The Rainforest School is located at Dundee Park, a beautiful location in the hinterlands of Mission Beach. Our school house is a homely Queenslander with a wrap-around veranda and is surrounded by lush rainforest. We are a school that is small by design.

Our school follows the Australian National Curriculum. We deliver an educational program which uses a balanced range of explicit, hands-on and real-life learning.

We are inspired by Montessori, Steiner, Forest Learning and Nature Play philosophies, and governed by Cassowary Coast Community Campus INC.

The Rainforest School acknowledges the traditional custodians whose land we work, travel and live. We pay our respects to Elders both past and present.

Mission and Vision

Our mission is to deliver a child-centred and holistic approach to education which considers the individual needs of the child: mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Our vision is to provide a safe, natural and nurturing environment that promotes self-confidence and self-esteem, fosters authentic relationships and encourages within the child a connection with nature and a love of learning.

Philosophy and Aims

Grow Slow – Grow Strong

The Rainforest School grew from our conviction that young children need time for play. Our school motto is “Grow slow, grow strong”. We value childhood as a precious gift that is bestowed on us for such a brief time in our life. A child’s imagination is so powerful, that while engaged in play, they can experience feats far beyond their capabilities. The Rainforest School offers students an educational program that allocates time for play-based learning. During early childhood, each child will develop a readiness to read and it is our teacher’s role to observe the cues which indicate this stage in development. This is a biological milestone determined when their sensory-motor systems are well integrated.  Support for this comes from physical movement such as skipping, hopping, catching ball and fine motor activities such as cutting with scissors, kneading dough and digging in the garden. We believe that children have an absorbent mind and if nurtured, will instil a life-long love of learning.

Our Teaching Methodology

Our teaching is child-centered, with a balanced mix of hands-on, real-life and explicitly taught lessons. We use age-appropriate pedagogy to provide challenging and stimulating learning experiences and to develop our student’s capacity to play an active role in their own learning. We strive for our students to become creative, innovative and resourceful individuals who can draw on their knowledge and experience to solve problems. The classroom layout is designed to support our teaching practice and has many learning spaces for our students to use. Our flagship kitchen/garden program provides students with real-life skills and daily nutritious vegetarian meals. Our whole school reading program gives students access to the essentials of effective, evidence-based reading instruction matched to their level of reading development. Our units of work and community projects are selected or developed around our four pillars: connection, community, creativity and conservation. Our lessons ensure students have opportunities to plan activities and communicate ideas both independently and collaboratively in teams. We believe that learning is a continuum and we strive to ensure that every student experiences success as they progress on their individual learning journey.

Our Unique Culture

The Rainforest School resides in a high-set Queenslander with a wrap-around verandah. The atmosphere is homely, with consideration given to beauty, simplicity and the use of natural materials. We encourage intrinsic motivation so that our learners can reach their full potential. Fostering authentic relationships and the use of restorative practice assists our students to build on their social and emotional knowledge. Student well-being is a priority at our school as we understand that it leads to successful learning. During our morning circle time we promote and support a growth mindset and relationship building by providing a safe space to plan, implement and reflect. During our afternoon relaxation time – either inside the classroom to the sound of live classical piano or outside in the rainforest to the sound of bird song and the meandering creek – our students are able to calm and clear their minds. It is this unwritten curriculum that helps to create the unique culture of The Rainforest School.

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Pillars and Values

Our pillars are the four cornerstone values of our school.

Connection – Through mindfulness and connecting with self, our students discover the realization that they have control over their thoughts.  Relationship building and a growth mindset is taught and nurtured.  Our school is a place where students, teachers and parents are equally valued and respected. We believe that we can all be teachers and learners alike. The Rainforest School welcomes and encourages active participation and involvement from our parents and members of our local community.

Creativity – Our school has a focus on the arts and we strive for our students to become confident and creative individuals. We provide our students with opportunities to work collaboratively on communal art projects and to observe artists creating their work.  Parents and local community members are welcome to run art activities at our Monday afternoon workshops. Our school is adorned with beautiful murals that will inspire and bring out the artist in everyone.

Community – We conduct regular excursions to local facilities such as C4, the library, swimming pool and parks. We invite community members such as our local National Park Ranger and local artists to provide knowledge and skills to enhance our educational program. We were pleased to offer a Flying Arts Project with local artist Nina Dawson from Birdtribe Wearable Art. Learning the art of dyeing and print making with natural dyes gathered from our school yard is a unique and special experience. The Rainforest School hosts and supports community projects, such as printing and sewing Boomerang bags and running weaving demonstrations with coconut leaves at the annual Cassowary Festival.

Conservation – We are surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, situated in the hinterlands of Mission Beach. Our school yard is the perfect outdoor classroom. Resident cassowaries, wallabies, curlews, sunbirds and butterflies spark wonder in our students. It is through our connection with nature, that we develop a deep desire to love and protect this special place. Our nature walk around the property of Dundee Park includes highlights such as the largest butterfly aviary in the Southern hemisphere and a bush tucker track created through a local Djiru project. The Rainforest School is proud to be a Reef Guardian School. We will continue to improve on how we reduce our impact on the environment through our sustainable practice, such as to reducing plastic and other waste, hosting lids for kids collection, growing our own food, composting, recycling and upcycling. The Rainforest School provides nutritious, vegetarian meals. These plant-based, climate friendly meals help our school to reduce our carbon and water footprint.


To contact The Rainforest School, please call 0437 553 852 or use the form below.