggle to climb over it but love to lean against it again getting that proprioceptive feedback. They love to run under it and chase one another which provides opportunity for social relationship building. Some of these kids struggle with interaction but this equipment has given them the motivation to seek interaction from one another.
The target boards are lovely too. Some children have a fascination for numbers but wouldn’t have the motivation to throw a ball, now they will try and hit the numbers as I call them out. It can be used for number bonds, addition within 10 or whatever. Rather than painting on the numbers I’ve used chalk so that these can be changed easily. It is very easy to provide a visual schedule using these pieces of equipment and some children can independently complete the circuits where others may need some support.
This playground provides a safe space for the children but also facilitating opportunities for reverse integration in smaller numbers.
Smallwall have been super to deal with. They had everything ready on time, and Sean was so willing to accommodate any changes that needed to be made. We did not have a safe surface and although Sean only made the equipment initially he took it upon himself to source playground matting so that we did not have to get another company to do this. I would highly recommend smallwall for affordable playground equipment that is different to the playground’s children can visit locally. These pieces of equipment are hugely beneficial for the development of fundamental movement skills that children acquire.


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