Posh Brit school founded by American 'cult leader' under 'review' by watchdog
Emma Parry | Thursday, May 31, 2018 -- 9:38 PM EDT
***Uploaded by CitizensDawn and Last updated on Sunday, June 24, 2018 -- 10:08 PM EDT***

The founder of the controversial Nxivm group Keith Raniere has also created an educational programme for babies and children - with a branch in London.

***Article first published by 'The Sun' on Dec. 4, 2017***

A POSH Brit school founded by a controversial American "cult leader" is under review by Ofsted.

Rainbow Cultural Garden, which has a branch in London, was created by the leader of the secretive Nxivm group Keith Raniere, and involves babies and toddlers being taught by multiple nannies or teachers who each speak a different language to them every day.

Critics have now raised questions about the school's teaching methods and its links with controversial Raniere.

Educational inspection board Ofsted, confirmed Rainbow Cultural Garden is not registered with them and said allegations against the school were "extremely concerning".

The experimental educational programme - which strongly denies any wrongdoing - has 11 branches around the world, according to its website, including one in Kensington, London.

Its programme - which is believed to cost parents up to $120,000 a year per child - involves children being taught by up to seven nannies a week, from different countries, who each speak to them in their own native language - including Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Russian, German, Hindi and Spanish.

Only languages approved by Raniere are allowed to be taught in the schools - and the programme runs a mixture of in-home daycares and schools in nursery-like settings.

Nxivm's former publicist Frank Parlato is one of five sources who voiced their concern about the kids programme to Sun Online.

Parlato, who first exposed Nxivm's activities on his website the Frank Report, says that controversial Raniere developed Rainbow Cultural Garden with the help of Dr Brandon Porter, a New York doctor currently under investigation after allegedly carrying out traumatising experiments on women in which he made them watch video clips of violent rapes and murders.

According to Parlato, parents are told not to speak to their child or interfere with the nannies while they are speaking the different languages.

He told Sun Online: "There is no scientific study that supports this programme and no study into the long term effects it may have.

“To begin with this programme is created by cult leader Keith Raniere which should be an immediate red flag, given all allegations against him.

“Also this is about learning multiple languages but it was devised by a man who can only speak one language English - he knows nothing about other languages.

He added: “In my opinion it’s an attempt to train children to become sociopaths who can never bond with their parents because there’s always a different nanny in the house speaking a different language. It’s a classic cult technique.

“A parent is not supposed to speak to their child when the nanny is there unless they can speak in the language of that day.

“So for the parents on the home programme, which is what most of the wealthy parents do, if you can’t speak Arabic or Russian or whichever language it is you can’t speak to your kid all day.

“You aren’t supposed to hold your kid or interfere with what the nanny is doing - I witnessed this when I worked there and I was astonished by it.

“They say they have a bunch of children who speak between seven and 13 languages but it’s a total fabrication they could not produce one kid," Parlato continued.

“I have spoken to several parents who were bitterly upset because their children could not speak any other languages and in one case the child could not even speak his own language.

“I spoke to one of the first kids who took part in the programme from being a baby and he could not speak any other language and seemed very negatively affected by the whole experience.”

Child welfare advocate Joseph O'Hara, who used to run a children and family services division in Missouri, says he is "amazed" that the operation, which is headquartered in New York, has not been shut down already.

O'Hara, used to work with Nxivm as a consultant between 2003 and 2004, has filed complaints about the New York branch of Rainbow Cultural Garden with the New York Attorney General and social services.

O'Hara told Sun Online: "They are putting children through this kind of experience from birth and they're not even trained to run a daycare never mind an educational institution.

"People come in with no qualifications and get a few days training from an unqualified trainer and are turned loose on these kids for exorbitant fees.

"In most states you have to be licensed either as a school or a daycare - you can't just look after other people's kids for money without it - especially in a large scale organisation like this.

He added: "Whatever Rainbow is - it is not a licensed educational institution here in New York state or a daycare - and I'm pretty sure that is the case around the world.

"That's just the legality - the so-called curriculum they are immersing these kids in is damaging - we've got examples of kids coming out and not being able to speak in any language, just babble.

"Everything I've read suggests there is in fact psychological damage done to kids that don't learn languages at an appropriate age.

"Of all the things this group is involved in I'm amazed Rainbow Cultural Garden hasn't been shut down."

One source, who asked to remain anonymous, told how her daughter - a member of Nxivm and DOS - ran a branch of Rainbow Cultural Garden in an American city for two years, despite being completely unqualified.

She believes it is a damaging programme that has been purposely designed to stop children bonding with their parents.

Ariella Menashy, who tried to set up her own branch of the school in Vancouver, told Sun Online that Keith Raniere and Nxivm were very controlling of Rainbow Cultural Garden and anyone who wanted to run a branch of the school.

"Keith Raniere is very much involved," she said.

"Keith and Nxivm claim ownership of the idea I had to ask permission for everything I wanted to do to move the school forward.

"I thought it was a good idea to teach kids different languages but when I tried to start a chapter in Vancouver and hired nannies and got deposits from parents, they slapped my wrist and told me I was being too impulsive, that they hadn't approved everything and that I couldn't do it.

"But I had been in constant communication with them from the beginning so I just didn't understand - in the end I decided it was not worth it.

"I got together with some other parents and we hired a few nannies to teach our children different languages - but then they accused us of stealing their ideas and committing an 'ethical breach' - the co-founder of Nxivm Nancy Salzman even came to stage an 'intervention' with one of us. Eventually I just decided enough was enough and left the organization.

"Nearly everyone involved in Rainbow Cultural Garden is involved with Nxivm and I think it is just a way for Keith to make more money off the same people."

Rainbow Cultural Garden's first student was Raniere's son who began the programme in 2007, at the age of about six months, Parlato said.

According to one document seen by Sun Online, the boy had four nannies a day teaching a different language for three hours each - seven days a week.

His mum Kristin Keeffe eventually fled the cult with the help of New York State Police, taking the boy with her in 2014, according to the Albany Times Union.

On its website, Rainbow Cultural Garden claims it is a “early child-development program which, through careful, progressive exposure to multiple languages, cultures, representational systems and aesthetics, seeks to inspire and capture the miraculous, creative, learning lives of children.”

As well as London, it says it has branches in Albany, New York - where Raniere lives - New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Spain, Guatemala and Mexico.

The London branch, called Rainbow Cultural Garden UK, is not registered with Ofsted.

A spokesman for Ofsted said: “These allegations are extremely concerning and we will urgently review the nature of the childcare offered by Rainbow Cultural Garden.

“Ofsted registers and inspects nurseries and other kinds of early years settings, but not all provision is required to be registered. It depends on where the care is provided, the age of the children, the length of time the care is provided for and whether parents are in attendance."

They added: “Registered early years settings must meet certain requirements and our role is to ensure those requirements are met and the provision is suitable for children. We are now looking at whether unregistered provision is operating here, and we will consider any and all action that may be necessary.

"Concerns about children being at risk, or indeed of adults being subject to abuse, should be immediately reported to the police.”

Rainbow Cultural Garden's founder Raniere is believed by many to be the leader of a sinister cult.

His secretive Nxivm group have recently been at the centre of a slew of claims about how they allegedly recruit women into a secret master-slave cult called DOS where they are forcibly branded with Raniere's initials on their pubic regions and forced to hand over blackmail-worthy material such as naked pictures.

Former members of Nxivm and DOS - including Canadian actress Sarah Edmondson - revealed how they were pinned down and branded with a hot iron - and forced to be "on call" to their "masters" 24/7.

Actress Allison Mack and India Oxenburg, the daughter of Dynasty star Catherine Oxenburg, are both believed to be trapped in the alleged cult.

Raniere talks about developing Rainbow Cultural Garden online, stating on his bio: “Late in 2006, he [Raniere] founded Rainbow Cultural Garden, a revolutionary child development program promoting children’s cultural, linguistic, emotional, physical and problem-solving potential.”

Raniere has not responded to requests for comment on the cult and branding claims but Nxivm issued a statement after the New York Times first published allegations against him in which they claimed the story was a "criminal product of criminal minds".

A text message from him, quoted in the article, indicated he knew that women of the group were being branded with his initials as a "tribute".

Rainbow Cultural Garden admits that Raniere is the school's "conceptual founder" but refused to issue a statement denouncing him, claiming that they had seen no evidence that allegations against him were true.

It also declined to go into detail about its programme, which it said was "confidential", but said it was unaware of any children who had difficulty speaking their own language.

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